The Midnight Library By Matt Haig
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?
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
The Midnight Library had such a great synopsis that I was excited to pick it up. A world of "what ifs" are your fingertips - who wouldn't want to see what else their life could be? But while this was an interesting concept, it didn't end up grabbing me the way I hoped it would.
Too Many Lives (Or Not Enough?)
Nora simultaneously goes into too many lives and not enough. All of the "what if" lives she visits become a repetitive cycle of "wow, so cool...oh, that's not good...ok, I'm disappointed again, time to go". Either there should have simply been three or four lives that she commits too and we get to see her fully live in, OR gives us a bunch of little lives to enjoy and see what she's up too. This book felt awkward a lot of the time and I found myself getting bored with the storyline.
Some Interesting Lives
Although there were a lot of them, some of Nora's lives were awesome! The interview she gives when she's a famous rock star? Actually so funny. Getting to face down a bear in Iceland? So cool! And my favourite: her life with Ash and Molly. This was just the sweetest and I loved getting to see her as a mom. If the book had given us more from these lives, I think it would happily be a reread for me.
While I'm so happy that Nora finds a happy ending for herself, it was incredibly frustrating that there is no mention of therapy or support that she receives to help her manage her anxiety and depression. AND THIS IS NOT OK. Although it's great that she realizes she wants to live, where is the reality of what that means? She should be going to therapy or talking with a doctor about ways to stay healthy; instead, Haig seems to be suggesting that she's miraculously "fine" because she came back from the library. In a world where we know so much about how important mental health is, it really seems like he (and his editors and publishers) dropped the ball on this.
Overall, this wasn't the book I thought it would be. There were a lot of moments that had the potential to bring the story to a new and interesting place (HUGO - there were so many missed moments with Hugo!), but they were dropped and forgotten. In a lot of ways, this felt like a a throwaway book; storylines were forgotten, the "rules" of the library were constantly shifting, and the ending was simple. BUT a lot of my friends really enjoyed this book, so maybe I'm just too critical? Either way, I'd love your thoughts on this book if you read it!
FINAL RATING: 3/5
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Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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2020 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 20 books toward her goal of 85 books.
2019 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 5 books toward her goal of 90 books.
2018 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has completed her goal of reading 80 books in 2018!
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