Since Jodi Picoult is my absolute favorite writer, I have been looking forward to reading her latest published book The Book of Two Ways. I have enjoyed reading many of her books for the controversial issues that she writes about with such abandon and passion. She writes about issues such as racism, teen suicide, depression, and the irreplaceable feeling and power of a mother’s love. Whenever I read a book written by Jodi Picoult, I find myself transported into another world, one in which the characters fight with intensity and bravery for what they believe in as they struggle to find the truth within themselves, and ultimately so does the reader. Each time I have read her books, I have found a truth. Whether it is learning a new fact, or discovering a new way of living, or rekindling one of life’s hidden treasures, I open a new Jodi Picoult book each time eagerly ready to learn.
When I opened The Book of Two Ways, it was no different and I was not disappointed. The quality of the writing is classic Jodi Picoult. The essence, the fire, is Jodi Picoult at its finest. I read each word, and then another line, and then another page, hardly able to stop reading until I discovered the twist at the end.
Title: The Book of Two Ways
Author: Jodi Picoult
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
What It’s About
The Book of Two Ways starts off with a middle age woman, Dawn, on a plane heading for an unknown destination when the plane starts to experience some turbulence. The plane crashes and many die. Those who survive are given a free plane ticket to go wherever they wish. Of course, many would choose to go back home, to reunite with their loved ones, thankful to have survived the traumatic plane crash. But for Dawn anyway, she chooses to not go home. She chooses to see what would have happened had she made a difference choice all those years ago.
What follows is two stories. One story is what happens after she goes back to Egypt to see what had become of the man she has once loved. The other story follows what happens had she went back home instead to her husband and teenage daughter. I read as these two stories unfolded, eventually crisscrossing each other. Ultimately, Dawn discovers a truth in one story that affects the other. I read as Dawn has to learn how to rebuild her life once this truth is uncovered.
She currently works a picturesque life as a death doula in New England. Her dream may have been to be an Egyptologist, but as a death doula, she works with those who are preparing for death. She may have had to change her dream, but somehow her dreams in both worlds were similar in essence. She also is a mother to a teenager who is unsure about the very fragility of life. She is the wife to a man who is not perfect and has even taken their very relationship to almost the point of no return. It is what led her away from their home, instead running away to a place that subconsciously she wanted to go back to.
We see Dawn navigate her life as an Egyptologist with the former love of her life, discovering that time does not stand still. Things move on. Things change. Things are always changing.
And then in her life as Death Doula, we see her helping another woman who is dying from a terminal illness, and thus preparing for death. We watch as her life mirrors that of her client. Both have a past that was never resolved. Both are determined to find a way to tie up loose ends. But time is running out, for both of them. Will they both succeed?
Why You Should Read
For anyone who is not afraid to ask the important questions, they should read this book. This book is a must read for anyone who has often wondered what if. For anyone, who has asked themselves, what if I had done this differently? What if I had taken that job? What if I had chosen that lifestyle over another? For anyone who has questioned the concept of fate and choices, this book is worth reading to question the very act of living, how we are affected by the choices that are made, and is there ever a possibility of forgiveness.
Jodi Picoult manages to ask all of these questions in this book. But I give this book four stars out of five. I give this book four stars because I thought the book was a bit lengthy and even too descriptive in some parts. I feel as if the same story could have been told in a way that is more succinct and pithy. But then again, when answering some of life’s more deeper questions, nothing is ever simple. When answering these questions, it can’t simply be answered in just a few pages, but through a process. And that is what this book manages to do for us. It takes un a journey with Dawn as she discovers more about herself than she ever realized.