What is the best version of your life? The Midnight Library by Matt Haig [Review]

Goodreads Blurb

Nora feels swamped by all the bad choices she has made in life and attempts to take her own life. Then, when given the chance to see all the ways her life could have been different, she must finally work out the answer to the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

My thoughts

Wow! Where to start?!

Nora herself is unremarkable but it is her journey of self discovery that makes you put yourself in her shoes and feel a kinship with her. The story itself is simple enough and gives you vibes of a different version of a Groundhog Day. But beneath that layer of a somewhat ordinary character and a simple story of regret, there is so much more…

“The only way to learn is to live.”

The book deals with regrets and the lives Nora would’ve lived had she made different choices. While contemplating those regrets she tries to decide where her life went wrong and what kind of life would’ve best suited her.

This is perhaps something we can all identify with. At some point in our lives we either regret our decisions and wonder…”what if?” When a book can address universal themes like this in a human, compassionate way without being too heavy handed, it is something to be cherished and enjoyed. The use of quotes from philosophers and metaphors pertaining to life and such can be tricky; you can always make up a metaphor in any situation; that doesn’t make it true or applicable. In this book you can either feel identified by them and they can speak to a hidden truth in yourself or you think they are utter BS. I myself felt identified.

“It was interesting, she mused to herself, how life sometimes simply gave you a whole new perspective by waiting around long enough for you to see it.”

The book also makes you reflect on the small ways our own lives affect others both positively and negatively. People tend to cocoon themselves in their own thoughts and worries without looking around to see the people around them and how their choices affect others as well.

After reading this, I’m left wondering if the author read any books on psychology; most probably philosophy as the book makes references to philosophers like Henry David Thoreau. A philosophical debate could be sparked by the themes, quotes and references made in this book as it asks questions and comments on the very nature of life, our purpose and our perspective on it. When a book can do this in a way that is not too heavy handed then that in itself is an accomplishment.

For it’s humor, soul and light introspection and just because I simply enjoyed it, I gave this book a 5 out 5.

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