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THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS
September 22, 2020
Dawn Edelstein is a death doula, which means she helps patients and their families transition through the process of dying. She’s good at her job, and she feels fulfilled by it. But even though she’s mostly content working, being a mother to her feisty thirteen-year old daughter, Meret, and being a wife to, Brian, her steady and stable physicist husband, on some level Dawn knows that this wasn’t the life she was meant for. Fifteen years ago she was a grad student at Yale, unearthing tombs in Egypt for her dissertation—and passionately in love with a fellow grad student, Wyatt Armstrong. It takes just one heartbreaking phone call to rip her from her studies (and her relationship with Wyatt) and catapult her into a different life back in Boston.
But sometimes it doesn’t take much to unearth the past. When Dawn catches Brian flirting with his much younger grad student, it propels her down a path of what ifs. What if she had finished her dissertation fifteen years ago? What if she and Wyatt had been given the chance to see where their relationship could go? Was this really the life Dawn was meant to live? These are all just questions circling in Dawn’s head—until one of her patients asks Dawn to deliver a message, a dying wish really, to a past lover. Dawn knows this message has the power to change the trajectory of a person’s life—for better or worse, Dawn has no idea. But now, it’s like the universe has revealed itself and Dawn can’t stop seeing the many paths and choices open to her and the people she loves, each leading in different directions and culminating in different outcomes. Which is the right one, and will Dawn have the courage to choose it?
Holy smokes, I loved this book. The first 15%, was like meh, too clunky and overbearing with all the Egyptology descriptions. But then something clicked, and the next day I read the remaining 350 pages in one sitting. Yes, you’re going to need to prepare yourself to read lots about Egyptian history and quantum mechanics. But it’s fascinating! I mean, we’re talking about the afterlife and multiple universes here, people. Buckle up, and enjoy the ride!
Mostly, I loved the story’s exploration of possibilities—of relationships, of death and life, of love, connection, personal fulfillment, and commitment. This is a book that makes you think. It makes you wonder what makes life worth living. It makes you consider your own choices and examine the moments (the ones you could control and the ones you couldn’t) that set you down one path and not another. No character in here is perfect, and even a happy ending isn’t really a happy ending. It’s complicated and beautiful and messy and heartbreaking. It’s joy. It’s living, and it’s life.
I can’t believe that this is my first book by Jodi Picoult, but you can bet I’ll be reading her back catalog immediately. The Book of Two Ways comes out in a week, and I’d highly recommend you grab yourself a copy.
Many thanks to Ballantine and Net Galley for the ARC!