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The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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By Matt Haig

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50 reviews

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Between life and death there is a library.

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.
The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?


19 Mar 2024

While I enjoyed reading it, I felt it was a variation on a theme. Nora's journey to being satisfied in life through the library's experiences reminded me of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz who, having dreamed her way through the Emerald City, realises that there's no place like home. For Glinda read Mrs Elm. It's also similar to the premise of the 1938 play, Heaven Can Wait (filmed twice) where a dead boxer inhabits the bodies of other people before finding his final destination.
For me, this falls into the category of other one off best sellers like The Tattooist of Auschwitz, A Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine and The 100 Year Old Man Who Fell Out of a Window.
It's a piece of homespun philosophy, nicely written but not outstanding.

14 Sep 2023

I loved this book, it’s completely different to anything I have ever read before and now I feel I have a much better understanding of the multiverse and a refreshed appreciation for life. Difficult to put down, highly recommend.

02 Aug 2023


We had some very deep discussions on ‘The Midnight Library’ and what perhaps we would have done differently if we could go back in time; if we had the chance over would we really take the alternative path? It’s easy to say we would but when push comes to shove the question is would we?

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” (Thoreau)

Although a story about someone whose life is apparently full of misery and regret to date the author manages to keep us hooked, rooting for the protagonist to find her perfect life with the help of the Midnight Library in which she is stuck and simultaneously gets us to reflect on our own lives and appreciate everything we have.

The Midnight Library is an uplifting book full of hope and endless possibilities. If you haven’t yet read it we recommend you do take some time to read it; it could really make a huge difference on how you approach life and indeed how you reflect on your past and see your present...

12 Jul 2023

Not up to the hype - I thought it was too predictable for my liking. I also felt it underplayed mental health - I found that it had an odd perspective on it!

26 Jun 2023

"The Midnight Library" by Matt Haig is an interesting read that delves into themes of regret, choices, and the pursuit of happiness. I found the concept of a library where the protagonist, Nora, can explore different lives and possibilities to be quite captivating. Haig's writing style is accessible and straightforward, making it an easy and relatively quick book to get through. While the novel raises thought-provoking questions about the purpose of life and the importance of living in the present, some parts felt a bit slow, and the overall plot may not surprise readers. However, if you're looking for a reflective story with a touch of magical realism, "The Midnight Library" can provide an enjoyable and contemplative reading experience.

14 Apr 2023


I’ll be honest, when I first picked this book up I struggled to get into it. I found it slow. However, I persevered and found myself completely hooked! When you look at the deeper meaning of the story it changes the way you look at your own live. The way Haig touches on regrets, mental health and comparing what we have to what we sometimes think we missed out on really opened my eyes to how I should view life.

14 Apr 2023

I really enjoyed this book as it explored the thought-provoking concept of trying out a range lives to see how decisions and choices you made have different outcomes.

04 Sep 2022

A thought provoking book about the different paths your life could have taken.

24 Aug 2022

This took some getting into but once you’re through the first few chapters it hooks you in. Nora has the chance to try out other lives she could have lived if she had made different decisions! I really liked the concept- very clever.

16 Aug 2022

I love this concept - beautifully written making me dream of alternative lives!

15 Aug 2022

My friend gave me this as a gift, and I really enjoyed it! I read a lot of hype around Haig's work. It was very good. I am going to re-read and come back to add more details because it was one of those books.

14 Aug 2022

This has been on my list of books to read for so long and I’m really glad I’ve finally got around to reading it. A great read! I loved the whole idea of the library being the main characters world in between life and death and really like how the book ended. It was a real feel good ending with a good message hidden in there about self belief!

01 Aug 2022

A great read, in depth look at mental health. A stark reminder of having regrets and the damage they can do.

28 Jul 2022

Found it difficult to start with but persevered and I'm pleased I did.
Makes you appreciate what you've got and not go searching for something better.

25 Jul 2022

This book was exactly what i imagined to read and more. One of those books that gets you really excited about reading books. I like that the concept is very unusual, it has elements of time travel and that element of fantasy different lives in the world, but also this very comforting sense of including the mundane yet beautiful everyday life. similar to Sally Rooney's writing in the last sense, not the fantasy concept of it though. I like that the book gives undertones of serious messages to think about like mental health and the important of decision making in our lives like the domino/butterfly effect that is oh so spoken about within psychology. i would definitely recommend/have done already.

23 Jul 2022

Really enjoyed this book. A path not taken, a life full of regrets.
Not for primary but definitely for adults

05 May 2022

Donna May

St Just Monday Morning Reading Group 28th March 2022.

The Midnight Library. Matt Haig.

This was a book which gave rise to a variety of different opinions amongst the group. Some found it a good book, memorable, easy to read, well written in an inventive format, and thought the concept convincing and intriguing. One reader expressed how the book showed that living with regrets is destructive and it’s better to live by making available choices, and to realise that ‘life is not always greener on the other side’. ‘Clever and informative for sign-posting ideas to help with mental health’, was another comment. Some readers liked the main characters, Nora Seed and Mrs Elms, the librarian, though the latter was thought a little caricatured. Nora’s experiences were fascinating to some. However, those who enjoyed it did find the ending somewhat disappointing, comparing it with the ending of a morality tale telling us to be content with our lot. ‘Ran out of emotional steam’, was another remark. Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life was mentioned as dealing with alternative lives in a different way, and ‘without the moral message’.

Some other readers did not enjoy it very much at all. ‘An intriguing idea, but poor Nora didn't need quite so many quick lives to go through. I got the message half way through. A read for a teenager perhaps.’ Hard to read, tedious, silly and pretentious, were further comments; and the book was criticised in that the subject matter, suicide, ‘deserved more than juvenile platitudes about living your own life’. There were several suggestions that this is really a Young Adult title.

An interesting book for discussion; not everyone’s favourite, and some serious issues arising out of the book’s content.

This book was read during March 2022 and the continuing restrictions due to the Covid-19 virus, and so the discussion was not 'live' as usual, but took place via a Facebook group, email and telephone conversations.

28 Feb 2022

Brilliant book. Could not put it down. I became very invested in Nora and her plight. I was willing her to find her happy ending and appreciate life. Very easy reading due to the short chapters. Read it on planes, trains and at home.

03 Dec 2021


I’m a big fan of Matt Haig - he’s a positive ambassador for mental health, but I struggled to like this book. Having read some of his non-fiction, which I found to be excellent, I find it more difficult to feel the same about his fiction. I was excited to read it because of the hype and glowing reviews I’d read, so I felt disappointed that the book didn’t do it for me. The middle section where Nora travels in and out of the alternate lives became long and drawn out. There was a lot in the story that reminded me of other books and films - the Christmas classic film It’s a Wonderful Life being one example. There was something about it that felt it could have been written for young adults. So for me it was not great, just ok and the message he is trying to convey is that the grass isn’t always greener and no life will ever be perfect, to experience happiness you also need to experience sad times too.

21 Sep 2021

There had been so much hype about this book I felt I should read it. It was enjoyable but I wouldn't rave about it. I guess the ultimate advice was to live life to the full and be happy with what you have and you are the only one who can make things better. It was worth a read.

19 Sep 2021

Absolutely fantastic, definitely one to read and discuss with older students

06 Sep 2021

I absolutely loved this book. It was a super story that’s drew me in and kept me hooked. I stayed up late most nights on my holiday just to keep reading. A great read!

04 Sep 2021

I had to read this being a librarian! I loved it the story, the concept and the meaning. It was a fantastically interesting read.

03 Sep 2021

Everyone raved about this book, but I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t rely connect with the main character Nora.

02 Sep 2021

Superb! There are so many positives you can take from this book to help you look at your life in a more optimistic way, although it did bring me to tears at one point. Having said that I am so pleased that I found and finally read this book when I did after having it kicking around for a few months. It came at just the right time.

31 Aug 2021

It made me think about all the missed opportunities in life and how you mustn’t live a life of regret.

27 Aug 2021

Without a doubt, this is one of the best books EVER written!!!!!!

21 Aug 2021

This book was recommended for me to read by my book club. I was expecting so much more from this book. But as cleaver this book is it didn’t excite me.

Matt Haig is amazing and making the reader rethink about what you think you know. This book explores the ‘what ifs’ of life. What could have happened if you chose a different path. It’s a great book but currently not for me

19 Aug 2021

It was an interesting premise for a book and I found that I was thinking about the story a lot, but not in a good way! I felt that it treated a serious subject (suicide) in a very trite way and I was left feeling that I had just been preached at/lectured about the important things in life. Although I could accept the idea of parallel universes I found it unbelievable that Nora could be a world-class performer in so many different fields and the book actually left me feeling angry at the ease with which everything was resolved at the end.

18 Aug 2021

This is definitely a book for adults or young adult readers, don't be mistaken that Matt Haig only writes for children. I enjoyed this but I had to read about a quarter before I felt I was going to be my kind of book. A very interesting philosophical storyline about how the choices we make affect our lives and those around us. Deals with issues of suicide, drug use and contains a fair bit of swearing. It will strike resonance for all who read it as we all live with regrets and a longing for things to be different, but the strong message by the end will have you celebrating those regrets and living this life one step at a time.

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