Book: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Fantasy, Mental Health
Pages: 295 (Kindle)
Publisher: Canongate Books
Published: 13th August 2020
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
TW: Suicide Mention.
Matt Haig's book 'The Midnight Library' was released early last month, and I've been so excited to read this one! Haig's other work includes 'How To Stop Time', 'Notes on a Nervous Planet' and 'Reasons To Stay Alive', which are all highly praised.
The synopsis of The Midnight Library is a very difficult one to explain! Nora Seed, a worker at Strings Theory, begins to question her existence when her depression hits in full force, and she decides that she no longer wants to live...
In between life and death, there is a library: The Midnight Library. Where time stands still, and many different fates await. Nora has an infinite amount of books to choose from, each leading her to another chance at life. However, each one is different, and all are different possibilities that her life could've taken - whether it's an Olympian, a glaciologist, a language teacher, etc. When so many paths are open to her, which one will she choose?
This book was heart-warming, emotional and inspiring. I absolutely loved this book - the character development, the world-building, the quotes and of course the cover! (Just look at that cover!).
I loved Nora's character development, she began looking on the world negatively and full of regrets yet slowly developed strength and wisdom. Yes, I admit, the ending was predictable. However, it's the journey and Nora's development that is both interesting and inspiring. With each book she opens, it leads her to another possibility - a possible future that could have been.
I enjoyed the world-building too. Nora's in-between world was represented using a library, yet as she meets another 'Slider' named Hugo, he mentions that his in-between is a video-store. The idea of a library representing a choice of different lives, is creative and used well as a metaphor. The library is further used to represent Nora's state in her 'root life' where she truly is, as the lights flicker and books fall when the real Nora is in danger.
Haig is very open about his own personal experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts, and the knowledge and wisdom that he gained as he came to terms with his mental health clearly comes through in his work. I loved the references to hope and positivity, both through quotes from philosophers, and Mrs Elm (the librarian). Haig clearly understands depression and mental health and knows of just the right thing to say.
Overall, I'd give this book a rating of five out of five stars. As a mental health blogger, and someone who has had personal experiences of mental illness, I can understand that this book would mean a lot to someone who is feeling a similar way to Nora. It teaches the beauty of life and pleasure in the little things, and how the smallest of actions can mean the world to someone else.
Trigger Warnings: Depression, Suicidal thoughts and intent, Overdose. Brief mentions of SH and cancer.
Have you read Matt Haig's The Midnight Library? What are your thoughts?
Take care and stay safe,
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