As we stop and recognise World Mental Health Month, it brings up the uncomfortable and heartbreaking reality of suicide. Yet, for many people, thoughts about death are an everyday occurrence. In The Midnight Library, Matt Haigh expertly depicts the mental state of someone who attempts suicide while also giving them deep inspiration and insight to keep living.
Written from the perspective of 35-year-old Nora, this casually employed and single music teacher is having a bad week, to put it mildly. In the space of 24 hours, she loses multiple jobs, experiences fractured relationships, and her cat dies. Wanting the pain to end, Norah attempts to take her own life – yet poetically and with a sense of sacredness, Haigh introduces us to the Midnight Library – the fictional place between life and death, where Nora is given the opportunity to live any life she wants. And believing that any life must be better than this, or that she can therefore choose death, she gives it a try.
Amidst rows and rows of books detailing different timelines of her life, Nora begins to experience her ‘what ifs’. She starts small – what if her cat hadn’t died that morning? And then goes bigger. After living hundreds of lives as an Olympic champion, a rockstar, a wine connoisseur, and a mother, she realises she wants to live. But can she find the courage to choose life again, with all its unknowns?
Witty, relatable and honest, The Midnight Library is a beautiful depiction of inner turmoil and the journey to hope. Without detailing suicide or making it sexy (it’s not), Haig’s own experience as a suicide survivor shines through as he compassionately reminds each of us that we are never alone.
The Midnight Library is available at all good bookstores.
If you are in crisis, Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention phone counselling and online chat. 13 11 14 lifeline.org.au
Do you feel like your life is going nowhere? Would you like to find hope and explore ways to live with happiness and purpose? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online.