Title: The Book of Two Ways
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Story Perspective: First-Person
Themes: Infidelity, Marriage, Relationships, Honesty, Trust, Death, Loss, Grief, Second Chances
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Thank you to the NetGalley and Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review an ARC of The Book of Two Ways.
As Dawn is flying on an airplane, a sudden crash causes many to lose their lives or become severely injured.
She has a home life with her husband, Brian, and her teenage daughter, Meret, in Boston. However, in Egypt there is a past love that has been on her mind more and more each day. Which path will she choose – to return back to Boston or will she seek her former love, Wyatt?
There was a period of my life that I really loved reading Jodi Picoult. However, it’s been a while since I’ve read one of her books. When I saw this one on NetGalley, I requested it immediately in hopes to get back to reading her books.
When looking at the plot, there were parts that intrigued me while other parts that did not. I liked learning about what death doulas do because I will admit this is a profession I have never thought about or knew existed. When explained in this book, it makes sense why some would prefer to have a death doula to assist with those last few months, weeks, days, hours to be there for a caregiver and their loved one. Dawn seems very caring to the patients she works with, which I can imagine is extremely important when someone is facing their inevitable end. There were also parts where learning about Dawn’s daughter’s self-esteem is touched upon that I wish I knew more of.
Now, for the parts that I wasn’t not a fan of…For one, I felt there was just too much talk about ancient Egypt, pharaohs and such. I found myself skimming these parts since it didn’t really advance the plot and were parts I simply had zero interest in. The timelines were also pretty frustrating throughout most of the book. At the end, the author clarified the timeline, but for most of the book it was hard to tell what was the present. It didn’t help that while the author flipped from Boston to Egypt, there were references to the past in both places. I had to keep reminding myself that there was a current timeline in each place and that eventually I will learn what the actual present timeline was.
Another aspect that I just can’t stand reading about is infidelity. This was such a major theme in the book, whether it was spending time with someone of the opposite sex, having sex with a past love, or trying to reach out to a past love even though it could tear apart more than one family. I know it happens in real life, but I don’t believe it’s right by any sense, so reading about it constantly throughout this book really irked me. Also, I could have done with less sexual scenes (not that there were too explicit at times), but I don’t need to be reading about how times Dawn had sex and with whom. Again, it doesn’t advance the story and it just shows what a terrible person she is in some scenes.
Because of this, it was extremely hard to feel any sympathy toward the protagonist, Dawn. Not only do I feel her decisions were pretty horrible, her selfishness comes out when Dawn pushes her teenage daughter who has weight and self-esteem issues aside to fulfill whatever needs she feels like she needs to fulfill. If Dawn needs to do something erratic for whatever reason, the least she could do is to keep in touch with her daughter and not leave the poor girl frightened and unsure if she’ll ever see her mom again.
Speaking of characters, I really wanted more time with Meret rather than Dawn and her Egyptology love. I know Meret’s issues weren’t the center of this story, but it seemed more interesting than what Dawn went through.
Overall, this wasn’t a book that I enjoyed enough to want to continue reading Picoult’s future books. Perhaps I’ll try one of older ones and see if I feel the same way, but this just wasn’t for me.
For those who don’t mind reading about infidelity and pages of Egyptology might find some joy in this one.