“Never underestimate the big importance of small things.”
Sometimes books come to you at the right time. I remember seeing the author, Matt Haig’s, tweet a while ago about his book becoming a movie after almost taking his life two decades ago and then he popped up again on my feed, and again, and again, so I finally looked into his work and found The Midnight Library.
T/W: suicide, self-harm, mental illness
The Library Is Open
Nora Seed doesn’t see a reason to live after losing countless people she loved and it all boils up on the day her cat dies. After a series of events, Nora decides to take her own life (which is how it’s always put, never “she killed herself.”) Rather than moving on, Nora wakes up in a library between life and death, full of books about her life.
Each book is an alternate life in which she chose a different path. In one life, she chose to stay with her ex-finance, in another, she chose to not give up on swimming. If Nora finds a life that makes her happy, she’ll stay there forever, but if even an ounce of disappointment occurs, she’ll be taken back to the library to start again. With her clock always at midnight, time doesn’t necessarily pass unless her “root” self starts to die.
The Only Way To Learn Is To Live
I enjoyed reading Nora’s journey and her progress over time. Nora is a kind and caring person who loves music, the environment, and missed out on an Olympic medal. I was the most interested in her music career and what would’ve happened if she didn’t quit a band she was in.
But some things are set in stone. She can’t stop her mom from dying because it’s not a choice Nora could’ve made.
There are many lives Nora gets to see, but none are as glamorous as she thought. She thinks one is better, but in the end, something always disappoints her. Nora has to learn how to live and if those lives gave her anything, it’s a start to do that. For her to understand her life could go many ways. Sure, it could get worse, but what if it gets better?
“That was how she had felt most of her life.
Caught in the middle. Struggling, flailing, just trying to survive while not knowing which way to go. Which path to commit to without regret.”
Despite the ending being a little obvious, I gravitated towards the story a lot, and that’s just as important as a twist ending. I could relate to Nora in a lot of ways. As someone who grew up playing sports, what if I hadn’t quit one? What if I hadn’t given up saxophone? We’re all guilty of it, but when you’re stuck in a situation in your life, you can’t help but wonder, “what if?” more than usual.
Overall, this book is exactly what it needs to be: uplifting, inspiring, telling you to stop thinking about your regrets and focus on what you’re currently doing, but I think for some people it may resonate even more. Sometimes you just need a reminder to live and not worry about what could’ve happened.
I stayed up until 12:30 to finish this book. Something about it hit the right spot at the right time.