The Book Shelf

A Review: The Midnight Library

The Book Shelf is back for 2021 and Sistem's Yinka dives into The Midnight Library. The new novel from Matt Haig centred around love, loss and redemption

“This review is 10 days late and its not because I am so swamped with glamorous and exciting things to do.”

If I was someone who believed in fate (and I kinda do) I would think that it was no mere coincidence that made me pick up this book and give it a go. That it wasn’t chance which made me pick this random title from the list of books on offer on the Kindle homepage. If I was someone who believed in fate (again I really think it could be a thing) I would say that this book and I were meant to meet. That during the first week of 2021, in the midst of a global pandemic, 3rd lockdown, bad hair decade and with a bit too much spare time on my hands: reading this book was utterly meant to be.

The midnight library starts where most books end and for that reason you may not immediately fall into its pages but that is ok. Some of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading were slow starters (Slaughter House 5 I’m looking at you) and The Midnight Library takes a page or two to get going and then BAM BAM BOOM we are off💥

Imagine if you were in a place in between life and death, time is standing still and you are confronted with every decision you have ever made in your life. You get to experience these lives, right your wrongs, change the decisions that keep you up at night, would you like to see if carrying on with piano when you were younger would’ve actually have made a difference in your life. How about knowing whether or not the one that got away was the “one” or not? Well that is what has happened to our protagonist Nora, after attempting to end her life she ends up in the limbo that is her old school library and has to see whether all of her regrets really made her life worthless.
I won’t ruin the twists and turns of the book by telling you the details of Nora’s adventures in The Midnight Library (because they are brilliant) but I will say that even though this book is a touch simplistic at times, and maybe predictable at others; it has resonated with me and that isn’t easy to do.

“At the very core of this story it forces you to question the roots of your regrets and demands that you understand the difference between other peoples dreams and your own happiness.”

I spoke right at the beginning of this article about feeling as though I was meant to read this book, honestly? I am not as troubled as dear Nora, but the pandemic that has chased us into 2021 is taking its toll on me. This review is 10 days late and it’s not because I am so swamped with glamorous and exciting things to do.
I, like many people have a lot of spare time on my hands and sometimes that time is spent fumbling through thoughts of the past, wondering whether or not I would be happier if I had done something different. Wondering if I would feel less useless if I had used the freedom we used to enjoy a bit differently. I am not a “self-help” type of girl. I read nonfiction often but mostly for work. That is why this book hit me so hard, it has helped me by telling me a story, not by demanding that I repeat something sweet about myself in the mirror every day.

I am not sure if Matt Haig knew what he was doing when he wrote this book, it was published in August 2020 so very aptly timed and the themes of this book are very much centred around redemption, second chances and forgiveness. At the very core of this story it forces you to question the roots of your regrets and demands that you understand the difference between other peoples dreams and your own happiness.

“I will definitely be recommending to my nearest and dearest”

It can’t be a coincidence that this book came at a time when suicide and depression are at an all time high and people are feeling lonelier than ever. It is definitely a light in what feels like a bit of a murky world right now and a book I will definitely be recommending to my nearest and dearest

For the many reasons listed above I award The Midnight Library 4.5 worms out of 5

1 comment

  1. I’ve been feeling a bit low this new year so I am going to take the recommendation and give this book ago. Thank you Miss Yinka

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