ARC REVIEW: The Midnight Library

“The Midnight Library is not one of ghosts. It is not a library of corpses. It is a library of possibility. And death is the opposite of possibility.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I read Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time when I was on holiday with my friend in Dubai and it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The humour and the clever twists were absolutely fantastic so when I saw his new book The Midnight Library on NetGalley, I just had to request it!

What Did I Think?

I think Matt Haig is probably one of my favourite authors because of the way he perfectly sums up thoughts and feelings. Every time I read one of his books, it’s like a lightbulb goes off in my head and suddenly understand my feelings.

The Midnight Library follows the life of a young woman named Nora who finds herself in between life and death, with the opportunity to live any life she ever wanted. I really enjoyed this concept as I’m always daydreaming about what my life would have been like if I had continued playing rugby, or had chosen a different degree, or have taken that job in Spain…

As a believer of everything happens for a reason, I loved this concept of the library of lives and I found myself really rooting for our protagonist, Nora. I thought she deserved SO much more and my heart broke for her so many times. 

The beginning of the book is a little heavy because there is a lot of discussion about depression and suicide but I think it was an extremely poignant depiction of how mental health is so important and gives the reader an insight into how depression affects every day thinking. 

This book is one I’m adding to my list of 5-star readings because I loved every second of reading it. I also enjoyed how it made me question if I have any regrets about my life and the missed opportunities, but it definitely emphasised the fact that things certainly happen for a reason.

“The only way to learn is to live.”

The Guardian Live & Matt Haig

I also had the pleasure of attending Matt Haig’s interview with The Guardian on his publication date. I think that the best thing about Matt Haig’s books is that the man himself is one of the most genuine people. He genuinely wants to help his readers and audience through his books and if you follow him on Twitter, you will know his inspirational quotes can help anyone get through a bad day.

It was interesting that the woman interviewing him made connections between The Midnight Library and A Wonderful Life which Matt agreed was deliberate. Matt stated that for the first time, he drew upon his personal life and experiences to create this fictional story but felt like having a male protagonist would have made it too much like himself, so he chose to have a female lead instead. He said he was aware of the pitfalls of being a male writer with a female protagonist but he tried to be over-careful about gender because he ran the risk of losing the creativity of the story. 

Matt interestingly stated that as How To Stop Time is about time, this book is more focused on hope and regret and through this he was able to create a philosophical conversation starter about trying on different lives. He said that it was such great fun to write because he got to ‘try on’ different lives but, as he emphasised, it was important to make these ‘lives’ and ‘experiences’ realistic and not perfect. 

The Midnight Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Publisher: Canongate Books
Published: 2020
# of Pages: 304
Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction
Trigger Warnings: Death, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, loss
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells

6 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: The Midnight Library”

  1. I enjoyed Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive. It’s a great mental health read and I’ve recommended it to a lot of friends. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Midnight Library. Great review, by the way!


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