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This was a beautifully written book. The story was at times heart breaking and uplifting, and the writing was positively cinematic.
A great premise - there is a library of alternative lives to try out in the wisp of space between life and death. And a good beginning that grabbed me. But ultimately the premise and beginning were failed by a sappy and saccharine execution and an author that hammered his reader with self-help platitudes.
What an exceptional book! I have always had that feeling of "what if I would have done this differently", "what if I never dated that person", how would my life be different? IN Matt Haig's new novel The Midnight Library answers those questions for the main protagonist Nora Seed. Nora has decided to die, she feels as if this world isn't for her anymore. Then she ends up at The Midnight Library where she can choose from different books of her life and see how those life's would have turned out, if she did them differently. As long as Nora continues to stay alive in her 'root" life, the library will continue to exist. But what if when you can go back, you see that that life isn't for you either? Nora has tried many lives but is becoming discouraged with how she feels with each new life. Matt Haig is a wonderful writer that will captivate the reader of The Midnight library. Although this is a heavy book with heavy subject material, it is also a book about hope. About the hope that we have once we choose to live, and not just live until the time comes we are not alive anymore. But to actually live and love the life we are in. How we are the chooser of happiness and how we can't expect our life to be better without putting in that effort. Was very hard to put down this book once I got going. Was rich with characters and with life and hope.
This novel was all over Instagram last year, a 2020 Goodreads Winner, a Good Morning America book club pick, and I did not care for it. I found the story entertaining, light-hearted, and fast-paced which is not what I thought I was getting with this book. I believe the author I rented to write a meaning story that would pull at the readers’ heartstrings. Unfortunately I was not moved.
My library marked this book as science fiction which I don’t agree with. I would classify that as a contemporary novel with magical realism.
Read this for a book club sponsored by my college. Our discussion sounds like all the comments made here, from fantastic to critical. While the book is not perfect and does resemble “Life After Life” it is ultimately a hopeful book. Sort of a self help book disguised as fiction. For anyone who has struggled with regrets, I think it is a very worthwhile read.
Oprah says "Live your best life" and this book is practically an instruction manual on how to do exactly that (not that he quotes O...but the plot pretty much explores this question in detail.)
You've seen the number of reviews already so I'll just say to my friends...yes, read it, and NOT ENTIRELY because he loves Thoreau, either. For everyone who ever thought about regrets in any way other than Sinatras "too few to mention"...this book is worth reading. If you dream about your high school sweetheart with "if only" in your mind, this book is worth reading. If you want life to be a "do-over" as in the "Sliding Doors" or "On a Clear Day" movies, or in the "Communicating Doors" play, read it.
Every choice in life affects our trajectory. If you don't accept a coffee date, will you miss out on marrying your soulmate? What is happiness, in the end? Are there infinite multiverses where we are simultaneously living our best and worst lives?
Sliding Doors, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol... The concept of this book isn't new. But the story is undeniably enjoyable, nonetheless. I couldn't put it down!
Midnight Library is a pleasant, life-affirming book, but it doesn’t deserve all the hype. Ultimately it's another take on It's a Wonderful Life, done multiple times, with the same message at the end.
Typically, when I finish one book, I immediately pick up the next. However, on occasion I finish a book that is too meaningful or impactful to simply move on from; a book that lingers in my thoughts for a day, or two, or more; carving out a spot for itself and temporarily forbidding any new stories from taking root. The Midnight Library was just such a book.
Thanks to It’s a Wonderful Life, we’re all familiar with the trope of a suicidal character getting to experience what if their life had been lived differently. And thanks to the multi-billion-dollar grossing Marvel Avengers franchise, the concept of a multiverse is fairly mainstream. The Midnight Library takes this old trope and a multiverse of possibilities, and weaves together a powerful human tale of regret, connection and possibility. Both message and medium flow in harmony in this one, as a story expertly unfolds with profundity and creativity. Read at the risk of experiencing personal feelings of deep self-reflection and inspiration.
I came into it with a totally different idea of what the tone would be like, and honestly I was not prepared for the dismal first half. I was certainly invested in Nora's plight, but the author was rather heavy handed in the events leading to her despair and could have entertained some subtlety in the rendering of the library. The book became far more interesting to me in the second half when some of the library-world nuances were uncovered.
Its a quick and easy read so I finished it, but its not that good. The ending was predictable and quite cliche
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (2020), was not what I expected. At first I thought that I was reading a knock off of Atkinson's "Life After Life," but that was not the case. Nora Seed, the protagonist, wears her depression like an anchor. It weighs upon her every thought and feeling. It is the catalyst for her entry into the Midnight Library where she experiences the life possibilities she may have missed.
I liked the linear format of the story, and the message that anything and everything is possible. Ultimately, it is a very hopeful journey. I would have enjoyed a greater fleshing out of Nora's family and friends. Most of the time they are bit players with little change or growth. I also felt that the explanatory page at the end was probably not necessary.
I will remember this novel and give it 4.5 stars. This one is a good book club choice.
Loved this book at the beginning, not so much at the end. It got repetitive and the resolution became obvious.
Initially I thought this was going to be depressing but it quickly became intriguing. It would be a good book club discussion as people consider how decisions affect our trajectory through life and what choices have led them to now.
The concept of this story is what drew me in initially, and it started out quite compelling. The author is especially good at describing the depths of depression. However, by midway it was pretty clear how the story was going to end and it felt a bit more like a self-help book. Definitely a quick, "feel good" read.
Especially in an age where nearly everyone compares their "success" in life against their peers, I found this book very compelling. Most of us know what it's like to struggle with happiness and what that means to us, as well as all the perceived wrong choices we may have made over the years and how that influences where our lives end up. This book was well written and very visual for me, giving me lots to think about. I loved it.
This was a struggle to get through.
The highlight being that Haig did a reasonable job of tying up the ending with a positive vibe, I just wish that I had the same emotion through out the rest of the book.
Even Haig appeared bored by the concept by the halfway mark and that flowed through to this reader.
As I don't have any influence of his earlier work to be persuaded by, The Midnight Library is great concept that had it's appeal crippled by underlying concepts and overthought.
I am fascinated that this won the readers votes in 2020.....but not in a good way 2.5/5.
I was expecting more. The author set up the chance for a more complex plot then only skimmed the surface. I kept thinking of how great Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life” was, compared to this take on a similar concept.
Matt Haig’s the Midnight Library is a brilliant and captivating read. The book centers on Nora Seed who finds her life in a complete catastrophe and in the midst of her misery and depression attempts suicide. She awakens to find herself in the “midnight library,” a place between life and death filled with stacks of books each representing lives she may have led had she made different decisions/choices. At first, I wasn’t sure if I could suspend my disbelief in a novel that hops from one parallel universe to the next. But I quickly bought into the premise and it was a complete page turner. Since the main character was a philosophy major, she finds herself searching for the meaning of life and the novel is peppered with philosophical quotes and musings. For those prone to existential crisis, this book allows you to fantasize in all the possible lives you could be leading had you just chosen different paths; it allows you to wallow in regret but also in possibility. Highly recommend. Great selection for a book club.
This book really did evoke a lot of emotion in me but I am still trying to gain more insight into the rippling life of Nora Seed. She is a grappling person who struggles with her own despair and she tries to be content about life and everything in it when she knows that isn't always true for her in her own personal reality.
The premise for this book is very interesting. What if you had the opportunity to explore how your life might be different if you'd made different choices? I really liked the exploration of the obvious choices. However, I did not really like the smaller choices that lead to some weird lives in which we only really got snapshots (we didn't even get the explanation of choices made to lead there). I did really appreciate the ending and how Nora decided to live with the original choices she had made and still had to work through all the issues she'd had at the start of the book. Nothing ended up picture perfect, but there was a sense of hope. Overall, I think it was an interesting look into depression that was also a bit uplifting.
At first I thought it was written for children. As the adult voice emerged I enjoyed it more. A “what if” book written with all the social issues of the day; mental health, gender issues... which were not really necessary for a good read. It did plod in these areas a bit, it felt like the author was forced to expand on these social issues or inserted them into an otherwise enjoyable romp through time and space.
a nice short read that will really get you thinking. would be 5 stars if it didn't take place in the modern day. i don't need to read the words "podcast" "instagram" and "mansplaining" when I hear enough about that already in daily life. i don't know about you, but i read novels for escapism, not to be reminded about the stupidity of the 21st century
If you've ever carried around a "book of regrets" in your life - this book is for you! Through the Midnight Library Nora explores all the roads not taken. Loved it!