The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Dates Read: 10/03/2021-15/03/2021
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
It’s taken me a little while to get round to writing this review – firstly because I usually give it a few days anyway so that I have time to process what I’ve read and my thoughts, but mostly because I’ve just been too busy reading! To be honest, I don’t think I’d have read this book had it not been for it being a book club choice – I probably shouldn’t but I do tend to shy away from novels that have mass populist appeal – think it stems from a very distateful experience having tried to read Dan Brown following all the hype! However, I’m glad in retrospect that I have read it as I did get some enjoyment, but probably not on the scale of some of the reviews I’ve read. It’s also a quick, easy read so pretty welcome following a very long Jo Nesbo!
NB – SPOILER in next paragraph!!
The premise is good – but not especially groundbreaking. I mean, who hasn’t had one too many shandies and pondered how different their life may have been had one decision or action been different? But the idea of being able to try out those alternate realities is interesting – however it seemed evident to me from pretty early on that the outcome would always be that the life you’re living is always the best and right one for you. The mark of someone’s character isn’t about how they fall over, but how they get back up again.
OK, it’s safe, no more spoilers
As a glass half full kind of person, I guess I was kind of irritated by Nora and her ‘poor me’ attitude. We are all masters of our own destinies and must take control of that. The only person we are responsible for is ourselves, and we need neither take resposibility for the actions of others, nor (generally) apportion blame for how those actions impact on us. Obviously, I’m not talking about cases of abuse, but I can hardly keep blaming a bunch of other kids at school for not talking to me when, at the time, I was painfully shy and barely responded if they did, and certainly never willingly took up an opportunity to do fun, social stuff! Yes, I’ve changed a fair bit since then!
So that’s why Nora exasperated me – offered so many opportunities but never had the courage to grasp them, then whines about how terrible her life is. Who wouldn’t be frustrated with a protaganist like that? Life is full of risk and situations that make you uncomfortable but goodness me, don’t the best times and outcomes happen when you choose courage and face into your fears?
Saying that, it took me, probably, 40 years to truly learn this and start to live my own life, by saying yes, taking action and really confronting those doubts. We only get one chance at this life, and it’s not a very long one, so I am utterly determined to accept what I can’t change, have no regrets, always look on the positives, forgive easily (with one notable exception) and move on quickly from disappointment. My husband says I’m a pretty rare breed for having this attitude. I don’t know about that, but perhaps The Midnight Libraray will help others on their own journey to a more positive mindset and that can only be a good thing.