Books have a tendency to find me at just the moment that I need them. This one was no exception. While ruminating over the choices I have made in my life that have led me to live in a country where I feel I am not thriving, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig ended up on my Overdrive bookshelf. I listened to this audiobook over a weekend and had a hard time pausing it. I may read it again in text because there were so many great quotes, I didn’t take the time to jot all of them down in my phone’s notes app!
This is just a brief overview of what I felt when I read this book. I don’t want to give too much of it away because I highly encourage you to read it yourself! I thought I had found a hidden gem until I have seen this book advertised more and more. It was even number one on amazon bookclub’s recommended reads this week! That’s why I decided to make my first post on my new website this review of The Midnight Library.
Plot of The Midnight Library
Nora attempts suicide at the beginning of the book, but instead of ending up in the great beyond, she finds herself in The Midnight Library. What’s that? You might be asking, well there is no way I could sum it up better than Mrs. Elm did so here are her words:
‘Between life and death there is a library,’ she said. ‘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?’
While the ending wasn’t a shocker or anything, this was a book I really could enjoy soaking up. I identified a lot with the main character and could put myself in her shoes pretty easily. I can’t say I have as many talents as she does. But I certainly enjoyed the metaphor of the parallel universes where we could be living out an infinite number of lives created by making just one alternate choice!
You can’t run from the themes in this book. They are pretty right there in your face. But a much more pleasant read than most self-help books on the shelf so I recommend it. The main messages I got here were, There are no wrong decisions, there are just decisions and what comes after them.
You can look at what’s going well for you in life or you can look at what’s not going well. It’s completely up to you. But whatever you are experiencing, take responsibility for what got you there. And move toward more of what you like!
Nora: ‘What do I do now?’
Mrs. Elm: ‘You open the book and turn to the first page.’
‘I don’t think your problem was stage fright. Or wedding fright. I think your problem was life fright.’
“I think you might have lost your way a little bit.”
“Isn’t that why I came to the Midnight Library in the first place? Because I had lost my way?”
“Well, yes. But now you are lost within your lostness.”
‘Never underestimate the big importance of small things.’
My Review of the Midnight Library
If you can’t tell by the title of this review of The Midnight Library, I loved this book. I thought it gave me great insights about things I had been mulling over in recent weeks. I have a tendency to ask myself, “Have I made the right decision? What if I had done this or that instead?” And what this book reminded me is that, it doesn’t really matter what decision I am making as long as I keep moving forward.
The important thing is that I am taking responsibility for my own actions, and I keep focusing on what is going right instead of what could have been better. I am always helping my life coaching clients do just this, so I enjoyed the approach being taught in a fun fiction book. It really drove home that no matter what decisions I have made about relationships, career, or how to manage my emotions, there is no excuse for not taking responsibility and moving forward.
What about you? What did you feel were the main themes in this book? How did it speak to you?