Sunday 1 November 2020

The Book of Two Ways

Finished October 25 
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

I got this book as part of a book club subscription and really enjoyed it. The main character, Dawn Edelstein is a death doula, working with people nearing the end of their lives, but in her early twenties, she was an Egyptologist, working on her Ph.D. and focusing on a text found on the floor of many Egyptian mummy coffins. This text is called the Book of Two Ways and it serves as a guide for the afterlife, offering two paths, one over land and one over water, that both lead to the desired afterlife. The ways are not easy, with each having numerous challenges to overcome, and the book is supposed to help deal with and prepare for these challenges. 
Dawn has reached a moment in her life where she is letting herself look back to a life she abandoned during a stressful period personally. She was working on a dig in Egypt, before she was called home to deal with her mother's fatal illness and the aftermath of that. It was a turning point in her life, a time that she made what seemed like the only possible choice, but now she can't help wondering "what if". 
This impulse leads her back to Egypt, and back to Wyatt, a man she once had an intense relationship with. They began their interaction as rivals and competitors and there was a lot of animosity, but as we all know, that kind of emotion can also indicate passion of another sort. 
In her present day life, Dawn is working with a patient that was born on the same day as she was, and who is also looking back on her life as she nears her end. As Dawn helps her focus on the things she wants to achieve before she dies, Dawn is also reminded of what she has left undone. 
There is a lot going on in this book as Dawn examines her own paths as well as dealing with her husband Brian, a physicist, and her teenage daughter Meret, who is having her own identity issues.
I have never been that interesting in Egyptian history, but this made it much more intriguing to me, and I found the information on ancient Egypt quite fascinating. 
I also found the idea of a death doula interesting, especially reading it at this time that we are losing so many loved ones. The idea of having someone who can help you prepare for and navigate this time is a very appealing one.  Altogether a very satisfying read.

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