Book of the Week: The Midnight Library

Ally Keegan – Contributor 

“Love and laughter and fear and pain are universal currencies. We just have to close our eyes and savour the taste of the drink in front of us and listen to the song as it plays.”  

The Midnight Library was gifted to me for Christmas the year it was published in 2020. I had no previous knowledge of the novel, but I knew from the moment I read the first page that I would quickly fall in love. Matt Haig has a natural talent with words, stringing them together with beautiful thoughts and philosophies that enhance the perspective of life itself. It is a truly inspiring novel, and its content ignited something in me that I can never seem to shake off.  

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is essentially an exploration of the human experience. Nora Seed is weighed down by an overwhelming sense of guilt, believing she’s a failure and thinking she has disappointed everyone in her life. She faces a series of calamitous situations and concludes that there is nothing more to live for. However, between life and death there is a library, and within that library the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to sample another life she could have lived if she chose to stay. She can undo all her regrets and sift through the infinite aisles of possibility until she finds the perfect life. However, there is limited time in the Midnight Library, and with the help of an old friend, Nora must answer the ultimate question: What is the best way to live?  

It’s primarily a story of compassion and morality, a spiritual quest for a deeper connection with the universe. This novel has always been extremely close to my heart, and as someone who constantly feels out of place, The Midnight Library never fails to take me home. It presents themes and motives that include philosophy, the parallel universe/quantum mechanics, the gift of life, love, and loss, and most importantly, the power of the mind. A major personal takeaway was that I realized how beautiful life truly is. The delicacy and ambiguity of each individual life is something that must be cherished. No other life, not even the best life imaginable will satisfy our deep-seated desires. Sometimes it takes a closer look at other possibilities to realize that our root life is the only one worth living.  

I highly recommend this delightfully refreshing novel for anyone who is trying to see a new or different perspective on life, those who feel weighed down by their regrets, or even those who simply want to be transported into a new world. There is something in this novel for everybody, and I guarantee it will become a beloved universal read.  

Ally Keegan is a first-year student at BGSU studying AYA Integrated Language Arts. She is a life-long lover of books; her favorite genres range from science fiction and magical realism to young adult romance. She enjoys participating in book clubs and always has a recommendation handy. She is easily found jamming to some 80’s hits, running, or devouring ice cream. To best contact Ally, email her at [email protected]