By Sophia Hadef
I was wandering in the streets of Galway when it started raining. I decided to go to my favourite bookshop ever: Charlie Byrnes. I was not looking for a specific book when a beautiful dark blue shade attracted my eyes. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig was like a magnet.
Its title, its cover – it has everything to please a bookworm like me. And when I read the quote in the back of the book. I knew. I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. “Between life and death, there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
The story is about Nora, a woman who is going through a terrible period in her life. She feels that everything is always going wrong, that she never made the right choice. She is consumed with regrets and decides to end her life. This is how Nora ends up in the Midnight Library – an in between life and death. There, she read the Book of Regrets and feels invaded with all the sad emotions she had experienced over her life.
Nora had the choice to try many lives, each life stored within its own book, the lives she could have lived if she had made different decisions. Lives she could have lived if she had made different decisions.
I loved following Nora in all these normal and extraordinary lives. It was fascinating and so rejuvenating. This book talks a lot about mental health and all these feelings that obstruct our minds with darkness. In these times more than ever, I recommend this beautiful story as it changed my point of view on life, on things. Being a quite pessimistic person in general, I struggle to see the good in everything; this precious book is such a great motivation to believe in this life, this world. It had an impact on me. Matt Haig is a talented writer and I already bought another novel from him. The Guardian has described his writing as “delightfully weird” and the New York Times has called him “a novelist of great talent” whose writing is “funny, riveting and heart – breaking”.
Below is a section of the novel.
“Nora had always had a problem accepting herself. From as far back as she could remember, she’d had the sense that she wasn’t enough. Her parents, who both had their own insecurities, had encouraged that idea. She imagined, now, what it would be like to accept herself completely. Every mistake she had ever made. Every mark on her body. Every dream she hadn’t reached or pain she had left. Every lust or longing she had suppressed. She imagined accepting it all. The way she accepted nature. The way she accepted a glacier or a puffin or the breach of a whale. She imagined seeing herself as just another brilliant freak of nature. Just another sentient animal, trying their best. And in doing so, she imagined what it was like to be free.”
This story is a light in the tunnel if you suffer from anxiety or depression. Always remember that you are not alone, and if you need to talk, there are people willing to listen. Call Pieta at 1800 247 247 or Text “Help” to 51444, Samaritans Ireland at 116 123 and Women’s Aid Ireland at 1800 341 900. Live fully, sense the things around you, close your eyes, breathe, and believe in yourself, you are unique.