Book Review – The Book of Two Ways

Title: The Book of Two Ways

Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Literary Fiction

Goodreads Rating: 3.70

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Source: ARC


Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband, but a man she last saw fifteen years ago: Wyatt Armstrong.

Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, her beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, where she helps ease the transition between life and death for patients in hospice.

But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a job she once studied for, but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made.

After the crash landing, the airline ensures the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation wherever they want to go. The obvious option for Dawn is to continue down the path she is on and go home to her family. The other is to return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways–the first known map of the afterlife.

As the story unfolds, Dawn’s two possible futures unspool side by side, as do the secrets and doubts long buried beside them. Dawn must confront the questions she’s never truly asked: What does a life well-lived look like? When we leave this earth, what do we leave behind? Do we make choices…or do our choices make us? And who would you be, if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are right now?

My Review:

If you are a regular follower of my blog you will know that I am a huge Jodi Picoult fan. I have all of her books in hardcover and have read every single one. When her latest release appeared on NetGalley and I was sent a link to download the ARC, I was very excited to read it. I’d like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for sending me this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

It’s safe to say that Picoult starts her story with a bang! Dawn has just survived a plane crash and as a reader we see how her life could unfold in two ways depending on which path she chooses. The book from there is split into land and water chapters which made it easy to follow which path she was on.

To begin with I found I had to concentrate a lot on the information about Ancient Egypt and Dawn’s work as an Egyptologist. Whilst I found this interesting it did make the first part of the book a little slow so it wasn’t until I reached about 20% that I felt fully invested in the story.

After that initial start I was finding every excuse possible to sit and read and I even stayed up quite late to finish the rest of the story. I loved Dawn’s work as a death doula and her latest client Win was a really nice addition to the story. I thought all the concepts around death and what we as humans think of it was fascinating and until this book I hadn’t understood what a death doula actually did for their clients.

Dawn as a character had a lot on her shoulders and I felt that weight had been there since she returned from Egypt as a young adult. Whilst some of her actions were questionable I couldn’t help but understand her reasons and I must admit I was routing for her and Wyatt from their first meeting.

Without spoiling the ending I thought it was a perfect way to complete the story. In true Picoult style you think you’ve understood the paths and what the story is all about and then the final revelations knock you sideways.

Picoult is a true master of her work from research to characters and plot I always find myself hooked one way or another. By the end I feel like she has given me a little piece of education or food for thought that causes me to reflect. A fantastic read and another great addition to the collection.

This means I have completed a prompt for each of my readathons. For me that cover screams summer so I had to choose iced coffee for the Coffee readathon and with a number in the title that is Experiment 626 completed for Dare to Dreamathon.


12 thoughts on “Book Review – The Book of Two Ways

Add yours

      1. So I just reread your review, since I finished the book and yes, you are right on. I know it has received mixed reviews, but my experience was mostly positive. I also really enjoyed the parts about her being a Death Doula.

        Liked by 1 person

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