Given the synopsis of ‘The Midnight Library’ it was clear that this was going to be a heavy read. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that this sat on the bookshelf for a while before being picked up. Based from previous experience from reading ‘The Humans’, I was expecting this to be an amazing read. And lo and behold, it turned out to be exactly that.
Between life and death there is a library,’ she said. ‘And within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’
It was incredible to join Nora in her journey somewhere between life and death whilst experiencing the sheer amount of different emotions as they melded together. Nora’s story was definitely one of inspiration as she explored just a fraction of the other paths her life could have taken her had she made different choices along the way.
The whole concept of there being a place that is significant to each individual whereby they can see the various paths life could have taken them had they made different decisions was fascinating. All throughout, there was an undercurrent of philosophical references, which just added to the reflective tone of the story.
One aspect that was brilliant was how the book didn’t just solely focus on changing the significant decisions of Nora’s root life but rather also explored the consequences of changing smaller decisions that were considered to be insignificant and inconsequential. In a way, it was wonderful to see how these decisions not only impacted Nora but also others around her in unpredictable ways. Even the simplest decision was depicted to have unforeseen ramifications.
You don’t have to understand life, you just have to live it
In many respects, it was remarkable to realise the sheer amount of outcomes possible from a change in one single decision. It was intriguing to view about this from a simplified quantum mechanics angle; the whole analogy of everything happening simultaneously and different universes being like tracing paper, on top of each other was highly thought provoking. Being given an inkling of the vast possibilities of how life could have turned out was equal parts dizzying and awe – striking.
Reading about a handful of Nora’s infinite lives was amazing in itself and went on to show that despite popular belief, there is no such thing as a perfect life. The path that we think may have given us the most happiness isn’t in hindsight always what it seems.
It was nice that each time Nora picked a different life, instead of reading about it from the beginning of that life, we got to see her life from the present day as if she had been living it all along. It was also therefore interesting to see how well Nora was able to fit herself into these parallel lives of hers.
Nora’s characterisation was inspiring; she was clearly broken yet she was a survivor. The story highlighted the pure desperation she felt and had a continual dark undertone to it, but by contrast offered warmth, compassion and hope. The end ‘lesson’ was somewhat predictable, but the journey to get there was incredible.
In a nutshell, this was a heart warming and inspiring read. It was thought provoking and reflective of life especially in consideration of our own regrets. The encompassing message was beyond beautiful. An absolute must read.
Until next time fellow readers,
P.S. I found out my boyfriend is really a ghost. I had my suspicions the moment he walked through the door.