“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig | Book Review

Book Review | Rating – 5/5 | Genre – Magical Realism

I’ve seen a lot of this book around the internet for the past year, whether it was people raving about it, or simply coming across the front cover on Instagram. Anyway, jumping back to a couple weeks ago, I came across this book in person, while wondering around the bookshops in town. Having seen so much of it, and really feeling like I needed a new book, I through my caution towards spending money to the wind and purchased this book. In need of a good book to read in the sunshine, it wasn’t long until I picked this one up to read. Here is what I thought…

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place. (Check it out here)

What did I think?

Lets face it, I’ve rated this book 5 stars so its fairly obvious that I abolutely loved this book in order to rate it so highly. But the question is, why did I rate it so well? Thats because everything about the whole reading experience fit perfectly with everything I wanted to see in a book at the time. Here are just some of the reasons I enjoyed this so much…

  • I’ll start with the character of Nora Seed. From the very beginning of the book I could relate to her, even if I am younger that her, and also a man. That was the beauty of her troubles, they are easy for any to understand, and they were dealt with in such a sympathetic way, that her mental health troubles were never cast into some cliche or concerning trope.
  • Next up came the overall premises. It was the main reason I chose to read this book, finding that the slightly magical twist on Nora’s life something that I love to see in a book. There was the right amount of magic and mystery without moving to far away from the realism of Nora’s main life. Also, having spent a lot of my childhood in the school library, I felt very intune with Nora’s love of librarys.
  • Finally, I turn my attention to the concept of changing decisions. The whole book centres around Nora getting the chance to see how her life would be different if she’d chosen a different path in life. Haig could’ve easily made this book a cringey rip off of “Its a Wonderful Life” but instead we’re given a much more nuanced version of the classic story. Here we see Nora’s lives laid out as allergories for different regrets.

At the end of the day…

I want to be able to continue writing about this book until I can write no more. It was a book that had me thinking back on my own life experiences, helping to align my own troubles in a better light. Yes, there may have been moments where I questioned what Nora was doing, but thinking back – it wasn’t something that bothered me, it made Nora a much more realistic character. Another reason for not continuing to write about this book is I’m avoiding giving away too much of a story that should be experienced in full.

After finishing this book I had a little weep, then, once I’d taken a deep breath, I knew I had to read another of Matt Haig’s books. Then I found that I already had another of his books in my shelves ready to be read; slightly concerned I had no recollection of buying it, especially as I know I bought it fairly recently. However, having finishing The Midnight Library I’m excited to see what other emotional adventure Haig will take me on.


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