The Midnight Library by Matt Haig | Book Review [spoiler free]

12/06/2020

 A woman attempts suicide and wakes up in a library of all her other lives. Each book offers her a variation of her life where she made a different choice. What would've happened if she didn't break up with her partner? What would've happened if she stuck with swimming and made it to the Olympics? What would've happened if she took up her friend's offer of moving to Australia? How would her life look if she chose to put her own happiness first? Getting to 'try on' each life, Nora delves through the multiverse of her life and tries to find the perfect fit. 

This is the first book I've ever read by this author but I have been following along with his writing journey through Twitter. Many Booktubers like BooksWithEmilyFox and GabbyReads adore his other book The Humans, which has been on my lifelong TBR for a few years now. However, when I heard the premise of The Midnight Library it instantly took over as my priority read. Much like what people tend to say about his other work, this is a incredibly profound book that is quiet in it's delivery. I think Matt Haig did a tremendous job at being preachy about regret and having faith in destiny without ever actually being pushy with his views, if that makes any sense? You could dissect this book within an inch of it's page and find so many layers in each chapter, and yet you can just as easily read it for enjoyment without feeling like you ought to be picking up subtle life philosophy. 

As a main character, I found Nora a little annoying but very believable based on where she was in her life at the beginning of the novel. I think her character growth through experiencing so many different versions of her life was exceptional and her journey out of depression was at a realistic pace. The side-characters weren't exactly likeable at times, but nevertheless enjoyable to read about. I'm always impressed when an author manages to keep the protagonist the star of the story without making them insufferable.

The way the author wrote about depression and losing the will to live in this book was very touching. I still think the best best I've read on this subject was Anxious People by Fredrick Backman, but The Midnight Library is a close second. Both are touching looks at humanity and life. 

I gave this book 5 stars, but I'd say my only actual problem ith it was the pacing near the end. I wish it had been 100 pages longer to keep delving into Nora's alternative lives, as it felt like we got to go on the journey with her for 4 or 5 books but then suddenly she had experienced dozens within a chapter. But is it ever a bad thing when you want a book to be longer? 

All in all, this book is definitely worth the hype and if it's on your radar at all, I urge you to pick it up. The audiobook is wonderfully done. 

Have you read anything by Matt Haig? 

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