By Carrie Pinkard
Welcome to our sixth month of Literature In A Cup! We are SO glad you’re reading with us. Here’s what we have brewing this month:
On the bookshelf: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
On the kettle: Detox tea
The Midnight Library review:
Nora wants to end her life. She is estranged from her family, has no job, her romantic relationships have fallen apart, and she can’t imagine a day when she feels any better. So she takes too many pills and waits to see what happens. When she wakes up, she is neither alive nor dead, but in a mysterious, surreal library.
In this library, dubbed "The Midnight Library", the books are filled with alternate life paths instead of words. Each of the seemingly infinite number of books contains a life Nora could have lived if she had made a different choice. All of her regrets are right there, ready to be rewritten.
Over the course of the book we get to dive into these different lives with Nora. We find out what would have happened if she had stayed with her fiancé, if she had pursued her dream of being in a band, and if she had followed her passion for the arctic and became a glaciologist. Nora is able to spend minutes, hours, or days in these lives. The catch is, when she starts to feel disappointment, she must return to the Midnight Library.
Nora finds a lot to love in each of these lives, but also reasons for discontent. She starts to realize that any life choice you make will come with its own set of troubles. Money is often traded for time, fame is exchanged for privacy, success swapped out for moments with loved ones. The truth is, there’s no perfect timeline.
The Midnight Library paints a vivid picture of human longing. We are always chewing over our regrets like stale licorice. We wonder what would have happened if we had said “I love you” sooner, or if we had chosen a different degree or a different life partner. In this novel, you get to explore these regrets through the main character’s eyes.
The Midnight Library reminds us that the past isn’t malleable. Happiness isn’t found in regret and yearning for what could have been, but in celebrating and appreciating what is. We don’t all have the opportunity to visit the Midnight Library and pore over alternate possibilities, but we do all have the chance to value the life we are experiencing and to shape it into something worth living for.
This book is sweet, and fun, and ultimately joyful. It will make you sit with yourself and consider your own, “what-ifs.” Hopefully, by the end, it will make you toss those what-ifs out the window and instead start living for what is.
About the book and tea pairing:
Regrets can churn around in your gut and poison your happiness. You have to detox them from your system if you want to survive. This is the central message in The Midnight Library, and it’s why we paired this book with our Detox Tea.
Detox is a caffeine-free green rooibos tea with purifying ingredients like ginger, dandelion, and licorice root. Sip this tea while reading to kick start your digestion and purge yourself of any regrets you’ve been holding on to. 2021 is a new year, and this is the best time to start looking forward. Gazing longingly into your rearview mirror isn’t going to get you anywhere, and will probably just cause a car crash.
So pick up your copy of The Midnight Library, fire up the kettle, and let’s plunge into the world of possibility together.