I usually start off my reviews with a little bit of an introduction as to how I came across an author or how much I love their writing or some little anecdote about something related to the book and/or author. But today, I have been rendered speechless, because as much as I want to shout about how much I have loved Matt Haig’s writing and about how much I feel justified today, it just wouldn’t be enough.
See, the thing is, 2020 has been bad but the past few days especially have been complete garbage. Horrible. To the point where I seriously considered giving up the things I have been working on for the past 2.5 years. Call it lack of motivation or just not a good state of mind – it was clouded and fuzzy. I did feel like I was emerging from it, though, how much ever bit by bit that might have been.
And then I read The Midnight Library.
I finished it just moments before I started writing this review. I typed furiously because I was so full of emotions, thoughts, gratitude, and hope that I didn’t want it all to spill over and let it seep back into the ground. I wanted to keep them for myself. And now that I have, I feel them move around within me in a way that makes me grateful for Matt Haig’s writing.
And listen carefully.
One of the most important things you’ll ever do is read The Midnight Library. So if you want to do one important thing this year, let it be reading this book. Please.
I’m trembling as I write this, trying not to burst into tears because there’s so much that I am feeling as I think about everything that Matt Haig has written in this book. Everything that this book denotes. Every hope that he is sending out to every one of his readers, irrespective of whether or not they are going through something. And when people like me, who take the words, caress them, and store them within ourselves for the rest of eternity, read these words, it’s like a balm from within. A balm that we chose to give ourselves – that is Matt Haig’s writing for you.
The Midnight Library is about Nora Seed, whose life feels a burden. She is depressed because of the 1001 things that she feels are going wrong and she decides to end her life. Little does she know that between life and death stands a library – The Midnight Library – where she can riffle through the different, infinite lives that she could have lived and choose to see how it panned out. What does Nora discover here about life and how she finds out the truth about choices and regrets forms the whole story.
I can’t tell you more than this because the story of The Midnight Library is as simple as it is complex. It’s so relatable in so many places that it physically hurts to go through them. But you know you have to go through the pages because you know that what lies ahead will eventually soothe your nerves, calm your anger, and give you hope. Which is exactly what happened to me.
But in addition to the happy high that it left me on, it also opened things up within me that I didn’t think it could. It made me reevaluate my thinking, look back upon the past and think about why things were the way they were, and look forward to a future that is so sunny, it blinds me just sitting here writing it. I don’t know if these are going to come true because there are infinite possibilities that are bound to happen in the future. But I’d like to believe that something of Matt Haig’s writing has affected me in a positive way and that I’d like to take a leaf out of the infinite books in The Midnight Library and just stay alive.
Matt Haig just gets it. He knows things and he writes them in simple, frank words that will whack you around the head like none else has and no one else probably will.
I read Reasons to Stay Alive in January and was blown away with joy (at the writing and the fact that I discovered him) and with sorrow (that he had to go through what he did). I am rather proud of the fact that he never lets depression define him while accepting that it is a part of him. It’s something that everyone must aspire to and Matt is someone they could learn from.
Plus, I buddy read Notes on a Nervous Planet last month with a friend and both of us just went on gushing about the author and how relatable his writing was and how he just gets it. (Sorry for the repetition but it’s true.) He gives us solutions for living on this nervous planet and I know that that’s a book that I will use as a guide and try to live life according to it.
He then brought these two concepts together in a fantabulous work of fiction (I say ‘then’ because it’s my third book by him and not anything else) that is still making me feel all fuzzy and warm and empty and full and loved and cherished and heartbroken and hopeful and grateful at the same time. It’s a lot to feel, but it’s nothing when compared to the number of lives that Nora Seed lived in the 288 pages that this book spanned. It’s nothing compared to the lessons that I learned as Nora experienced them. It’s nothing compared to the gratitude I feel towards the author for writing this book. I cannot even begin to express how much this book means to me!
So please, please, please. Everyone! Read this book! It will affect you in ways that I cannot explain any clearer, but when you do read it, you will know exactly what I mean.
I’m so overwhelmed by this book, I really feel it’s about to send me crying to sleep. And I say that as if I haven’t spent the last hour or more sniffling through this review and Twitter and on a WhatsApp chat to a friend and everywhere, gushing about how amazing this book is.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Picture Courtesy: Amazon India