The Midnight Library was my first experience with Matt Haig and it certainly won’t be my last. This was a smooth, easy read… well, I hesitate to say ‘easy’.
It felt easy for me because I finished the book in four days. If I had no other motherly responsibilities, I could have finished this in a day. So, I’m saying it was a fast read, and quite enjoyable, but I don’t know about easy.
At the heart of the novel, we’ve got a woman who suffers depression and attempts to commit suicide. There is nothing easy about this topic at all.
The novel starts with Nora Seed having a bad day, with a bunch of terrible luck. Her cat dies, she loses her job, and her part time job, and any little thing that gave her life meaning, is tossed aside.
Her life is full of bad decisions or wrong place/wrong time moments, and so after this particularly bad day, Nora decides to end her life.
However, she finds herself in the “Midnight Library” – a library where the clock never changes, and the infinite number of books that line the seemingly endless shelves, all look the same.
The books all look the same because they all feature Nora herself. Each book is a different life; one she could have had if she made a different choice in the past.
It’s a great concept, and one I enjoyed reading, even though the ending was predictable from early on.
The Changing Faces in The Midnight Library
For the first half of the novel, my heart hurt for Nora and all her struggles. She suffers depression and anxiety, and so do I… so do many of us, so it’s easy to relate to.
Even if you don’t suffer from these mental health issues, it’s easy to sympathize with Nora in all her lives.
At some point though, you begin to feel differently about her as she begins to feel differently about herself. The reader feels the character becoming ungrateful, and so that makes her less likeable.
I feel like the author intentionally did this, because just as you start to like Nora a little less, the storyline quickens its pace so you’re zooming through the novel, and the rest of Nora’s lives in a very short time.
It’s written very well, and even though the ending is predictable, there’s a little twist that I didn’t see coming, but enjoyed immensely.
If you’ve read The Midnight Library, or any other novel by Matt Haig, I’d love to hear your opinion in the Facebook group!