The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. New York: Viking, 2020. 288 pages. *****
Nora Seed is tired of living. She feels as if she has let everyone down including herself, this isn't who she wants to be or where she expected to be in life. She calls her brother to tell him she loves him and writes her good-bye to whoever finds her. What Nora doesn't know is that "between life and death there is a library" and that library is filled with books of all of the lives Nora could have lived had she made different choices. With the help of her school librarian, Nora is able to choose books and see what life can be like in a different career, married, as a mother, olympic swimmer, and all of the various paths available to her. Nora is in search of the perfect life, is there one and will Nora find it?
There are so many things to love about this book! The format was perfect for telling Nora's story. Our lives are a series of events and what ifs, hopes and dreams. regrets and perfect moments, and a collection of memories. Haig has captured the many aspects of living and perhaps how a person grows weary and tired of it all. This book can be a difficult read during a pandemic when so many things in our lives are outside of our control, however, I feel that Haig's message is an important one. I have always been fascinated with the concept of parallel lives and his suggestion for transitions while a stretch made as much sense as others I have read. I have had some difficulty focusing on reading during these last few months, however, I read this book in two days. I may be biased in my opinion since it is a school librarian who guides Nora, and I am a retired school librarian. I hope (naively perhaps) that I have helped a few children find their way throughout my career. Reviews are mixed, so I suggest you read it yourself and form your own opinion. There is so much to discuss and think about, that it will make a great Book Club choice. I suspect people will either love it or not like it at all. I highly recommend it and Matt Haig has gained a new fan!
Matt Haigis the author of the internationally bestseller memoir Reasons to Stay Alive, along with five novels including How to Stop Time, and several award-winning children's books. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. The Midnight Library is on many bestseller lists.
To learn more about Matt Haig, visit http://www.matthaig.com
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