The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Between life and death, there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices.

In The Midnight Library, 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.

About Depression

I am one of those clueless about depression, and I am glad to have read this book. Sometimes, on lonely nights, I wonder if this also plagues me because it is unclear to me what the borderline of melancholy and depression is. Well, obviously, I won’t be able to tell myself because I am no expert. However, the issue was discussed throughout the book, how it affected the main character, and how it led her to commit suicide. Therefore, I am a little bit aware now of what it does to people, and hopefully, I would be able to see red flags if I see such ‘symptoms’ in case someone else is suffering.

About the Library

I like the idea of using a library instead of purgatory, where all the books are also your lives. Each book is a different live you could have lived depending on the decision that you have made in the past.

I like the idea of getting a chance to relive a life and see what happens if you have made a different decision than you did in real life. It raised a lot of questions on the parallel universe. And I ended up wanting to know what Nora’s life would be with each of the choices. I suddenly also thought of the ‘what could have beens’ if I made different choices in the past.

About Happiness

Since Nora got a chance, she tried a lot to live a lot of different lives. But then, among all the lives she lived, she still wasn’t contented. It raised a lot of questions about satisfaction. How many lives do we need to choose which kind of life could make us happy? And what if we don’t get the chance to choose? Shall we give up because we are not satisfied?

Other Thoughts

I like that the book, even though it revolves around depression, was an easy read. The concept is exciting and unique. And above all, there’s one clear takeaway for me. It’s about wanting to live.

Your want to live is the driving force to keep going no matter how tough your situation is. No matter how shattered you are inside and out.

Quote

When you stay too long in a place, you forget just how big an expanse the world is. You get no sense of the longitudes and latitudes. Just as, she supposed, it is hard to have a sense of vastness inside one person.

But once you sense that vastness, once something reveals it, hope emerges, whether you want it or not, and it clings to you as stubbornly as lichen clings to rock.

The first line hit so hard though. I thought of myself living on a tiny island for so long. Now I ask myself if I have lost my sense of the expanse of the outside world and if I need to start rethinking my life.


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6 Comments

  1. You know what, I think I am going to get this book. Really liked your review and am intrigued. Also I am a sucker for books about books. I do not read lots of fiction but I feel like I am going for it with this one. The first quote resonates with me, too. I always tell myself I am only staying in this country a week and the next time I wake up, it has been four months or so. Help. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Books about books and writers writing about writers are interesting 😀

      I heard that the author is or was suffering from depression so this book is quite a mirror of his own experiences, so fiction but almost non-fiction.

      COVID did it all to us, to stay on one place 😀 haha

      Like

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