The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is a story about the infinite possibilities of our own lives. We have all had the thought of “if only I had done this or that, my life would be completely different.” Inherent in that thought, but usually unstated, is “… and then I’d be happy.” What we rarely think about are the moments that if we’d done them differently, would lead us to more heartbreak. Or the things we cherish about our current lives that would be gone or never have existed at all.
By what she thinks is chance but is really a series of choices, Nora discovers the Midnight Library, a place beyond time where all the possibilities of her life are written in books kept on infinite shelves. After reading excerpts of her very own Book of Regrets, Nora tests out some of those possible lives. She is forced to reckon with her choices, why she made them and the consequences.
I found the conclusion to be a bit obvious and heavy-handed but overall, I enjoyed reading The Midnight Library. It was thought-provoking and subverted some of my expectations. It was also a book I can totally see being made into a movie, possibly starring Dakota Johnson. (Not sure why my mind-movie casting agent chose her but cannot unsee now).