This book was a pretty simple, two-day read, a spin on an “It’s a Wonderful Life”-type story that lost a lot of credit with me because it needs a SERIOUS content warning on the cover. The whole cover spiel is “between life and death there is a library” which, cool, but we get there because our narrator wants to die. The first ten percent of this book is focused on the mindset of a woman who sees death as her only option. We need a framing of this book, sure, but also holy shit let your readers know!
So yeah. Our narrator, Nora, looks at her life and sees nothing but regrets. That she couldn’t take care of her cat, that she lost her dead-end job, that her best friend doesn’t talk to her, that she let her brother down, that she walked away from her wedding – only regrets and no reason to go on. She ends her life and wakes up in an endless library wherein each book is a possibility, a decision made differently and the life that spun out from that waiting for her to step into it.
There were a few false starts where I was genuinely concerned that “a man” was going to be the solution, but they didn’t go that direction. I did like that Nora entered each life with zero idea of what was going on and had to figure it all out from context clues, it was a constant reminder that these lives were for some iteration of her, but they weren’t hers. It’s not a bad book. There is some beautiful writing and she does of course rediscover the things that make life worth living. I was just really off-put by the beginning and never fully regained my footing. The book did however give me this chapter title:
Why Want Another Universe If This One Has Dogs?