The Midnight Library book summary: Regrets and more Regrets

Book review of the midnight library: Between life and death there is a library. This book does contain triggers like suicide and depression
Book review of The midnight library- Xoraslibrary

Table of Contents

Book name: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Find more of him here

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Pages: 288

When I bought the Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I remember reading the summary and thinking Nora is me, I am

Nora, we are the same. A young adult who regrets her life choices and ends up in the Midnight library 

with books that transport her to a different life she could’ve had if she made a different choice. Like  

C’mon, It doesn’t get any more relatable than that.

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The midnight library book Summary:

The Midnight Library follows the main character Nora Seeds. A young woman in her 30s lived in a small town called Bedfordshire England.

She felt regret for not making the choices everyone around her wanted her to make. In the end, she was overwhelmed with guilt and regret. She felt like her life was falling apart.

She lost her job.

Her elderly neighbor didn’t need her anymore.

Even the kid she was giving piano lessons to didn’t want to continue anymore.

Her brother hated her because (and this is what she thought) she left the band.

So she decides to end her life or tries to. Instead, she ends up in the midnight library. Each book represents a life she could’ve had if she followed the expectations of the people around her. Alternate realities and different versions of Nora if she made different decisions. 

Quote from the book

“Between life and death, there is a library”

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The midnight library setting:

We open up with a flashback titled “Nineteen years before she decided to Die”. She is in the library with Mrs. Elm when she learns about upsetting news. 

Then the book flashes to present times set in England. 

Each chapter begins with a countdown of the hours before she takes her life.

Gif of books falling in a library- Midnight library blog post gif

Nora:

Throughout the book, I was getting so frustrated with Nora. Because It felt like she wasn’t allowing herself to be happy. She wasn’t satisfied with the lives she jumped into.

Basically she was shoe shopping each life she could’ve had.

In one of her lives, she met Hugo, a French man who was also a slider like her. He lived in the Arctic. He told her the sliders were people who jumped from one life to another. 

For Hugo, his version of the midnight library was a video store. That was how the brain made sense of whatever was happening. It takes them back to a place where they felt more happy or safe. For Nora, The library was where she used to play chess with the librarian.

Hugo

Hugo told her that they were married in another life, which I thought was interesting. I got the feeling that Nora finally felt like this was where she was supposed to be and that Hugo was the man for her.

 Because she had always wanted to be an Arctic researcher. It was her dream, not anyone else’s.

She also spent the most time in this life than the others. But that changed when they slept together because she didn’t feel like they really connected.

Hugo’s main thing was that he wanted to see his other lives, so he didn’t stay in one life for too long.

Nora felt unsatisfied with that life and was transported back into the midnight library.

It took me a while to realize that she was dream walking or at least that’s what it sounds like to me. That she was entering different universes of herself. Similar to Wanda in the multiverse.

If she didn’t like the life she was living then she left. and the other Nora in that universe would feel deja vu. She met Hugo again later in another life very briefly and they spoke more about quantum physics. 

Ash

Her next life was with Ash and she spent the most time there. They had a daughter named Molly. I thought “Okay this is the one”.

Because at one point the memories became her own. she started remembering things that she shouldn’t remember, and that life was starting to feel like hers like she was content. She felt loved and more than anything she loved, she loved her daughter, her life, Ash, and her brother.

Which is why I was confused when she was back at the midnight library.

The Midnight Library ending summary:

When I tell you the ending had me screaming! I was on the edge of anticipation.

Throughout the whole book Nora is just there. She doesn’t seem happy at all. So when she finally got a taste of happiness and a family.

The feeling of belonging somewhere. In this life where she’s married  and has a daughter, Nora finds herself. She finally found something worth living for. 

She had to leave because the library was falling apart.

And it was falling apart because Nora’s was leaving her body.

(the pills she overdosed with were kicking in)

The moment in the library where she desperately tries to find her original book so she could go back because she suddenly wants to live again pulled at my heart.

Me when the library was coming apart and Nora Seed was trying to find a blank book

 In some moments I was annoyed with Nora and in others I felt like we were the same person. 

Moments of regrets

I’m sure we all have moments of regrets, things we wish we didn’t do and some we wish we did. That feeling eats away at you and suddenly you feel like you have to play catch up to those around you. 

I’m always in my thoughts, playing out scenarios of how my life would be if I made different decisions based on the opportunities I had at the time. What kind of person would I be now? what kind of relationships would I have with my friends and family if I have put more effort in? 

The midnight Library plays on those feelings and gives a taste of imagination,

a glimpse of a life a person could’ve had if they went on a different path.

Midnight Library Book review

Overall Nora did frustrate me a lot but in the end, I grew to love this character. She was written so beautifully. This book does mention suicide and depression. 

But throughout the book you become so engrossed in Nora Seeds journey, that you sort of forget how she got in the library in the first place.

I give the midnight library 4 stars because I loved the premise of the book. Getting a second chance at life after understanding that you truly want to live and live with intention.

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Who should read the Midnight Library

  • you’re a fan of books where the female character is finding herself. 
  • You like the idea of having books of your life where you made different choices. 
  • You need a fiction pick me up to distract you from your own feelings of regrets.

What Genre is the midnight Library by Matt Haig?

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fiction. 

Where Can I watch the Midnight Library Movie?

I could not find any recent news surrounding the making of this movie but you can find more information here https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-news/studiocanal-three-billboards-banner-blueprint-adapting-matt-haigs-midnight-library-for-film-4064890/

My favorite midnight library Quotes: 

“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

“The only way to learn is to live.”

“You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.”

“You’re overthinking it.’ ‘I have anxiety. I have no other type of thinking available.”

“Regrets don’t leave. They weren’t mosquito bites. They itch forever.”

“Look at that chessboard we put back in place,’ said Mrs Elm softly. ‘Look at how ordered and safe and peaceful it looks now, before a game starts. It’s a beautiful thing. But it is boring. It is dead. And yet the moment you make a move on that board, things change. Things begin to get more chaotic. And that chaos builds with every single move you make.’

‘It’s an easy game to play,’ she told Nora. ‘But a hard one to master. Every move you make opens a whole new world of possibilities…In chess, as in life, possibility is the basis of everything. Every hope, every dream, every regret, every moment of living…never underestimate the big importance of small things.”

What happens in the Midnight Library?

Nora Seeds takes an attempt to end her life, in doing so she ends up at the midnight library. A place where all of the books are of her alternate lives. Each time she opens one up, she ends up in that life.

If she doesn’t feel satisfied with that life and the decisions she made to get there, she is then back at the midnight library.

She is between life and death at the moment, her body is at home, unconscious due to the pills she overdosed on. And the midnight library is where her subconscious ends up because when she was in school, the library was where she’d go. Along with Mrs. Elm her school librarian, they would play chess there often.

What is the message in Midnight Library?

As corny as it is, the message is you cant change your past. You can only move forward and make better decisions. You can change your attitude and outlook at any time. Accept your regrets and make better decisions moving forward.

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Is the midnight library a good book?

If by good you mean a great piece of literature, mmm maybe not. But it is definitely a good comfort book to read where you can relate to the character.

Matt Haig really does a good job at humanizing and making you sympathize with Nora and nothing feels too rushed or slow. So by that I would say yes it is a good book.

Xoraslibrary image sitting reading a book

Xora's Library

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