Page 7 - Jupiter Spotlight - March '23
P. 7

Jupiter Spotlight, Page 7
       Book Review

       The Midnight Library                              to die, Nora Seed.…” A                            glass-blower and a thousand other things … There had, in
                                                         knock on her door provides                        short, been a lot of lives … Sometimes she was in a life for
       By Nils A. Shapiro                                for an already depressed                          less than a minute, while in others she was there for days
         Have you ever wondered                          Nora yet another blow: A                          or weeks … It seemed the more lives she lived, the harder
       what your life would be                           young man is sorry to tell                        it was to feel at home anywhere.”
       like now if you had made                          her that her cat, Voltaire,                         Importantly, what Nora – and we – learn is that the
       different decisions at various                    has been hit by a passing                         decisions we all make affect not only ourselves but others
       critical  moments  in your                        car and is lying on the street,                   in our lives as well, sometimes profoundly, and must be
       life? Taken a different job?                      dead. Nora writes a brief                         weighed in the consideration.
       Decided to take that vacation                     suicide note, swallows a                            There is, very near the end of the book, a one-and-a-half
       trip instead of canceling it?                     few antidepressant pills and                      page note ostensibly written by Nora, but which I assume
       Asked a different girl out on                     a bottle of wine, then passes                     to reflect the views of the author. Under the title, “A Thing
       a date? Married a different                       out.                                              I Have Learned (Written By a Nobody Who Has Been
       person?                                             Not expecting to awaken,                        Everybody),” it is a wise and thoughtful reflection about
         Each decision you make has the potential to change   when her eyes open Nora is                   life that for me is the most memorable passage in these
       everything about the rest of your life.           surprised to find herself outside a strange building. Inside   pages – one that deserves to be copied, printed and hung in
         What if you were offered the opportunity to see what   is a single giant room filled floor to ceiling with countless   every home as an uplifting reminder about the present lives
       your life would have been like if you had made different   aisles of books covered in shades of green, on metal racks   we have chosen for ourselves.
       decisions at those critical moments?              as far as she can see – all of the racks moving rapidly back     This one belongs in your library, any time of day or night.
         That is the intriguing premise of author Matt Haig’s   and forth, stopping, then moving again.
       newest bestselling book, the third of his novels that I     Suddenly, she sees one person, a woman she
       have thoroughly enjoyed and will have now reviewed in   recognizes: Mrs. Elm, the kind, gentle librarian she knew   Medicare
       this column. The earlier two were: The Humans, about an   from her high school, who explains to Nora that she is
       alien sent to our planet by his kind to assassinate a college   now in the Midnight Library, a place between life and
       professor who has made a major scientific discovery they   death … and that each of the many books on the shelves
       feel is too dangerous to be left in the hands of “inferior”   is the story of a life that would have been Nora’s if she
       Earthlings, and How to Stop Time, an equally captivating   had made a different decision from the one she did make   open enrollMent
       story about the life of a 400-year-old man, member of   at so many important points in her life – each taking her
       a small, secret global society of ageless humans who   down a different path toward a different journey. And now
       dare not let the rest of mankind know they exist. Their   Nora was being offered an opportunity to select a different
       one cardinal rule: Never fall in love! You can make no   life, rather than the one from which she has decided to   for 2023
       personal attachments.                             escape. If she finds one that fulfills her, she can stay and
         Instead, he must change identities and move often before   complete it; if not, she will return to the Midnight Library
       people realize that he ages so slowly as if not at all. In the   and try another. But at some point her time will run out.
       present, he is a college history teacher – the perfect role for     Mrs. Elm reaches for a particular volume from a shelf
       one who actually performed with Shakespeare and lived   near her, The Book of Regrets, as a possible reference for   cHecK For
       through the centuries of events he discusses with students.   Nora to consider.
       A wonderful book!                                   I will leave it for you to discover the life that Nora      eXcItInG
         The Midnight Library is another absorbing read, 288   believes will make her happy, among them:
       pages that I finished in three sittings.            • The life of a rich and famous rock star she became by
         Nora Seed is a 35-year-old woman who has given   staying with her brother’s band.
       up on life. She lives alone, except for her cat, Voltaire.     • The comfortable wife of the kind, gentle man whom   neW PLanS
       Volts, for short. Everything she had thought she wanted   she had always regretted turning down years ago when they
       never panned out. Among the top high school swimmers   were young and he asked her out for a cup of coffee, and         and
       in America and certain to make the Olympic team, she   now he is a successful surgeon and she the mother of their
       decided to give up the sport. A talented piano player,   adorable daughter.
       songwriter and member of her brother, Joe’s, band, the     Or, as the author puts it (with ellipses added here to take   aLL neW
       Labyrinths, she quit just as they were about to get their   the place of text left out for lack of space): “She had been
       big break. Inspired by her interest in the environment, she   a rock star, an Olympian, a music teacher, a primary school
       considered becoming a glaciologist, but gave up the idea.   teacher, a CEO, a PA, a chef, a glaciologist, a climatologist,   BeneFItS
       That’s the way her life has been, for reasons she chalks   an acrobat, a tree-planter, an audit manager, a hairdresser,
       up to problems in her relationship with her parents.  a professional dog walker, an office clerk, a software
         The book’s brief opening section begins, “Nineteen years   developer, a receptionist, a hotel cleaner, a politician, a   YoU are
       before she decided to die, Nora Seed….” Several pages   lawyer, a shoplifter, the head of an ocean protection charity,
                                                                                                                   entItLed to
       later we begin, “Twenty-seven hours before she decided   a shop worker (again), a waitress, a first-line supervisor, a


                                                                                                                      maY cHanGe PLanS
                                                                                                              JanUarY 1 tHrU marcH 31, 2023
                                                                                                                   caLL WItH QUeStIonS

              friday, march 31, 2023                                                                           Peter Gratzon

              5:30 p.m.                                                                                            toP IndePendent

              You can help local people in their                                                                    medIcare aGent
              journey out of homelessness by:
              1.  Attending this FREE, inspirational
                  and educational event.                                                                          c: 561-289-9396
              2. Making a donation to help us
                  meet our match!
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              to ending homelessness is essential.                       4751 Main Street, Jupiter, FL
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