The Midnight Library follows a woman name Nora Seed who has a pretty sad life: dead end job, bad apartment, dead cat, no friends, dead mom. So she decides to take her own life by overdosing.
After laying down to die, she finds herself in this kind of interstitial space of a weirdly magical library with infinite books of all the infinite lives she could have lived. The librarian is a woman from her past, Mrs. Elm, who helped her through her father’s death. Mrs. Elm begins by showing Nora the Book of Regrets, and then encourages her to imagine what kind of life she wants to “try on,” for lack of a better word. Nora thinks of a life, and Mrs. Elm delivers the book to her to begin to read.
Nora ends up living dozens of lives. She eventually gains a sense of familiarity and routine with the process, which is she begins to feel like she is unmoored and like she is forgetting who she is in her “root life.” That is until she finds what she believes to be her perfect life, but it still doesn’t quite fit.
SPOILERS: Nora decides that she wants to live and comes back to her root life. It’s very Ebeneezer Scrooge at the end of A Christmas Carol when he wakes up and has all of the sudden a changed person. She appreciates her life, she sees the potential, and she recognizes all of the important connections that she took for granted before her visit to the Library.
After all of the contemplations about life and quantum physics and parallel universes, the ending felt a bit abrupt, but that could be because I don’t tend to read books with happy endings. Sometimes things get resolved, but I wouldn’t call the endings in most creative non-fiction, true crime, and murder mystery stories happy.
I did, however, find myself smiling after finishing the book. So maybe I should read more uplifting stories…