• Jessica Taylor Yates

Book Review: The Midnight Library

Reading, not by a pool? It must be good!

Image: StudioCanal.


"Between life and death there is a library, 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?" (The Midnight Library).

So, full disclosure. I had not read a book in some time. I grew up being a kid who absolutely loved reading (BSC, anyone?), but life got in the way - that, and scrolling my phone mindlessly at night instead of opening a good book. I kept telling myself that tomorrow I will read this or that, screen-shotting books I was interested in, but still, tv or my phone always seemed to take precedence. It's like I had associated it with a chore, like the gym or getting through the atrocity that is Sex/Life.


I'm so glad that phase is over.


This year, a few of my girlfriends set up a book club. I think what we all like is that there isn't a hell of a lot of pressure around it (eight weeks to read minimum) and we are friends who get together to talk about books we like (over wine cos obvs). So this time, we did:


I loved it.

What's it about?


The best way for me to give an elevator pitch about this whimsical book (cos it is so clearly gonna be a movie) is that it has very deep and philosophical themes explained in simplistic language. It focuses on a 30-something woman named Nora Seed, who was full of potential that she feels she never quite reached. She was such a promising swimmer she may have been an Olympian, was so smart she could have been a glaciologist, so musically talented she could have been a rock star, so in love she could be happily married, and instead she just...is.


Nora currently works in a music shop she has worked in since finishing school, lives in an apartment with a cat that has just died, is mourning the loss of her parents who passed and her brother no longer speaks to her. After being let go and continuously looking over a life of regret, missed opportunities, depressed and feeling her best days were never realised, she decides to end her life.


Except, it doesn't end. She winds up in The Midnight Library.


What is The Midnight Library?


This is a limbo, of sorts. The Midnight Library, set somewhere between life and death, is filled with 'regrets' manifested in books of the paths Nora could have taken in her life. If only she had continued swimming lessons, the green book will show how her life would have panned out. If only she went to Australia on a gap year with her best mate, the blue book will show how her life would have gone. In essence, she is given the opportunity to live out her former potential and her 'regrets' to see how her life would have worked out differently - and can choose to stay in one of these lives if she chooses.