The Midnight Library

This review is for The Midnight Library by Matt Haig published by Viking in 2020. I checked a copy out at my local library after waiting forever for it!


Between life and death there is a library, 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?”

A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

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. 

My Thoughts

In a book slump? I recommend The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (2020) to overcome the hurdle. I read this as book in two sittings, but it’s definitely written in a way that is consumable. This is my first book by Haig, but I know he has authored some popular titles. I can totally understand why.

The Midnight Library’s message is nothing new; however, I enjoyed Haig’s magical writing and the touch of modern references, which brought the message closer to home.

My Summary: Nora is depressed and attempts suicide. She goes to a world between life and death, The Midnight Library, and explores different lives she may have led depending on reversing regrets or mistakes. She learns lessons as she goes related to each regret.

Despite the nature of the content, I think this book is appropriate for most ages. However, I would preface that statement with saying that of course suicide/mental illness is a central theme, so that should be approached with sensitivity.

Key takeaways: I think this would’ve been best as a novella, but people seem to really disagree. Despite this, I would highly suggest TML as a cure to a book slump. It is written in a consumable way, with short bits and chunks describing a life, then returning to the library, followed by another exploration. It’s interesting and may resonate with a lot of readers — the message really speaks to the human condition, to regret, to adulthood, to normal feelings. Some quotes here and there made me think deeply about my own experiences, especially as someone approaching the end of their 20s.