The Midnight Library: Should You Visit?


Clancey Benfer, Writer

What if you had the chance to experience all the different versions of your life? Matt Haig explores this concept in his book The Midnight Library. The main character, Nora, ends up in the Midnight Library, a library in which each book contains another life for her to explore after her life has not turned out how she wished. Each new life undoes a regret that Nora had in her “original life.” Her old teacher acts as the librarian, and with her help, Nora attempts to find a life worth living for.

In addition to being a Good Morning America Book Club pick, The Midnight Library has garnered rave reviews on Goodreads. Thus, the bar was set high before reading it, but my experience with the book was not what the five-star reviews made me believe it would be. 

The book is captivating at first, but I quickly found it to be predictable, boring, and reminiscent of a cheesy self-help ad on Pinterest. The lessons Haig wanted his readers to learn were plainly spelled out, giving readers no room for other interpretations of Nora’s experiences. Haig continues to pile on the life lessons for Nora and the reader to learn in less than 300 pages. A library filled with opportunities to live out one’s regrets is an interesting concept, but the science behind the parallel worlds is not explored enough. 

Though the plot was predictable, Nora is still relatable as a character. She’s lonely, struggles with mental illness, and is disappointed with where her life has gone. She may be “boring,” but the majority of us are. In this sense, The Midnight Library had potential, but the writing was painfully earnest. The Midnight Library, unfortunately, is not one I would like to visit.