Book Review – to help with anxiety

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Book of Regrets

We all have regrets in life, some of the regrets are small, some feel much bigger.   Choices we could have made and didn’t.  Would our life have been so much happier/more fulfilled if we had followed certain opportunities? Some of these regrets weigh heavily on our mind because we feel our choices have let friends or family down.

The Plot

Nora Seed gets to try out these different ‘lives’ in a beautifully crafted book by Matt Haig called “The Midnight Library”.  As Nora hovers between life and death she gets to visit the “Midnight Library” and reads her “Book of Regrets.”  With each regret, Nora tries out a life following up on opportunity missed or changing a decision which impacted on her family and friends.  Could these new lives right the wrongs she believed she made in her current existence and thus make her happier?

A Fable for Modern Times

I was fascinated by this book, in fact the whole premise that a different decision or following up on an opportunity may have set our lives on a completely different course.   Author Jodi Picoult called the book “A beautiful fable, an It’s a Wonderful Life for the modern age – impossibly timely.” I completely agree.

I don’t want to give any of the storyline away, but there are certainly some thought provoking ideas.  In Nora’s own words “I mean, it would have made things a lot easier if we understood there was no way of living that can immunise you against sadness.  And that sadness is intrinsically part of the fabric of happiness.  You can’t have one without the other.  Of course, they come in different degrees and quantities”.

Despite the start of the novel, that brings Nora to the ‘Midnight Library’ the story is not depressing, far from it, it is insightful and uplifting.  Nora learns some valuable lessons about herself, her family and how simple acts of kindness can have a huge impact on the lives of others.

I think we may have all had opportunities missed but by taking those alternative paths we may have also missed the good things in our lives right now.  The book is an advocate for living in the “Now”.

When you realise nothing is lacking the whole world belongs to you.

Lao Tzu (c694 – c532 BCE)

About the Author. Matt can speak with authenticity because he suffered a mental breakdown at the age of 24 and still suffers from anxiety from time to time.