REVIEW: ‘The Midnight Library’ explores meaning of life with a magical twist


Graphic Tisya Singh

Staff Writer Jadyn Jacobs writes that “The Midnight Library” provides a magical take on the meaning of life, making it a must read for all.

Jadyn Jacobs, Staff Writer

Imagine deciding to die and then finding yourself in a magical library filled with stories of lives you could have lived. “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig is a fantasy novel about a library full of alternate lives, and it is one of the most realistic books I have read. 

Nora, a 35 year-old woman living in Bedford, England, feels she has lost all purpose. She has fallen on hard times and has been having panic attacks and mental health problems for years. Nora feels no one needs her, so one night, she decides to commit suicide. However, before Nora dies, she enters what she comes to know as the Midnight Library. 

The Midnight Library is full of books that will bring Nora to lives she could have lived had she made different choices. If she finds a life she is truly happy in, she will stay in that life, but Nora only has a set amount of time before she dies and the library disappears. With the help of her old school librarian, Mrs. Elm, Nora tries to find her perfect life, and along the way learns more about herself and why life is worth living. 

“The Midnight Library” is a beautifully written novel exploring the meaning of life and the impacts of struggling with mental health. It leads readers to reflect on their own life and the possibilities of their future. 

The novel has a lovable main character, a mysterious magical library, and a story you just can’t put down. With her insecurity, anxiety and heartache, Nora is an extremely flawed yet realistic character, which makes her easy to like and connect with. It’s obvious from the start Nora struggles, but the reader can see her potential early in the story, and you can’t help but root for her.  

The Midnight Library itself is another highlight of the book. How the library works, what it actually is, and Mrs. Elm’s role in its existence is a mystery that Nora solves throughout the novel, which makes “The Midnight Library” hard to put down. The expected ending may make some readers lose interest, but the journey Nora takes to get there makes up for the book’s predictability. 

Beyond the book’s plot, characters and mystery, part of what makes “The Midnight Library” a great story is the accurate depiction of the hopelessness of depression, and the feeling of being trapped in your own mind. 

Anyone who reads the book can identify with Nora’s feelings of loneliness and hopelessness. Nora’s character is bound to make readers who struggle with the same issues less alone and can help those who have been lucky enough to not experience depression understand the experience more. Drawing from his own experiences, Matt Haig has managed to write a complex novel about a character who convincingly struggles with their mental health and rediscovers hope through an unusual journey.

“The Midnight Library” is an engaging and realistically impactful book with magical aspects that create a fun and powerful story that is worth a read.