Book Review: The Midnight Library

The thing that looks the most ordinary might end up being the thing that leads you to victory.

~ The Midnight Library, Matt Haig

Synopsis

Nora Seed is unhappy. She’s broken up with her boyfriend, her brother isn’t talking to her and she’s lost her job. When her cat dies it feels like the last straw and she decides she is ready to die. As she hovers between life and death she arrives in The Midnight Library. Thousands of books are piled high on shelves. Each of these books tells the story of Nora’s life, her future life. But each life is different, based on he smallest of actions being different.

Nora has the chance to live again in a different life, undoing old breakups, realising her dreams of becoming a glaciologist and starting a family; 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.

Review

When I started reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, I was convinced it was going to be a new favourite, with a permanent place on the shelves. Something I would recommend to everyone. I loved the concept, the writing style… and as the book developed and we started to experience Nora’s different life choices, I was hooked. This book was amazing!

But then about halfway through it started to get repetitive and parts in the middle dragged an awful lot. At one point we are subjected to a list of different lives Nora chose, but with no further information. Gradually Nora started to become shallow and selfish. Her journey became boring and irritating. What was happening? I was devastated.

Towards the end there was a ray of hope that the conclusion wouldn’t be what I’d expected from chapter one. I thought Nora would choose differently and truly be happy in a new life. But sadly my prediction came true and the ending just fell flat. It was as if the author had a brilliant idea for a story but didn’t quite know how to end it so Nora chooses the life we all knew she would.

I am still confused about how I feel. I really wanted to love it. And I did… for a time. But it lost its way and did not deliver on the promising premise. So unfortunately, I finished the book feeling disappointed and underwhelmed.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’ve seen so many mixed opinions on this – what did you think? 

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