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Book review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library is a modern-day fable that tells the story of a young woman’s journey towards the discovery that her life is worthwhile, and in fact, beautiful.

The woman is Nora Seed, who has just lost her dead-end job and whose cat has died. She suffers from depression, has no partner, no children and believes she has taken the wrong path in life.

Upon overdosing she does not die, but finds herself in a library of books containing lives that she could have lived.

From there the story is a little bit predictable, although enjoyable. She samples various different pathways – including her life as a rockstar, an Olympian and a country pub owner – but there is always something wrong or missing.

From here, you can probably guess what happens.

Haig is known as writing about mental health issues and in some ways this felt like a kind of lecture about appreciating the life you have. It is a message the feels a little old to me, but perhaps might be helpful to those struggling with where their life choices have led them.

While nothing new, it was a warm and ultimately feel-good exploration of regret, choice and destiny.

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