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My Review | The Midnight Library

Photo shows the book cover of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - Photo by Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads - perireads.com

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?
A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

I review Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, awarded GoodReads’s Readers Choice 2020 and for good reason. I believe it deserves all the credit. The book’s main theme focuses on the constant fear that looms over us, what if we made the wrong choice? The thought of how that one choice that we never made or we missed out on could have probably changed our lives can make anybody go mad. But what if you were given the opportunity to see those how those choices would have played out? Honestly if anybody came up to me with that exact question I’d probably say who are you and why are you asking me that. This explores the possibility of a second chance to experience what your perfect life might have been. 

“You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.”

The story starts with our lovely main character, Nora Seed. Nora is a single woman in her mid-30s who works at an old music store in her hometown that she never got away from. She’s constantly ruminating on the opportunities that she let go of due to her fear of disappointment but never amounting to anything. When that resentment piles up on her she decides that her time has come. Then suddenly Nora finds herself in the Midnight Library, an infinite library filled to the brim with books of all of Nora’s different lives. 

In one life she becomes the rockstar singer and songwriter that her brother wanted her to be. In another one, she’s an olympian swimmer and spokesperson and so on. Each one focuses on Nora’s ultimate fear of becoming something great.  These lives have been determined by a minimal amount of choices. Nora is left wondering what she had done different in every life.  The more books Nora reads, it gives her an opportunity to learn about who she is. The Nora that she always wanted to become. 

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I really enjoyed the genuine characterization of Nora throughout the book. It is annoying watching Nora unable to see the bigger picture. That she made everything so self deprecating and sad. But that’s what made her so real. We’ve all been in the position where we wondered where had the time gone. Even when she thinks she found a perfect life, there still are problems. When she is an olympian, she still dealt with severe depression and anxiety. When she’s back together with her ex, their relationship is not ideal.

Haig manages to show that just because Nora isn’t perfect, she can be happy. A beautiful motif that we can show in our own lives. Nora believes that she is nothing to amount to in her root life. But getting to see all of these potential lives there’s something hidden that proves that it just wasn’t for her. I slowly fell in love with Nora’s character. Not from any of her lives but the real one, she’s just so relatable. Understandably she is hard to read at times but I couldn’t blame her. I’d have the same reactions too if I were in her situation. 

“The only way to learn is to live.”

Did I find this book thoroughly entertaining. YES. I don’t throw caps locks lightly. This book is perfectly humanizing. The concept of being able to see possible lives is a heavy theme to throw around but Haig writes this subject perfectly and with authentic characters. The story line didn’t feel cheap or overtly cheesy. Everything felt so organic and pretty reasonable. Nora Seed is a wonderful character to get to know. All the details were wonderfully laid out. Nora ties every loose end but not without trying to figure out who she is first. I won’t lie the ending left me with tears streaming down my face. In a good way. Are you at a point in your life where you’re questioning everything around you and all of your missed opportunities. Then you need to read The Midnight Library, you might feel a bit better about your root life. 

MY RATING:

5/5

MY RATING:

5/5

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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them. 

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