Book Review: “The Midnight Library”

Sarah Pine, Contributor

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, published in September of 2020, tells the story of Nora Seed, who enters a stage between life and death, which for her, is the Midnight Library. In this library, every book is a chance for Nora to live out a different life, where she made different decisions from the life she chose to leave. Guided by an all-knowing, God-like figure in the form of her highschool librarian, Nora opens the pages of her different lives, and explores her life’s regrets. The book transitions between Nora’s various adventurous lives, as well as her reflection in the Midnight Library. Between exploration of glaciers in Svalbard, to performing rock concerts in Brazil, Nora is forced to look back on her real life, and what her life could have been if she had made different decisions, ultimately making her realize the value in the life she left behind. 

I really enjoyed The Midnight Library, and I understand why it has received so much praise on TikTok. The novel allows the reader to explore a plethora of interesting characters, all in the body of the protagonist, Nora, which makes the book interesting to read, but not hard to follow. Often, when there are many plot points and stories happening simultaneously in a novel, it can be difficult to ascertain what’s important, and how events connect; however, in The Midnight Library, the stories all connect seamlessly, and also allow for the addition of Nora’s reflection on relevant topics such as living life through regrets and feeling hopeless in stagnation. At times, I did feel that the book became a little bit too existential as Nora read through the Library’s Book of Regrets and discovered the flaws in all of the lives she previously wished she’d chosen for herself. Despite this, I found the different versions of Nora’s life very captivating, along with the reasons why those lives weren’t meant for her. The novel, as it intended to, made me reflect a lot on my own life’s decisions, and made me realize that regrets and mistakes aren’t meant to be fixated on in the long run. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys both adventure and existential reflection, as well as anyone who is struggling with their own regrets and life decisions.