The Midnight Library: Book Review

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 novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived.

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?

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.

Star Rating: 3/5

The concept behind this book was brilliant. Nora Seed, our protagonist has a lot of regrets in her life. She had a lot of potential, to become an Olympic swimmer, a professional, a glaciologist, a singer cum composer and even a wife and mother. But somehow, she got left behind all alone and doing nothing worthwhile.

When her cat dies and she gets fired from her job, she decides to end it all. She commits suicide. However, at the next moment, she ends up at the Midnight Library. It is a place filled with books. The librarian turns out to be someone from Nora’s root life. She tells Nora that every book in the library has a different life story for her. Every story is brimming with possibilities, each with a different version of Nora. She gets to live these lives and she has a chance to choose any of the lives she likes. If she finds a life she really likes, then she can continue on, otherwise, she’ll really end up dead.

Nora starts living these lives, undoing every choice she had made till date, and even making very different choices she couldn’t have thought about in her root life. Slowly she begins to undo all her regrets. She regretted not marrying her boyfriend but as she marries him in one of these lives, she experiences what it could have been. It turned out to be toxic and her now-husband ended up cheating on her. Nora realised that a different life wouldn’t necessarily mean better.

Every decision had its own set of consequences. Some changed her life for the worse. Even the best lives with lots of money and fame had its own problems. These versions of Nora weren’t happy either. She moved in with her best friend, but in that life, her best friend died in a car accident. In one life, she was in a famous rock band with her brother, but her brother died of overdose. Some lives were simpler, yet she felt like she didn’t belong.

I found this book quite predictable. I knew what was going to happen at the end. None of the lives she leads were truly hers. It made me think that we often think about the different life we could’ve led if we made some different choices, but the fact remains, every choice we made was our own and they were made from our present situation and experiences. Personally, I don’t believe there is ever a right choice or a wrong choice. Each of these choices has its own set of consequences, both good and bad.

What I liked about this book was its writing. It was a short book which you can easily read in one sitting. Some of its quotes were beautiful. What I didn’t like about this book was that even though it was nice, it was just that. I didn’t love it. With a book like this, you expect to feel more. This one made me think rather than feel. One reason, I couldn’t connect with the protagonist. I didn’t like her so I couldn’t root for her. She was a half-empty glass kinda girl with a victim mentality. Of course, she changes and becomes a better version of herself, but since I didn’t like her in the beginning, I couldn’t bring myself to care for her.

If you are looking for a short read with philosophical undertones then this is the book for you!

P.S. This was my first book of 2023!!

To get your copy of this book, click here

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