Title: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary
Edition/Pages: Hardcover, 304 Pages
‘Between life and death there is a library,’ she said. ‘And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be different if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’
➸ POV: 3rd Person, Nora’s POV
➸ Nora Seed: 35, Works at a musical equipment store, Situational depression, Stuck in the Midnight Library between life and death
➸ Content Warnings: Animal Death, Depression, Suicide Attempt (on page), Overdose, Death of a loved one, Cancer, Alcoholism & Addiction, Grief, Anxiety, Panic attacks, Self-harm
She imagined, now, what it would be like to accept herself completely. Every mistake she had ever made. Every mark on her body. Every dream she hadn’t reached or pain she had felt. Every lust or longing she had suppressed.
She imagined accepting it all. The way she accepted nature. The way she accepted a glacier or a puffin or the breach of a whale.
She imaged seeing herself as just another brilliant freak of nature. Just another sentient animal, trying their best.
And in doing so, she imagined what was like to be free.
It has taken me quite awhile to sit down and write this review because I don’t know how to even begin unpacking the amazing story. I want to start off this review by saving that this book deals very heavily with mental illness. It explores grief, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, self-harm, and suicide in detail. So please make sure you’re in a head space to handle some really heavy subject matter before going into this one.
This is one of those book you can immediately tell the author poured their heart and souls into. This book was raw and beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking at times. It ripped me open only to slowly stitch me back together. I was left reeling after this book and honestly haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
This book opens to Nora in a very dark place. She is struggling with purpose, self-acceptance, and regret. The discussions in here are heavy and intense but throughout, this book emirates a sense of hope. While this story is definitely difficult at times, but I loved following Nora’s growth.
I don’t think I will ever get over how much I adored the concept for the Midnight Library. I love that the author took an actual scientific theory and created into something this magical. I love my SFF plots to be based in reality and it made this story that much more mazing. There were so many magical details and nuance sprinkled throughout this and I loved every second.
The only reason this book didn’t get a full 5 star was because I wanted just a tiny bit more from the ending. I was just a tiny bit underwhelmed with how the story wrapped up. On one hand I think the openness of the ending was a great choice, but on the other I thought it was a little too quickly & conveniently wrapped up. I also desperately wanted tears and it just didn’t quite go there.
Overall this was an extremely moving and impactful story that will stick me long after reading. Matt Haig created such a magical world and weaved a beautiful, moving story depicting the struggles of mental illness. While the subject matter was extremely heavy, this story emanates hope throughout and left me feeling a whole spectrum of emotions. If you’re able to handle the subject matter, I can’t recommend this book enough!
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