“The Book of Two Ways,” by Jodi Picoult (Ballantine)
Jodi Picoult’s “The Book of Two Ways” follows Dawn Edelstein, a death doula with a physicist husband and a teenage daughter. Dawn’s job is to help terminally ill patients and their loved ones transition from life to death.
But before she was a death doula, she was a graduate student living in Egypt, studying archeology and in love with a fellow graduate student named Wyatt.
When Dawn is in a plane crash, she finds not the life she currently lives flashing before her eyes, but rather the life she once had with Wyatt 15 years earlier.
After miraculously surviving the crash, Dawn must consider whether to return home to her family or travel to Egypt, find Wyatt, and discover the life that could have been — and maybe could still be.
What unfolds are two side-by-side stories of where each of Dawn’s choices lead her.
“The Book of Two Ways” is a thrilling adventure, but the many timelines woven through the novel can also be a bit difficult to follow. With Picoult’s stories, there is always something new to learn, and “The Book of Two Ways” is no exception. The characters’ interests in ancient Egypt, quantum physics, death, and more bring a certain dynamism to the story, but at times, can also get a bit dense.
Nevertheless, Picoult has certainly crafted a fun and interesting read, one that will lead readers to both learn a lot and also ask themselves key questions about how to create happy lives for themselves during the short time we have on earth.