You know how sometimes you meet a person who is absolutely sweet, nice, gentle and kind and you wish wonderful things for them, but you don’t want to really be friends with them because you’re too cynical and hard and don’t want to exchange your ash-and-anger-stained glasses for their rose ones because your lives are very different and you know it’s not going to work out?
‘The Midnight Library’ was that wonderful, sweet experience for me. I liked it the way you like seeing a something nice from a distance. Its beauty soothes the slightly burnt edges of your mind, but you don’t take it home with you because it doesn’t work in your life.
Nora Seed has been torn down by life and she decides to die by suicide. She ends up in a library that allows her to pluck those moments from her life in which she made a choice and abandoned an alternate path.
She gets the answers to her “what if?” moments. The end of the book is quite predictable – but this isn’t a mystery novel. It is meant to be a lesson about how you view your past and your decisions in context to the future.
I almost didn’t want to rate this book because it felt like a moral conundrum – do you not give 5/5 to a book just because you didn’t think it was mind-blowing when obviously it’s meant for bigger things? I don’t know. But I also thought I’m a tiny account with 65 followers, so my rating doesn’t really matter.
I can see why it won the Goodreads 2020 fiction prize – I can see thousands of people reading this book during their lockdown and gaining a measure of solace from its pages.
It’s a beautiful book of life and hope.