The Midnight library

A review

True to form I didn’t finish the book before the book group meeting. The chapters were each a story so it wasn’t difficult to participate.

Nora Seed the central character has no reason to continue living so she makes a suicide attempt. She wakes up in the Midnight Library. She is greeted by her old school librarian Mrs Elm. Mrs Elm assists her as she chooses books that allow her to experience her life differently affording her the opportunity to find one to give her a reason to live.

One of the members asked, “Who would we wish to meet in such a situation?” We may be surprised as was Nora by the person who greets us. The key may be a person who showed us kindness as a child.

It prompted me to think of Mrs Black who I wrote about in the below story.

The different lives of Nora Seed were based on the life she had just she was able to see the life if she had pursued it. She lived in a state of regret for not being decisive about most opportunities that came her way. As I read I found myself asking the question ‘Do I have regrets?’ Yes, there are some but from each, I learned and hopefully worked them to the good.

I found the book slow in comparison to the previous Hamnet hence it wasn't until page 126 that I took note,

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude”. It is a quote borrowed from Thoreau.

The story continued,

“She had thought, in her nocturnal and suicidal hours, that solitude was the problem. But that was because it hadn't been true solitude. The lonely mind in the busy city yearns for connection because it thinks human to human connection is the point of everything. But amid pure nature solitude took on a different character. It became in itself a kind of connection. A connection between and the world. And between her and herself.”

In a conversation with someone who was lamenting their life in comparison to others, I found myself drawing on another reflection of Nora while she experienced one of her lives,

“Maybe that’s what all lives were, though. Maybe even the most seemingly perfectly intense or worthwhile lives ultimately felt the same. Acres of disappointment and monotony and hurts and rivalries but with flashes of wonder and beauty.”

I said to them, “You know what that is their life you have your life and that is the one you are to live.”

Matt Haig the author is a Henry David Thoreau fan as his quotes are peppered throughout Nora’s reflections of her lives.

Nora thinks, “We know what we perceive. Everything we experience is ultimately just our perception of it.”

And then comes HDT,

“It is not what you look at that matters it is what you see.”

If you are at a point where you need to reflect on your life no better book to do it with than Midnight Library.


Photo gj6921




Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.

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Gordie Jackson

Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.

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