I picked up The Midnight Library without much information about the plot. Little did I know that it would be one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read.
You know those books that just stick with you, long after you’ve finished reading them and moved on to other books? The Midnight Library has done that for me. It instantly became one of my favorite books of 2020, but it went deeper than that. This book really rearranged my perspective and made me appreciate my life.
I realized after reading this book that the author, Matt Haig, is quite well known for some of his other books, including Reasons to Stay Alive and the incredibly quotable How to Stop Time. Let me state right now that I have every intention of gobbling up the rest of his books as soon as I possibly can.
Let me tell you why The Midnight Library was so devastatingly life-changing.
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Why You Should Read The Midnight Library
Below you can find my full and honest review. *TW for my own review: suicide/depression
“The only way to learn is to live”The Midnight Library
“Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better? Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.” (Goodreads Synopsis)
In high school, during what I believed to be the height of my depression, I read It’s Kind of a Funny Story. I had never felt so seen. It made what I was going through feel less bizarre and more normalized and it also gave me hope for what was to come. Little did I know that depression would follow me into adulthood and suicide would be something I wouldn’t just contemplate but I would also attempt more than once.
I’m entering my late twenties now, happily married, approaching six years of self-employment for a dream career. I could continue to list all the good in my life, but what I’m working towards saying is that I still struggle with depression. It hangs like a cloud above me and sometimes the littlest things feel like the worst things. I promise… this is leading up to something great!
I sobbed my way through The Midnight Library because it was like I was seen all over again, but from a new perspective. I had seen a few negative reviews of this book prior to actually getting it for myself, but after reading it, I realized that the negative reviewers must have never experienced a lick of depression in their life, because this book hit all of it right on the nose. It depicted the hopeless feelings and general lack of caring that many depressed individuals experience. However, it also did a phenomenal job walking the reader through just why it’s so important to continue actively working to live! My gosh, the redemption alone made me grateful that I read this book. I’ve never been so thankful for the way a book highlighted WHY and HOW living is the best choice.
I caution those who are depressed/experience suicidal thoughts before reading this. I only do so because it can be triggering, especially if you’re currently in a low state. Simultaneously, I also want to shove it in the face of every person who is depressed or having suicidal thoughts because my GOSH it made me cherish my life all over again and I think it can do the same for so many others.
This isn’t a self-help book, but it will help. It will help those who have walked under this dark cloud and it will help those who need to know how to walk through it with others.
This sounds like an amazing read, I’m yet to read one of Matt Haig’s books but I’m sure I will soon! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
It was absolutely phenomenal. Definitely tricky for me to read at times due to the triggering aspects of it. Simultaneously, it was SO HELPFUL because it gave me a new perspective that really made a difference in my life. I’m truly grateful for it.
Lovely review. I’m definitely adding this to my reading list.
I’m hoping that you not only add it to your reading list but that you actually read it (it can be so easy to add and then forget about a book). It’s incredibly impactful and I think you will love it.
Aww! This honestly gave me chills! You are not alone at all and I’m so happy that this book ended up being so much more than just that. You are amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I’ve totally been there and I know that this is going to help a lot of people <3
I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be such an emotional read. I kinda got it because the title sounded fun to me. Little did I know that it would impact me in the way that it did. It was certainly triggering at times, but in the long run, I’m so grateful that I read it because it has now become one of my all-time favorites. I think I could continue to learn something new from it with each read.
I have read a few reviews on this book but I have to say yours resonated with me the most and now I am convinced I have to read this book. I will have to snag a copy and read it as soon as possible.
That honestly means so much to me. I’m glad that sharing my own personal story (however “nutshell” that version was) made an impact on you in this way. I look forward to hearing your thoughts once you’ve read the book!
I’m not sure if you know, but I have PTSD and went through EMDR therapy to combat my trauma and to heal my chronic anxiety and depression. The only weird thing is that I now have difficulty relating to books like this (because the memory no longer feels like my own). But everyone is so touched by this book and I know I’ll find that, too. So it stays on my wishlist!!
I definitely wasn’t aware of that and I need to just tell you that I admire you so much. Going through any kind of traumatic recovery process is daunting and extensive, so knowing that you’ve come out swinging is incredible to me. I can imagine that experiencing that disconnect is a little strange, but I know that you will still understand and be touched by the importance of the message in this book. I look forward to hearing what you think when you do read it!
I’ve heard really great things about this book and would love to read it!
For good reason. This book is excellent and if you’ve experienced any sort of mental health struggle in your life, I’m sure it will be all the more impactful. I know that was the case for myself.
Thank you for sharing such a detailed review. It is great that you have warned people that it could be triggering before they buy it. I have seen matt haig being mentioned before. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
It was really important to me to include the trigger/content warning because none of the other reviews I’ve read in the past have included that and I know it was triggering to me, but it could affect others at a higher intensity. Matt Haig is an excellent author. I’m looking forward to reading his other books!
I’ve heard so many good things about The Midnight Library. You’ve written such a great review. I feel like I really need to read this book myself.
I’m so glad you enjoyed reading the review. I hope it has prompted you to read it. It’s an incredible book and I think you’ll really like it!
I love it when an author can express themselves and allow their readers to connect like that. I’m sure they never will realize the impact they will have and the freedom they will give their readers. Such a great thing to consider with everything we write!
I knew very little about the author prior to reading the book and after finishing it, I went and did some research. He’s an amazing person with quite a life story. I’m really grateful for his vulnerability and the way he uses his own experiences to weave such beautiful tales. This book was certainly impactful!
This book sounds so therapeutic. I may just have to pick up a copy for myself.
Therapeutic is a good description. I think it could be for those who want to find beauty in life after struggling to see it for some time. It certainly opened my own eyes. I’m really grateful for the impact it had on me, personally.
Wonderful review! It sounds so good, and your review makes me want to read it!
I’m glad to hear that! I always hope that my reviews inspire others to read the books I’m sharing.
This is such a great book review. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about it.
Thank you for the encouragement! I hope you get a chance to read it 🙂
I recently saw someone else recommend this book on IG. Sounds so deep! I have never experienced depression, but know so many people who have. I’m so glad this book made you feel seen and you found it so helpful too.
You’re one of the lucky ones, friend! It’s a terrible thing to walk through, but reading books like this make me feel less alone, and they also inspire me to create a better future for myself with a brighter outlook. I’m grateful for the way they affect me!
Thank you so much for sharing this! Nice to have found a book without any expectations and then to be life changing. That’s amazing! I’ll have to look into this book
It’s a really special experience to go into reading a book without knowing much and then having it blow you away. That’s definitely what happened here. I’m grateful for the fact that I did read it and for the way it changed my life!
I’ve never read the book or heard of the author. But definitely going to add this to my reading list now!
I hope so! It was one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read. I know it’ll make a world of difference for others as well.
I just want to start off by saying that I am SO thankful you’re still here with us, Stephanie! You are such a kind, wonderful person and I cherish our friendship, even if it is only online and through our blogs. You’re a strong, intelligent woman and I’m thankful to know you! I love reading your book reviews, because I can tell how strong your passion for literature is, and that you love what you do. Plus, they always make me interested in books I either wouldn’t have thought I’d like, or didn’t know of until I read your reviews.
This book sounds like yet another book you’ve read I need to add to my reading list!
I can’t even begin to express how much I appreciate this genuine, heartfelt comment, Annie. Thank you so much for the kindness you’ve shown me. I’m thankful that I’m still here as well (and if you had told me I’d feel this way even 7 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you). I’m thankful for books like these that continue to give me a fresh perspective and change the way I think about life. It’s incredible how books can mean so much, isn’t it? Literature makes such an impact! Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. I’m sending you a GIANT virtual hug right now!
Thanks for sharing, this definitely sounds like a book I should pick up. Dealing with depression often feels like an unending battle, but there is some comfort in knowing so many others share the same struggles and still manage to build amazing lives for themselves.
It absolutely does feel that way. It’s like trudging through mud that never goes away. And that’s a light description, as I’m sure you’re aware. I’m grateful for authors who put things into perspective and give me new reasons to love life.
this looks like a great book that I need to add to my list! I definitely get a bit down emotionally as well during this time of year and think this book would really help me as well.
cute & little
I guess it would also provide a new perspective for those who experience seasonal depression, but I will say that it’s far more in-depth and focuses a bit more on heavier trauma and suicide. If that’s something that doesn’t affect you negatively while reading, I highly suggest it.
I found this review after doing a search to see if anyone has explored why some people love this book and find it inspiring, while others absolutely hate it and call it trite garbage. I’m one of the ones who loves it, and I think you are correct in your assessment that “negative reviewers must have never experienced a lick of depression in their life,” That’s the conclusion I’ve been coming to. I made the mistake of recommending it for a book club meeting and I was the only one who appreciated it. Everyone else trashed it and that left me feeling a little despondent. Now I know that the book is definitely not for everybody, just those that need the message in it. Thanks for your review.