Book review: Matt Haig's The Midnight Library is a heavy read which really resonated

Matt Haig’s charming and complex novel around mental health is likely to be a sell out this year.

Sunday, 18th April 2021, 8:20 am

Let me start off by saying that The Midnight Library is not a book to read if you have been feeling under the weather lately.

And with 2021 bringing an onslaught of challenges, I imagine that statement applies to almost everybody.

I loved this book.

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The Midnight Library.

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It was complex and intelligent around the topic of mental illness.

However, I do think the author should have put a trigger warning for suicide in the front of the book, just so people can be prepared for what they’re walking into.

I knew the premise of the book before I dived in, but the narrative of Nora, someone who actively wants to end her life, was a bit of struggle at the beginning.

So bear that in mind if you’re picking this up thinking it will be a light-hearted experience.

It’s not.

In fact, it’s quite likely to cause you to enter an existential crisis about all the regrets that you have in your own life.

The main character gets to live in many different versions of her life during this novel, which undoubtedly forces the reader to think about where they would go if they could visit this enchanting fictional world.

Prompting questions such as ‘would I erase that ex if I could’ and ‘could I travel the world if I did things differently’.

Haig writes intensely relatable characters going through real human experiences, but with a fantastical backdrop of a magic library.

What book nerd wouldn’t be enticed by that concept.

I have to say at the end of the book I was quite sad that The Midnight Library does not exist in reality and that we don’t all get an infinite number of chances to redo our lives.

This is a great read to curl up with and I would recommend it to anyone who has struggled with mental health issues, as I really did resonate with it on a deep level.

However, saying that, maybe just don’t buy it as a gift for your friend who had a rough time this year, because it might be just a tad bit heavy.

For more of my book thoughts follow me on Instagram here.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.