About the Book:
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.
This book really spoke to me, and that completely surprised me as I have not connected with the author’s writing style in previous books. I can’t stop thinking about how much I enjoyed this book. The Midnight Library is like a more philosophical version of the movies Sliding Door or It’s A Wonderful Life. I would further say that in additional to being more philosophical, it is also meatier than the movies–to which it is being compared– with quotes by famous philosophers and the mentions of multiverse.
I especially loved the frequent reference to Nora’s tattooed favorite Thoreau quote, “all good things are wild and free”. From findanyanswer.com, to be wild and free means to live from a place of your inherent worth and value. It means owning your imperfections as much as your strengths as worthy and valuable parts of yourself. This interpretation fits Nora perfectly.
Nora Seed finds herself in the space between life and death, and in that space one finds The Midnight Library where there are infinite possibilities for your life. These possibilities are created by your choices, paths not taken, and your regrets. Nora’s childhood librarian, Mrs. Elm, is again there for her in the Midnight Library. She cryptically guides Nora as she tries out life after life, looking for the version of her that would make life worth living.
It becomes clear that many of Nora’s choices have been a result of trying to please someone close to her. Each of Nora’s books presents a version of what her life might have been had she chosen differently. Some books lead to exciting adventures, some lead to dismal struggles, and some lead to seeming perfection. Nora is told she can choose to stay in her perfect-for-her life, so she continues to look for it. After trying out thousands of different versions, Nora not only sees the ripple effect of each of her possibilities, but she also finds that she is strong, resilient, and something for which to live.
Mr. Haig’s compassion and empathy are obvious in his exploration of might make life worth living. I was touched by Nora’s journey to finding what really matters in life and her discovery that the grass really wouldn’t have been any greener had she taken a different path. I felt that Nora experienced a rebirth of sorts that gave her the opportunity to make the best of her life, which might be her best life.
About the Author: Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as ‘delightfully weird’ and the New York Times has called him ‘a novelist of great talent’ whose writing is ‘funny, riveting and heartbreaking’.