The Midnight Library Review

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is a novel about a girl with her multitude of regrets in life but ultimately granted a second chance to undo them by choosing an alternate universe in where she appears to have made the right choices. The premise is hardly new or original but once in a while, it’s great to read a book on a familiar subject just to see if the author is able to create and bring a new and fresh experience to the readers. Unfortunately, I’ll have to side with the minority on this one as this supposedly feel good novel falls way short of its mark. Not only is it predictable but the main character of Nora Seed is anything but a joy to read. There doesn’t seem to be anything fresh or riveting the author brings to this genre and topic, which is fine itself but I definitely felt the novel was entirely forgettable as soon as I finished it.

“Because life isn’t simply made of the things we do, but the things we don’t do too.”

Nora Seed

Nora Seed leads a very simple yet mundane life. Filled with a bunch of regrets, she represents a lot of teenagers that ultimately share in her fate of failing to meet their parents and friends expectations, looking for love and comfort in all the wrong places, failing to define personal success and happiness which all ends up being the blame for a mediocre life that could have been so much more. In this regard the author connects with a lot of the readers in my opinion. Nora is indecisive and unsure of what she ultimately wants which sets up the theme rather nicely of getting to choose alternate universes where she made the right choices in life. Of course, the catch here is that not everything works as one expects and similar to the butterfly effect, one decision, regardless of how small it may seem, can branch into many different outcomes for things that one may not have realized at first. This in turn leads to other forks in the road and the domino effect goes on and on.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

Henry David Thoreau

Luckily for me, The Midnight Library is not a long read. The overall theme and pattern for each alternate universe Nora visits remains the same and I’m not sure if her staying longer in each would have made things more interesting. Why this novel ultimately failed for me personally is that if I was put in a similar position and given the same opportunities as Nora in the novel, I would have done things way differently and I had wanted the author in a similar way to spice things up and make things a bit more exciting. Alas, The Midnight Library is not a bad novel. It just has been awhile since I read or watched a movie with a similar theme and so I thought it would be fun to re-explore this.

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