Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton: A Book Review

good morning midnight

What happens to astronauts in space when the Earth goes dark?

Whenever a book is turned into a movie, I always try to read the book before I see the film. This book, Good Morning, Midnight, has been turned into a major motion picture directed by George Clooney. The name of the book was changed for the movie to The Midnight Sky. The story has the same characters as the book, but based on the trailer, the rest of the story is pretty different. This review is just about the book, as I have not yet seen the movie. I can assure you that the book is absolutely wonderful, regardless of what the movie has changed.

The story is told from two perspectives: A scientist that resides at a scientific observatory near the North Pole, and a group of astronauts returning to Earth from the first manned mission to Jupiter. In both cases, the characters are physically removed from mankind and unsure of what exactly is happening.

The man that lives near the North Pole is named Augustine. Augustine is a brilliant scientist spending the winter of his life at the North Pole. The title of the story, Good Morning, Midnight, refers to the scenes in the novel where the character eagerly awaits the sun rising and setting in just a few minutes after months of darkness, as happens at the Earth’s poles. Through flashbacks, we learn that some event caused a rescue mission to come to evacuate the rest of the crew at the observatory and nearby weather station. Augustine, being prepared to live the rest of his life on the island, is warned that there will be no return trip. He decides to stay anyway, and a few days after the rescue mission departs, discovers that he is not alone: a ten year old girl has stowed away and is living in the observatory with him.

Meanwhile, the crew of Aether has completed its work around Jupiter’s orbit, and has begun the long return trip home. The communication pod has gone silent, other than the information coming in from various observation technology they’ve left behind on Jupiter and her moons. The crew grows worried and irritable, as they have months to travel back to Earth, with no clue for what awaits them.

This story was beautifully written. The characters are flawed, and the pressures of the situation bring out both the best and the worst within them. As the story progresses, the reader will find themselves cursing some and cheering others on. Eventually, Augustine and the crew of Aether make contact. Like the rest of the story, this is satisfying and frustrating – leaving more unsaid than said.

When the book ended, I wanted so badly for it to keep going. I can not wait to see the movie and I certainly hope that Brooks-Dalton will tell us more of the story someday. I assume, however, that if the story keeps going, we lose some of its magic.

I rated this book five stars on Goodreads. I highly recommend fans of all genres read this lovely story.

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