Umm. I thnk I was supposed to feel good after reading this, be uplifted and open to all life's possibilities and all that. Instead, it's like I had to sit through a showing of "It's a wonderful life" interrupted by hundreds of Hallmark commercials. Self-help and motivational books are not my thing, and this one is stuffed full of little motivational paragraphs and life lessons, augh. I was interested in the premise - there's been quite a few good books along this theme - but this one is awfully sappy. And it's so predictable. I did like Haig's writing style, anyway. Biggest gripe: Nora is supposed to know if the alternate life is one she wants, but the library drops her into it at her same age and she has no clue who people are or what she's done. And people notice she's suddenly an amnesiac. How could she be comfortable? Second biggest: Isn't depression usually diagnosed now as a physical thing? You don't just get told "Brace up, girl, life isn't so bad" and you're able to go "Oh yeah, how could I be depressed". Third: this seems like a underhanded permission to commit suicide, because you could decide in your overdosed coma state that you really want to live after all. I know a lot of people will like this book, but although I finished it, I couldn't like it in the end.
This was a sad and yet an enjoyable read. The beginning is quite dismal which is that base on which the book was written. We find Nora, our main character, in a depressing point in her life. Things are just going wrong. It seems that if something in her life can fall apart, then it is doing it. She has so many regrets on the way her life has went. She wonders "what if" about so many directions in her life. The depression eats her up so much that she decides she doesn't want to go on anymore. Enter, the midnight library. Here Nora finds that it is full of books. Every book is a "what if" in Nora's life. What if she decided to put all her efforts into her swimming, or her music, or her husband? Each one she gets to experience all her regrets only to find that life is full of regrets but it is what we make of them that counts.
Anyone who has had these struggles will definitely identify with Nora. It puts a perspective on life that is positive. A lot like the movie A Wonderful Life does. It was heart-warming and endearing. A book that I will have to keep in my thoughts on days I wonder "what if?"
Self absorbed and tedious.
I realize I am in the minority, but this book bored me near to tears. I quit a third of the way through. Sappy, predictable.
I'm sometimes leery of books that receive so much hype but two of my reading groups on FB have written a variety of reviews so I had to read it myself to decide. I'm not a fan of fantasy writing but this one held my interest. I've sometimes thought of the "What Ifs" in my own life. What if I had made a different decision about a job, a mate, having children, etc. So this book intrigued me with all of the options in the Midnight Library.
Nora Seed is depressed in her dead-end life, just lost her job, her cat died, no boyfriend, etc. She's ready to end her life at 35 when she ends up in the Midnight Library. (I don't need to explain, everyone else has.) She 'lives' many of her other potential lives for a day or two, so here's where the fantasy comes in. No spoiler here, you'll have to read the book.
Matt Haig is a thoughtful writer. Not a lot of flash, just solid writing. Will look for his other books.