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Book Review: “The Midnight Library” tugs lightly on the heartstrings

Ever wish you could go back in time and make different life choices? No matter how much I say, “No, I have no regrets,” there’s always that little voice in the back of my mind saying otherwise.

In Matt Haig’s 2020 bestseller “The Midnight Library,” Nora Seed is given the opportunity to change her life in exchange for a new one, follow different careers, and fix relationships but must journey through the library of her life to find what it means to live a fulfilled life.

My fascination with what comes after death was delighted with the premise of “The Midnight Library” and my love of libraries sealed the deal when I picked up a copy. This fresh perspective on the moments between life and death gives new meaning to looking back on your life and the mistakes you’ve made along the way. Jumping into a parallel life and experiencing the choices we wish we had made is arguably the most imaginative idea I’ve seen in a while within the literary world. If only we could actually experience the midnight library when we’re between life and death!

Nora’s existential crises throughout “The Midnight Library” were chillingly familiar to anyone struggling with their career, life choices, and futures–especially post-pandemic. With each life jump, Haig seemed to pluck out my innermost worries regarding my own career and life choices as he weaved Nora’s regrets into the resounding life lessons she later learns. Even the most experienced of novelists often struggle with relating to their readers when dealing with existential crises, but Haig effortlessly illustrates the internal struggles many young people feel going into adulthood and building their life.

Given all the heavy topics discussed in “The Midnight Library,” it’s obvious some heartstrings would be tugged on, but none were ripped out even after the most heartbreaking epiphany in the novel. Booksta and booktok made out “The Midnight Library” to be an emotional rollercoaster that will force you to reevaluate your life and of course, I fell into this overly optimistic trap once again. Don’t get me wrong, “The Midnight Library” has its moments of teary-eyed reading, but it wasn’t nearly as emotional as I was expecting it to be as a whole.

“The Midnight Library” isn’t the emotional rollercoaster it’s marketed as, but it will tug on your heartstrings during Nora’s existential contemplation and musings. There are few unique premises in the modern literary world, yet “The Midnight Library” spins the rebirth archetype into a fresh and imaginative contemplation of our regrets, choices, and lives.

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