Saturday, May 1, 2021

Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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BOOK review
Started on: 18 April 2021
Finished on: 27 April 2021
 
 
Title: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 288 pages / 289 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication: 2020
Price: Rp 198,000 (https://www.periplus.com/)

Rating: 4/5
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"She wanted to have a purpose, something to give her a reason to exist. But she had nothing."
Somewhere beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains and infinite number of books, each one a story of another reality. One tells a story of a person's life as it is, along with other books for other lives that a person could have lived if a different choice is made at any point in life. Nora Seed finds herself faced with the decision to change her life for a new one; pursuing a different career, undoing old breakups, and realizing her dreams. She must search within herself as she experienced all these different lives to decide what is truly fulfilling in life and what makes life worth living in the first place.
"You have as many lives as you have possibilities. There are lives where you make different choices. And those choices lead to different outcomes. If you had done just one thing differently, you would have a different life story. And they all exist in the Midnight Library. They are all as real as this life."
'Between life and death there is a library,' she said. 'And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be different if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?'
I was immediately intrigued when I saw someone shared the concept of this book on social media. I've talked about the existence alternate universe with some friends in the past and I think this is the first time I'm reading something about that topic. The book starts with the question that I quoted above, 'Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?'. That question immediately got me thinking and reflect on my past—whether I have regrets that still lingers in my mind or not. Thankfully, right now I am living my life with no regrets, because my past have made me become the person that I am today. However, if the Midnight Library truly exists, I would certainly want to find out how my life is going to turn out if I took a different path in life. Even after I finished reading this book, I still think about the infinite possibilities of how my life could have turned out in an alternate universe 😆
"Everyone's lives could have ended up an infinite number of ways."
The story focuses on Nora Seed, who feels like her life is useless and thinks that nobody needs her. Even worse, she thinks that her nonexistence might be more beneficial to other people. That thought led her to try to kill herself one evening. However, instead of death, Nora finds herself in a library where she met Mrs. Elm, a librarian who showed Nora kindness when she was in school. Mrs. Elm explained that the library contains an infinite number of books and each volume represents a life where she made different choices. If Nora finds a life that she regards as 'the good life', she will be able to stay and live that life foreverbut a slight disappointment will lead her back to the Midnight Library. Nora started by trying to undo her past regrets. She became a famous musician, won Olympic medals, move to another country with her best friend, and even fulfilled her dream of becoming a glaciologist. Despite trying numerous lives that she thought she wants, she always ended up back at the Midnight Library.

Even though this book is quite repetitive for the most part—with trying new lives and going back to the Midnight Library, it is actually fascinating to see Nora experience all of these different lives and how she tried to adapt to the situation all of a sudden. Nora was put on the spot numerous times because she have no idea what she needs to do or say in that particular life, but somehow she always managed to survive despite other people's suspicion towards her. I absolutely love the message that this book is trying to deliver. The main purpose of Nora being in the Midnight Library is to shift her way of thinking and her unwillingness to live. Nora came to a lot of realizations through all the different lives that she went through. She realized that even when she became famous and influential, some parts of her ended up being worse than her root life. It was one of my favorite parts when Nora realized that most lives contain its own degree of good and bad, and also the fact that no particular life is perfect.
"Sometimes regrets aren't based on fact at all. Sometimes regret are just..." She searched for the appropriate term and found it. "A load of bullshit."
"And we spend so much time wishing our lives were different, comparing ourselves to other people and to other versions of ourselves, when really most lives contain degrees of good and degrees of bad."
Matt Haig delivers a wonderful message through this book—especially to those who might have a lot of regrets or those who feel like life is meaningless. Even though the ending was rather simple, I really liked how uplifting it is. The mood at the beginning of the story and at the end is completely different. And I certainly hope that those who might be going through a similar phase as Nora would find encouragement and comfort through this story. Because in the end, Nora realized that her root life actually has meaning and her life is full of potential. She will be able to achieve all kinds of things when she put herself to work. When we think about that, we will always have reason to not give up on life. ☺️
"It is easy to regret, and keep regretting, ad infinitum, until our time runs out. 
But it is not the lives we regret not living that are the real problem. It is the regret itself. It's the regret that makes us shrivel and wither and feel like our own and other people's worst enemy.
We can't tell if any of those other versions would have been better or worse. Those lives are happening, it is true, but you are happening as well, and that is the happening we have to focus on."

by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

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