In the movie, ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,’ Ben Stiller’s character is stuck in a mundane existence and often day-dreams to break the monotony and enter a life that could have been. It’s an unconventional favorite but it is the kind of movie that leaves you warm and fuzzy, just like Matt Haig’s book, The Midnight Library.
Overwhelmed with the grief of losing her cat and her job on the same day, Nora Seed decides to take her life. And that’s when she enters the Midnight Library, a space between life and death filled with shelves stacked with green-colored books, each representing a different version of Nora. Each representing a life unlived, a desire unfulfilled, and a dream unachieved.
As Nora goes about exploring these books, she realizes – rather predictably – that a life spent fulfilling a dream wasn’t necessarily a better one. That each life came with its own imperfections and disappointments. She learns how easy it is to regret what could have been and what isn’t, and to keep doing this till we die. And the bitter truth that the life she had was the best one she could live.
Moving and tender, The Midnight Library lies at the intersection of philosophy, physics, and pop-culture. There’s a weird kind of beauty to its cliched story that’ll warm your heart. There’s joy and wisdom to be found in its imperfect language and style. There’s comfort in its predictability. Nora is an Irish-origin name that means light, and the color of each book in the library is green – which stands for life and abundance. Subtle. Warm.
PS: It has a rating of 4.23 and happens to be the winner of the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards in the fiction category!