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The Book of Two Ways

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a riveting novel about the choices that change the course of our lives. 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. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a riveting novel about the choices that change the course of our lives. 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?


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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a riveting novel about the choices that change the course of our lives. 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. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a riveting novel about the choices that change the course of our lives. 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?

30 review for The Book of Two Ways

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Hmmm… you see the alarming bell which warns you there is an unpopular review is about to come and of course I never expected it’s happening because I just finished a compelling novel of one of my all-time favorite authors. And as soon as I read the blurb about second chances, the Sliding Door/what ifs theme and amazing journey to learn more about Ancient Egyptian culture, I started to whistle Bangles’ song and getting so excited about this promising adventure. I already found amazing two reading Hmmm… you see the alarming bell which warns you there is an unpopular review is about to come and of course I never expected it’s happening because I just finished a compelling novel of one of my all-time favorite authors. And as soon as I read the blurb about second chances, the Sliding Door/what ifs theme and amazing journey to learn more about Ancient Egyptian culture, I started to whistle Bangles’ song and getting so excited about this promising adventure. I already found amazing two reading buddies to share my excitement: But as soon as I started flipping pages after the mind blowing start reminded of us Lost series’ beginning, Dawn Edelstein’ thankfully survives from the plane crash, my excitement hit to the roof! I wanted to see what was gonna happen next: After the imminent shock and her entire life flashed before her eyes, Dawn realizes there are things holding her back to have fulfilled life. And there are two paths appear in front of her: she may go back to her family life: husband she’s been married for 15 years and her 14 years old teenage girl. And of course her work at hospice as death doula is waiting for her. (Interesting choice of profession) Or she goes to Egypt and finishes her project she’s started 15 years ago when she has been working as an archaeologist but that means she has to meet with her first love of her life: Wyatt. So we read her two paths and we also learn more about Dawn’s story starting 15 years ago in Egypt by flashbacks. And interestingly two paths successfully intertwine. I have no problem about the promising premise of the book about taking your chances, learning from your mistakes and leaving no place for your regrets. BUT… Yes the problematic thing about this book: there is so much information bombardment exhaust your brain cells. Quantum psychics, philosophical approach to life and death, reincarnation, superstition , Egyptology, marriage, fat-shaming etc. It seem like the author juggled way too much plot balls at the same time and all of them start to fall down from her hands one by one. Especially I truly got lost at the Egyptology parts with all those hieroglyphs, symbolism, secret language hidden at the tombs, digital mapping, nope I’m stopping there. After reading those parts and scientific explanations Brian’s husband gave her about quantum psychics (couldn’t she marry with a man who has regular job?) I thought my mind was so close to explode. There are so many materials in this book were hard to absorb and all those details made you feel like this a study book you have to read by drawing its lines to pass your exam instead a regular, gripping contemporary fiction. The author may write at least 4 different books with those materials. But instead of that she chose to insert them into one story and I truly got so exhausted and needed more grey cells transplant because I truly fried most of them by over usage. I loved the family parts, impossible and meanest love-triangle of the story ( it’s so mean because any choice Dawn makes may end with unhappiness!) mother-daughter relationship and of course her profession as “death doula” at hospice was one of the most heartfelt, eerie but also interesting part that attracted my full attention. But I think those Egypt parts, symbolism, quantum psychics just killed the essence of this meaningful story. When you add too much scientific information into the equation, it affects the intensity of meaningful messages and emotional warmth of the story. But this is my opinion. There is nothing missing about this story. In fact there are too many things to absorb, understand, discover, feel, learn, and search so eventually they overwhelmed me. Overall: I loved the characters. I loved the idea of second chances, choosing different paths. I loved the devoted love between mother and daughter. But those scientific parts of the book failed me. I love Jodi Picoult’s brave writing style and play with our emotions to shake us to the core. But this time I decided to give only three stars. That’s a first for me, too. It doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. The emotional parts of the story completely worked with my needs but the informational parts were exhausting and confusing. They were still impeccably written but in my opinion, they didn’t fit so well with the main plot. Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing/Ballentine Books for sharing this ARC with me in exchange my honest opinions and review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Because if there is a garden of maybes, you are the invasive plant I can’t ever get rid of. If there’s one thing I appreciate, it’s a storyline with the power to make me think, to ponder the intricacies of life. The Book of Two Ways provides a contemplative look at the multitude of possible paths set before us, the regret that can linger in the shadows of our choices, and the reality that each one of us will one day reach the end of the road. In signature Jodi Picoult fashion, it’s evident a Because if there is a garden of maybes, you are the invasive plant I can’t ever get rid of. If there’s one thing I appreciate, it’s a storyline with the power to make me think, to ponder the intricacies of life. The Book of Two Ways provides a contemplative look at the multitude of possible paths set before us, the regret that can linger in the shadows of our choices, and the reality that each one of us will one day reach the end of the road. In signature Jodi Picoult fashion, it’s evident a lot of foresight and research went into the creation of this novel. If the early reviews are any indication, this is set to be another polarizing novel, but not for reasons longtime fans might initially assume. Picoult’s previous storylines have confronted a myriad of controversial topics—like abortion, racism, and the death penalty, to name a few—but not so much this time. Instead, she folds readers into a story riddled with Egyptology, quantum mechanics (this made me reminisce about Dark Matter), and the emotional aspects of life as a death doula. Admittedly, Picoult is a little heavy-handed in her delivery of the Egyptology aspect of the storyline, the majority of which I happened to find quite interesting. I was able to appreciate the parallels Picoult was drawing between past and present, life and death. The amalgam of alternates that skew our paths: temptation, desire, the need for security, or love. For a vast number of readers, that might not be the case. Hence, my polarizing theory. Readers meet Dawn at a time when she’s balancing the stressors of her career as a death doula, raising a teenage daughter with body image issues, and maintaining a connection with her husband of 15-years, Brian. A mostly happy, yet complacent, existence. What you wouldn’t know on the outset is that Dawn once had dreams of pursuing a career in Egyptology. That she spent semesters of her collegiate life immersed in the tombs, recovering mummified remains, and deciphering hieroglyphics. In that period of her life, Wyatt dominated her heart, challenged her mentally, and incited a passion she’s failed to experience since. But unforeseen circumstances and her resulting decisions made him the one that got away. Dawn’s story flips between time and place, from past to present, until she forces the two to collide. Her desire to revisit what might have been overriding all else. There are a plethora of emotions to contend with here. Part of me wanted to condemn Dawn for her audacity and selfishness. Yet, I found myself awestruck by her tenacity to see things through—to put her lingering feelings and the what-ifs to the test. But, this is also right where my contention sneaks in with my inability to accept one character’s reactions. I foresaw more hurt and anger, something fiercely heartfelt. Not mellow understanding. But, in hindsight, I think it circles back to the multitude of choices and alternate realities floating around the universe for every situation. The Book Of Two Ways provides a solid reminder that life is fleeting and tomorrow is never guaranteed. What thoughts, missed opportunities, or lost loves will linger in the forefront of your mind as you approach the end? Are you gutsy enough to make life-altering changes now, to satiate your heart’s desires? *Thank you to Ballantine Books for sharing an advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    This novel should come with a warning: It’s TEXTBOOK TOP HEAVY..... “Mummies and Deadies” interweave with complexities of life - love - birth - death coaching - character backstories - superstitions - philosophical narration - sarcastic, competitive and flirtatious dialogue - marriage -lovers - parenting - betrayals - secrets & lies...and other messy relationship complications. “There is a literary text in Ancient Egyptian that says the gods made magic so that people could ward off misfortune. And y This novel should come with a warning: It’s TEXTBOOK TOP HEAVY..... “Mummies and Deadies” interweave with complexities of life - love - birth - death coaching - character backstories - superstitions - philosophical narration - sarcastic, competitive and flirtatious dialogue - marriage -lovers - parenting - betrayals - secrets & lies...and other messy relationship complications. “There is a literary text in Ancient Egyptian that says the gods made magic so that people could ward off misfortune. And yet, although you might be able to diminish something bad, you still couldn’t prevent it from happening”. The heavy archaeology and Egyptology details hinder a natural elegiac rhythmic reading flow. The author did extensive impressive research — but the reader will also need to research the authors research, to gain a better knowledge and understanding of it all.... Unless..... like one reviewer said, she skipped over the Egyptology details. But then what’s the point? Sometimes it took me 40 minutes to finish ONE KINDLE PAGE.... Because.... I had to look up names, details, history, science, artists, scholars, and other historical information. I wish I had been warned ahead of time of the HIGH PROBABILITY that I would need to STUDY Jodi Picoult’s research myself. It took me two weeks to finish this book....( long for me). It was often maddening, draining, ( sometimes interesting)... but a heck of a lot of personal work for me to read up on: ...hieroglyphs, ...photogrammetry, ...geomatics, ...digital mapping in 3-D compared to linear measuring, ...hieroglyphics & software technology, ...epigraphy, ( ancient Greek study of inscriptions), ...Djehutynakht ( an ancient Egyptian) who was known for his painted outer coffin ( commonly called Bersha coffin).... ...archaeological Coffin Texts....[The Book of Two Ways] ... performance artist: Marina Abramovic ...oppositional defiant disorder... ...sloughing off skin and brain cells ...holding therapy ...fat basenji ...paleography... ...renaissance masters and French painters ( Manet)... ...Jean/Francois Champollion ( French scholar, philologist, and orientalist), ...the tombs of necropolis and the tomb Djehutynakht AND.... ... quantum mechanics: “We’re all made up of molecules, like those electrons, if you zoom in and zoom in and zoom in, everything we do is explained by quantum mechanics”. I questioned if readers would enjoy the heavy loaded details. I questioned if whether or not I could recommend this book to my friends? Yes, .... but ‘only’ with ‘advance warning’ and preparedness to ‘study’ the parts not familiar with - rather than skip over the history — Or again I ask: “then why bother?” “The last datable hieroglyphic inscription was written by a Nubian priest visiting Philae in 394 B.C.E., because even when the Byzantine emperor closed all the temples, he still let the Nubians come workshop Isis. Then the entire language was forgotten for fifteen hundred years— until the Rosetta Stone was founded in 1799. Written in demotic, hieroglyphs, and Greek, it’s an incredibly boring tax about tax benefits and temple priests— but because it bore the same message in three languages, it provided the code needed to crack the meaning of Ancient Egyptian writing. In 1822, Jean-Francois Champollion published the first translation of hieroglyphs”. So, for me, this book became ‘textbook’ 101-learning.... Four thousand years of history..... mixed with trying to get to know the protagonist -Dawn Edelstein-better. She was not an easy person to feel close to. Dawn questioned the life she was living with her husband Brian. It was clear that she loved her daughter Meret — and valued her job as a ‘death doula’ and her clients,( especially Win).... But.... Dawn never stopped loving Wyatt Armstrong....( her Yale grad school heartthrob colleague, and competitor). Wyatt often called Dawn, ‘Olive’. To Wyatt’s credit ( and Jodi Picoult’s playfulness with intimacy), Wyatt’s flirtatious love expression toward Dawn was mockingly cute! “In spite of all that has happened in the past six weeks— from the days spent trying to repair the sieve of my marriage, to Win’s letter and the trip I made to London; from my last-minute decision to go to Egypt, to reuniting with Wyatt and the unearthing coffin— getting to this point feels both monumental and inevitable”. “There is nothing –– nothing—like being the one to discover a piece of the world that has gone missing”. My final conclusion.... there is some enjoyment, mystery suspense... some interesting history... But do not go into this book blindly. Be aware of the facts that it’s heavy loaded with facts!!! As for the ‘male/female/male’ theme in this book... (Dawn/Brian/Wyatt), > .... its a little Lifetime-movie-ish. Not necessarily a negative - but....it’s wise to be aware of it being what it is. Personally, I was hooked enough to invest my time in this book— but I was also frustrated with all the time it took. Simultaneously, a double edge sword reading experience was a mixture of positives and negatives. Thank you Netgalley, Random house publishing/Ballantine, and Jodi Picoult

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Jodi Picoult's latest novel is a fascinating exploration of life, love, Egyptology and Egyptian history, and Physics, regrets and wondering how life might have turned out if different life choices had been made. It has some commonalities with a book I recently read, Matt Haig's The Midnight Library, such as what makes life worth living, what really matters, and the need to focus on living, as life is short. Fortunately, reading this book was made easier as I already had an interest and some fami Jodi Picoult's latest novel is a fascinating exploration of life, love, Egyptology and Egyptian history, and Physics, regrets and wondering how life might have turned out if different life choices had been made. It has some commonalities with a book I recently read, Matt Haig's The Midnight Library, such as what makes life worth living, what really matters, and the need to focus on living, as life is short. Fortunately, reading this book was made easier as I already had an interest and some familiarity with Egyptology and the aspects of Physics which Picoult goes into some detail in the book with her indepth research, without this, I can imagine many readers finding this a much more frustrating experience. It begins with Dawn Edelstein, living in Boston, married to Brian with a beloved daughter, Meret, on a plane that is plummeting, and her thoughts are not on the life she has, but drifting back to her past as an Egyptologist, and Wyatt Armstrong, a life that was torn asunder when a dying mother and family responsibilities claimed her instead. Fortunately, Dawn survives, and the narrative shifts locations and time to go down two possible paths for Dawn, and the ancient Egyptian beliefs and text of The Book of Two Ways on the path towards reaching the afterlife. She is beset with regrets on the one hand and what could have been with Wyatt, and a marriage which is under pressure, raising the issues of what constitutes a 'love affair' and infidelity. Dawn works as a death doula, helping her terminal clients prepare for death with compassion and love, and supporting grieving families, clients such as Win, whose issues resonate so strongly with Dawn too. Picoult writes of the complexities of being human, the choices we make, the people that matter in her story of life, love and death, and extolling the need to live life now through her central protagonist, Dawn. She excels in her characterisation of Dawn and the painful, messy complications that life so often comprises of, with her reflections on what could have been, her sense of identity and who exactly she is. This is richly descriptive and heavily detailed, multilayered storytelling, thoughtful, insightful and well written on life's deepest questions but will not be for everyone. An emotionally satisfying and touching novel that I recommend highly to others. Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    Mummies, love, and a plane crash - oh my! Shortest Summary Ever: Dawn Edelstein nearly dies in a plane crash. This moment draws her back to Egypt where she left her former life behind (and a man named Wyatt) 15 years ago. Then there’s Bryan and her daughter Meret back in Boston - the life she’s created that’s also dear. Where should she go? Thoughts: I love Picoult when she’s not giving the expected, and so I enjoyed this book. To keep my review spoiler free I can say this - it’s brutally honest, Mummies, love, and a plane crash - oh my! Shortest Summary Ever: Dawn Edelstein nearly dies in a plane crash. This moment draws her back to Egypt where she left her former life behind (and a man named Wyatt) 15 years ago. Then there’s Bryan and her daughter Meret back in Boston - the life she’s created that’s also dear. Where should she go? Thoughts: I love Picoult when she’s not giving the expected, and so I enjoyed this book. To keep my review spoiler free I can say this - it’s brutally honest, which is brave and ballsy. I absolutely love honestly. I don’t need “perfect” or I’d be reading romance (barf). The characters aren’t infallible - they are human, and humans are full of imperfection. I LOVE THAT. I have never married so for me it was enjoyable to sit on both paths - a life with Brian her steady true hubby, or what life would be like with “the one who got away.” I could easily put myself in these characters’ clothes, try em on for size, and stroll around for a while. Riveting and thought-inducing to try those outfits on. Picoult’s characterization is her brilliance - she’s able to make the reader see and feel every side of this story down to 14-yr old Meret and her discomfort with her body, Brian and his steadfastness in his marriage, Wyatt and his facade of confidence, and Dawn and her questioning of everything that is LIFE. Damn that’s good. The book is cerebral which is also tough to pull off. I’m a thinker and I’m pretty smart (don’t let the snark fool ya... I graduated Summa Cum Laude suckas!) so I enjoyed the LEARNING... but that brings me to my one star deduction. I adored the information about what the book of Two Ways was, its meaning, the Egyptology (I Googled soooooo much stuff!), until it became ad nauseam Egyptology where every emotion Dawn was feeling had to be compared to some old dead dude and his wife. Then quantum physics was sprinkled in and flashback dashes of philosophy class (ugh I hated that class)... it seemed too jumbled in some places. But I FEEL crazy smart now and it’s the first time I’ve understood ANYTHING physics (don’t judge). All my reviews available at scrappymags.com around time of publication. Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Women’s Fiction/Chic-Lit Recommend to: You have to be ready for cerebral because you’ll be schooled. Not recommended to: It’s not a quick and done so be ready. Thank you to the author, Random House Ballantyne, and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my always-honest review and for the education in all things Egypt tombs.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    3.5 stars "Life asked death, 'Why do people love me but hate you? ‘Death responded 'Because you are a beautiful lie and I am a painful truth." -Unknown Prepare for a Crash Landing. Everything changes for Dawn Edelstein when she is on a plane preparing to crash. As the plane goes down her thoughts are on Wyatt Armstrong, a man she loved and last saw 15 years ago, she does not think of her husband Brian or the life they had in Boston with their daughter, Merit. Dawn is an interesting woman. She g 3.5 stars "Life asked death, 'Why do people love me but hate you? ‘Death responded 'Because you are a beautiful lie and I am a painful truth." -Unknown Prepare for a Crash Landing. Everything changes for Dawn Edelstein when she is on a plane preparing to crash. As the plane goes down her thoughts are on Wyatt Armstrong, a man she loved and last saw 15 years ago, she does not think of her husband Brian or the life they had in Boston with their daughter, Merit. Dawn is an interesting woman. She gave up her dream of being an Egyptologist, when she received word that her mother was dying, and she needed to leave Egypt and return home. There she had to prepare for her Mother's death and raise her much younger brother. She had to leave Egypt and Wyatt behind. She meets Brian soon thereafter and the rest as they say, is history. Now a death Douala with a teenage daughter, her universe is about to change. "My heart is no longer in my body." It is obvious from reading this book that a tremendous amount of research went into the writing of this book. There is A LOT of Egyptian history, which I enjoyed at times and other times muddled through it, but all the while I reminded myself that this was her two characters passion. It is what they did. This is what they talked about, it was for one, his life's work. There is also talk of Quantum physics - parallel universes, etc. Then I was introduced to the career of the Death Douala which blew me away and I found to be very compelling and interesting. Overall, this was an interesting and entirely different book. Very original with some beautiful passages. Dawn's story is told through the past and present. We are introduced to those in her life and her relationships with them. This book touches on many themes such as: life, death, choices, the what-ifs, the afterlife, loss and happiness. This was a hard one to rate because; although interesting, sometimes getting through all the Egyptian history felt like work. She did her research and it showed. When you walk two paths in life, which one do you ultimately choose? Which will Dawn? "Look, if you had One shot... Or one opportunity... To seize everything, you ever wanted ...In one moment... Would you capture it... Or just let it slip?" -Eminem The Book of Two Ways is both a rewarding and frustrating book. In the end, I am glad I read it and enjoyed it. It did take some work, but I found it to be well worth it. I learned a lot and appreciated the messages about life and death. Some of her passages were quite beautiful. I think this would make an interesting book club book as there is a lot to discuss. Thank you to Random House Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Nothing like a plane crash to make you re-think your life. That’s what happens to Dawn. She is one of 36 survivors to walk away from a crash. She uses the opportunity to fly anywhere by the airline to return to Egypt. Fifteen years ago, she was a grad student helping with a dig at Deir el-Bersha. Now, she’s a death doula with a husband and daughter. Picoult uses The Book of Two Ways, the Egyptian “guidebook” for the afterlife as a metaphor about the choices we make while on earth. Because maybe Nothing like a plane crash to make you re-think your life. That’s what happens to Dawn. She is one of 36 survivors to walk away from a crash. She uses the opportunity to fly anywhere by the airline to return to Egypt. Fifteen years ago, she was a grad student helping with a dig at Deir el-Bersha. Now, she’s a death doula with a husband and daughter. Picoult uses The Book of Two Ways, the Egyptian “guidebook” for the afterlife as a metaphor about the choices we make while on earth. Because maybe she didn’t go to Egypt. Maybe she just returned home to deal with life as she knows it, to try and fix her marriage and be there for her teenage daughter. The plot swirls on this alternative universe idea. “In one world I’m in Boston. In another world, I am with Wyatt when he opens that coffin and sees The Book of Two Ways.” I found it interesting that I had trouble with the one version of Dawn. I saw her as being selfish. But then, there comes a point in the story where she explains herself and I totally got it. Picoult makes sure to provide the reader with a lot of background on both hieroglyphics and quantum mechanics. While I’m a sucker for all this detail, it might prove too much for others. There’s lots of philosophical talk about death and dying, but it’s not depressing. The book focuses on finding purpose and meaning in life. It also focuses on love - first loves, sustaining loves. How just because we move on from someone doesn’t mean we ever forget them. I haven’t read a lot of Jodi Picoult. But this feels like a departure from what I picture when I think of one of her books. Yes, it’s still character driven. But her other books have a big ordeal, usually a controversial topic. Here, it’s much more internal, personal choice driven. So, it comes across as a quieter book, if that makes sense. But I loved the points she makes - that love often means hurting someone, that there are no perfect choices. My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    A book about love and loss, life and death...oh, and Egypt. A whole lot about Egyptology. Dawn lives in Boston with her husband, Brian, and her teenaged daughter, Merit. She is a death doula, someone who is there to support a dying person any way necessary. After the plane taking her home to Boston crashes unexpectedly, Dawn (one of only 36 survivors) can’t help but thinking about how close she just came to death, and the unfinished business she has with the love of her life. His name is Wyatt A A book about love and loss, life and death...oh, and Egypt. A whole lot about Egyptology. Dawn lives in Boston with her husband, Brian, and her teenaged daughter, Merit. She is a death doula, someone who is there to support a dying person any way necessary. After the plane taking her home to Boston crashes unexpectedly, Dawn (one of only 36 survivors) can’t help but thinking about how close she just came to death, and the unfinished business she has with the love of her life. His name is Wyatt Armstrong, and he is in Egypt, where she left and never returned 15 years ago. What would her life be like if she got on a plane and went to Egypt to see Wyatt, now an archaeologist who unearths ancient burial sites? What if she were able to complete her research on The Book of Two Ways (a map of the afterlife)? What if she goes back home to Brian and Merit, and tries to forget about Wyatt and Egypt all over again? This was a very difficult book to rate. I’ve heard so many things about this, and how it is overflowing with information on Egypt and everything it encompasses. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it. The first 20% was almost too much, but I soldiered on and found a wonderful story with complex characters, some mystery, and that general “Jodi Picoult vibe” that make her books so amazing! I became attached to the characters and their dynamics, and I was surprised by some unexpected twists. Anyone who reads a Jodi Picoult book knows they’re going to learn things they probably didn’t know before. Throughout the years, I’ve learned about elephants, whales, a deeper look at the Amish, and much more. I’ve enjoyed learning these things and seeing how they tied into the main storylines. The downside to THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS is that it is a bit overwhelming. Picoult certainly did her research, but while I found some aspects of Egyptology interesting (the reasons Egyptians were mummified, the process of preparing a body for mummification), there was a lot that I just couldn’t grasp. I found myself skimming some long passages until the story went back to the main plot. There were also some discussions about quantum physics that went completely over my head. I consider myself smart, and I always enjoy learning new things (well...if they interest me), but it was all just a bit much at times. What I did grasp makes sense to the storyline, but I also don’t think the book would have suffered for cutting some of that out. This could have been an easy 4 or 5-star read if it weren’t for two things: The information overload, and the ending (which I think needed one more chapter). 3.5 stars. Thank you Ballantine Books, Jodi Picoult, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    ’To die will be an awfully big adventure.’ -- J. M. Barrie A story filled with remembrances of people, some who lived long ago in Egypt, buried in tombs, and some who passed more recently. Some memories still haunt Dawn, the choices she’s made through her life, as well as what she’s learned from her interactions with others, the stories they’ve shared. Stories that aren’t her stories, but have become a part of her. Dawn used to work toward her goal of being an Egyptologist, and in another lif ’To die will be an awfully big adventure.’ -- J. M. Barrie A story filled with remembrances of people, some who lived long ago in Egypt, buried in tombs, and some who passed more recently. Some memories still haunt Dawn, the choices she’s made through her life, as well as what she’s learned from her interactions with others, the stories they’ve shared. Stories that aren’t her stories, but have become a part of her. Dawn used to work toward her goal of being an Egyptologist, and in another life spent time in Egypt pursuing that, alongside Wyatt. But that comes to an unexpected end when she is needed back at home to care for her much younger brother. Eventually, she marries, and a daughter comes along after that. A happy-ish family, although their daughter Meret, now a young teenager, is struggling with confidence and body-image issues, along with the usual teenage-parent problems, and parental frustrations. These days she spends her work hours as a death doula, a woman who helps those in their final stages of life, as well as their family members. Preparing for it, assisting them along the way, and finally through the last transitions. She begins each day by remembering them, a way to keep them, their memories alive. This story goes back and forth in time and place, when Dawn is in Egypt, and when she is in Boston. Early on, it took me a bit to make that adjustment, and occasionally I had to restrain from looking up every. little. thing, but I ended up loving the different timelines, as well as the way this story slowly evolved. I loved the interjections of thoughts she had, such as when she talks about when her daughter Meret was little and used to say lasterday, as a reference for any point in time in the past. I loved reading about her interactions as a death doula, the love and care she gave to those in her care. That being said, I still felt that it would have been an even better story if the scientific aspects of this had been pared down, even a little. This is about the choices we make in life, and about our life, along with the circumstances that force us to make choices, how they can present us with alternate opportunities. The regrets, looking back on the road not taken, the things we feel we need to share, the people we feel a need to see as we face the end of life, or even the end of a way of life. Published: 22 Sep 2020 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    When she was in her mid-twenties, Dawn McDowell was a Ph.D. candidate in the Yale Egyptology program.... .....headed by Professor Dumphries, who led the department's dig at Deir el-Bersha. Dawn and fellow graduate student, Wyatt Armstrong - a handsome, golden-haired Brit.... .....rubbed each other the wrong way from day one, each vying to be the best and the brightest, and competing to be Dumphries' favorite. Dawn and Wyatt sniped at each other constantly until the day they discovered a depinto - a When she was in her mid-twenties, Dawn McDowell was a Ph.D. candidate in the Yale Egyptology program.... .....headed by Professor Dumphries, who led the department's dig at Deir el-Bersha. Dawn and fellow graduate student, Wyatt Armstrong - a handsome, golden-haired Brit.... .....rubbed each other the wrong way from day one, each vying to be the best and the brightest, and competing to be Dumphries' favorite. Dawn and Wyatt sniped at each other constantly until the day they discovered a depinto - an inscription in hieroglyphics - beneath a rock ledge. The depinto revealed the existence of a previously unknown tomb, and in their excitement - when Wyatt wrapped his arms around Dawn and spun her around - the two became friends....and then fell madly in love. Dawn and Wyatt's area of study was 'The Book of Two Ways', an inscription in Egyptian tombs that depicts two paths to the afterlife, an upper water path and a lower land path. The deceased travels down one of the pathways, meeting guardians and watchers who prevent unworthy sinners from passing. Illustration of The Book of Two Ways The Book of Two Ways inscribed on the bottom of a coffin Dawn and Wyatt, who seemed to be made for each other, made an excellent romantic AND research team. They pictured themselves together, leading digs; unearthing tombs; interpreting hieroglyphics; publishing articles; etc. Then the unthinkable happened. Dawn learned her mother was in a hospice, dying of ovarian cancer. Dawn rushed home to Boston to care for her mother, who died a few weeks later. This made Dawn guardian of her 13-year-old brother Kieran, a responsibility Dawn took very seriously. Thus, Dawn withdrew from the Egyptology program; met physicist Brian Edelstein; got pregnant; got married; became a death doula (a person who helps the dying at the end of their lives); and didn't say a word about any of it to Wyatt. ***** We first meet Dawn fifteen years later, when her life is much different than what she pictured in Egypt. Dawn is married to physicist Brian Edelstein, a caring solicitous spouse who teaches at Harvard; Dawn and Brian are raising their 14-year-old daughter Meret, a science whiz who attends summer STEM camp; and Dawn is helping her client Win, a dying artist, peacefully approach her last moments. Dawn's life takes a dramatic turn when Brian gets too cozy with an attractive graduate student and Win tells Dawn about her lost first love, whom she never forgot. Dawn feels compelled to go back to Egypt, find Wyatt, and continue studying the Book of Two Ways. As Dawn navigates her life she's torn between Wyatt and her Egyptology studies on the one hand (the land path), and Brian and Meret on the other hand (the water path). That's the basic theme of the book. The story moves back and forth in time, alternating between events fifteen years ago and events in the present. Some of the time jumps are purposely tricky. leading to twists I didn't see coming. A Jodi Picoult novel is never simple, and the book includes a good bit of chitchat about ancient Egypt, physics, the responsibilities of a death doula, and Irish superstitions. The ancient Egypt sections include discussions of Egyptian gods; beliefs; tombs; inscriptions; hieroglyphics; pharaohs; kings; queens; brothers; sisters; incest (which was common); marriages; burial rites; the afterlife; etc. It's like a mini-textbook about ancient Egypt. Display of an ancient Egyptian tomb The physics sections are about quantum mechanics and multiverses - the idea that there are infinite universes with parallel timelines. Thus I might be a physics professor giving a lecture in one timeline; a cab driver in a car crash in a second timeline; a ballerina rehearsing with the Bolshoi in a third timeline, married to my first boyfriend in a fourth timeline....you get the idea. The duties of a death doula are exemplified by Dawn's recollections of former clients and her day-to-day care of Win. Death doula responsibilities can include helping the client declutter the house; make a will; plan a funeral; visit favorite places; write letters; comfort relatives; and so on. Whatever the client wants that's not medical-related. The Irish superstitions are among the more light-hearted parts of the book. Dawn's mother was a VERY superstitious Irishwoman with a strong belief in the supernatural. She put safety pins in Dawn's clothing to ward off the evil eye; taught Dawn never to whistle indoors; instructed Dawn to look in a mirror if she left the house and had to come back in; made Dawn pay a penny after she gave her a Swiss Army Knife for Christmas; told Dawn she'd never get married if she sat in the corner at the table; and so on. These rituals are meant to insure good luck and prevent harm, and Dawn brings them up - usually in fun - as the occasion arises. I found the 'extra bits' of the novel interesting, but some reviewers think the Egyptology and physics chatter is excessive and boring. I enjoyed the book and was engrossed in Dawn's dilemma.....whether to choose Wyatt or Brian. You might be tempted to get judgy, but read the book first. 😊 Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Jodi Picoult), and the publisher (Ballantine Books) for a copy of the book. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    There are times that a book just seems to come at just the right moment. Perhaps it is because of a life situation, a death or birth, or just because one finds themselves at a junction in life where the subject matter hits home with multiple punches. I have a 94 year old mother who is frail and as I read this book my thoughts constantly drifted to her and the end of life choices she and I will eventually need to make. Death is an absolute. None of us escape death, none of us return from it, none There are times that a book just seems to come at just the right moment. Perhaps it is because of a life situation, a death or birth, or just because one finds themselves at a junction in life where the subject matter hits home with multiple punches. I have a 94 year old mother who is frail and as I read this book my thoughts constantly drifted to her and the end of life choices she and I will eventually need to make. Death is an absolute. None of us escape death, none of us return from it, none of us know what awaits us. Dawn Edelstein is studying to be an Egyptologist. She is a young woman on the cusp of fulfilling a dream when a phone call comes that changes forever the direction her life will take. Her mother is dying, and even though she has fallen in love with Wyatt Armstrong, another Egyptologist, she rushes home to be with her mother and her young brother at this stressful time. She will not return to Egypt to the land and the man she loves as duty to her mother and brother prevail. Dawn meets a man, a quantum physicist, Brian, who is brilliant and explores the concept that we, as living things could in theory live in alternate universes where are choices are different, and our lives are not ones we are now experiencing. They have a child, a daughter, and eventually marry but there is always at the back of Dawn's thoughts the idea of Wyatt. Dawn loves her husband but with a love not equal to that she shared with Wyatt. Will her love for Brian win the day or is Wyatt the person she can't live without? These are multiple themes explored in this story. The concept of ancient Egyptians's belief in an afterlife and preparation for it was fascinating. Dawn's eventual job as a death doula offered a unique and heart felt perspective into how we can prepare one for their demise. And ...what if we were able to live an alternate life? Would we have been with the person who first filled our life and our soul with his or her love? How many of us have thought back and wondered what road we would have traveled if our life followed the pathway of a first love? Where are these first loves now? I found the book to be utterly fascinating and it touched my emotional core and made me think and wonder and reflect. Do we actually at the end of our days wonder what if? Do we come to terms with the life we lead or do we constantly think perhaps if only. I absolutely loved this story, its message, its cautionary warning that life is fleeting and how we need to grab onto the moments that thrill us. There is much spoken of in this book of the ancient Egyptian stories and rituals of long ago with their plethora of gods, paths to follow, and rituals. I was fortunate in understanding this section, since I taught a unit on Egypt for many years to the many classes that passed through my teaching life. It fascinated me drew me back to the wonder and joy my students and I experienced exploring and learning of what came before us. I most definitely recommend this book for all the ways it might conjure up your thoughts, make you see a reality that perhaps you didn't chose, and realize that all of us will eventually face a life that will come to an end. It's the road we travel that we see in the end, its joy, its sorrows and perhaps the people we left behind along the way. Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book due out on September 22, 2020.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    WOW.. this was painful to finish. Oh my gosh..... I felt like I was reading a history book gone wrong. Ugh... I thought I was going to be reading another fabulous women's fiction novel but my goodness was bogged down with an Egyptian style textbook. YIKES.... wayyyy to many details about history. Yes, I can see how history was needed in some of this story but not the ENTIRE book. The heavy terms of archeology and Egyptian really make it hard to read this. It took me EXTRA long to read the majority WOW.. this was painful to finish. Oh my gosh..... I felt like I was reading a history book gone wrong. Ugh... I thought I was going to be reading another fabulous women's fiction novel but my goodness was bogged down with an Egyptian style textbook. YIKES.... wayyyy to many details about history. Yes, I can see how history was needed in some of this story but not the ENTIRE book. The heavy terms of archeology and Egyptian really make it hard to read this. It took me EXTRA long to read the majority of this book due to the heavy content of the story. I felt like I should have been looking up names, details, and definitions. I skimmed the majority of this book sadly and would not recommend to Picoult fans. This is nothing like her previous older novels that I fell in love with. 2 stars Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Ballantine for the arc in exchange for an honest review. Pub date: 9/22/20 Published to GR: 5/25/20

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    The Book of Two Ways is an ancient Egyptian text and belief depicting the path a soul can take to the Afterlife. Dawn Edelstein lives in Boston, she’s a death doula preparing terminally ill patients and their families for the inevitable. She’s been married to Brian, a physicist, for fifteen years and they have a daughter, Meret. Dawn experiences a dramatic and life changing event which leads to a choice and she has to make a decision about which path or two ways her life should take. Should she The Book of Two Ways is an ancient Egyptian text and belief depicting the path a soul can take to the Afterlife. Dawn Edelstein lives in Boston, she’s a death doula preparing terminally ill patients and their families for the inevitable. She’s been married to Brian, a physicist, for fifteen years and they have a daughter, Meret. Dawn experiences a dramatic and life changing event which leads to a choice and she has to make a decision about which path or two ways her life should take. Should she seize the opportunity of a flight to Egypt to finish the work she started with Yale Egyptologist Wyatt Anderson years ago or take the obvious path and return home to Brian and Meret? First of all, the books starts well and I like the premise of the novel, it’s assessment of life’s path, the routes we take and through Dawn and her patients there’s reflection of what a life well lived might look like. There’s a good message too, about grabbing opportunities when they present themselves or live with regrets. The relationships in the book are good and I like the character of Dawn. The author has clearly done a mass of extensive research in preparing for the book. However, in between the good there’s a massive overload of information which almost bombards you and it feels like swallowing an encyclopaedia whole! If quantum physics can give you brain freeze that’s what I get when Brian enthusiastically lectures on the topic. I apologise Brian for not sharing your evident joy in the subject! I love Egyptology but again there’s way too much of it to take it in and I have to reread sections because my poor brain is saturated. This stops the story from flowing well in two ways (sorry!) - because as a reader the facts get in the way of the story and secondly you get lost in the morass. Some of the paragraphs are so long they feel like chapters. Overall, it’s a frustrating read with factual overburdening interrupting a good premise of love, loss and life changing moments. With thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    After my first read by Jodi Picoult Small Great Things, which received a multitude of 5-star reviews (including mine), I was excited to get started on her latest release. Unfortunately, I may have chosen the wrong book to continue the journey. There were so many reviews revealing the primary focus was on Egyptology, while the storyline itself got lost along the way. Sadly, I couldn’t agree more. Even though I went in with an open mind, willing to discover something new, it began feeling more li After my first read by Jodi Picoult Small Great Things, which received a multitude of 5-star reviews (including mine), I was excited to get started on her latest release. Unfortunately, I may have chosen the wrong book to continue the journey. There were so many reviews revealing the primary focus was on Egyptology, while the storyline itself got lost along the way. Sadly, I couldn’t agree more. Even though I went in with an open mind, willing to discover something new, it began feeling more like a text book. As though I was back in University looking for the lecture hall for contemporary fiction but ending up in Egyptology 101. Still I tried to power through, though admittedly my mind wandered. So much so I found myself skimming the history lesson and just trying to piece together the rest of the story. I’m not giving up on this author! Susanne just gifted me seven of her previous novels, now on my shelf waiting for me (us). I just know this one wasn’t the right fit for me. A buddy read with Susanne. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Publishing for an ARC to read and review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Kafka | JustReadingJess

    The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult is a very unique book that I enjoyed a lot. The Book of Two Ways is a very complex story. There is the double timeline which is very unique and I loved. The Book of Two Ways has historical information from Egypt. This was spread throughout the story of Dawn and Wyatt. I thought this added to the story. I have read all of Jodi Picoult’s books and loved all of them. The Book of Two Ways is no different. The Book of Two Ways has everything you would expect in a Pi The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult is a very unique book that I enjoyed a lot. The Book of Two Ways is a very complex story. There is the double timeline which is very unique and I loved. The Book of Two Ways has historical information from Egypt. This was spread throughout the story of Dawn and Wyatt. I thought this added to the story. I have read all of Jodi Picoult’s books and loved all of them. The Book of Two Ways is no different. The Book of Two Ways has everything you would expect in a Picoult novel: love, heartbreak, difficult choices and shocking revelations. I listened to the audiobook and thought Patti Murin did a great job. Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I love the way that Jodi Picoult continues to grow and explore new narrative structures: moving backwards in time in "A Spark of Light" a la "Time's Arrow," or offering us a nonlinear examination of one woman's exploration of "what might have been" in her latest novel, "The Book of Two Ways." And "what might have been" is indeed the crux of this emotionally rich and complex novel. Some of the small moments of families in crisis in Massachusetts are tender and wistful -- the protagonist's family, I love the way that Jodi Picoult continues to grow and explore new narrative structures: moving backwards in time in "A Spark of Light" a la "Time's Arrow," or offering us a nonlinear examination of one woman's exploration of "what might have been" in her latest novel, "The Book of Two Ways." And "what might have been" is indeed the crux of this emotionally rich and complex novel. Some of the small moments of families in crisis in Massachusetts are tender and wistful -- the protagonist's family, but also the family of the woman she helps care for as a death doula -- while the bigger moments in Egypt are rich with the history of how another, distant culture handled death and dying. I know I'll be pondering the arc and the revelations for a while, and savoring every moment of those contemplations.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bridgett

    I began reading this ARC just prior to the publication date, thinking I could breeze through...I thought wrong. Holy cow, is this a heavy read. Not emotionally heavy like My Dark Vanessa, but heavy like, "I have huge exams for my Egyptology, Quantum Physics, and Death for Dummies classes tomorrow and I haven't even started studying! I need crash courses...let me go find my Jodi Picoult book, The Book of Two Ways...that should do it!" Egypt. Death. Quantum Physics. Uh... The actual story seemed I began reading this ARC just prior to the publication date, thinking I could breeze through...I thought wrong. Holy cow, is this a heavy read. Not emotionally heavy like My Dark Vanessa, but heavy like, "I have huge exams for my Egyptology, Quantum Physics, and Death for Dummies classes tomorrow and I haven't even started studying! I need crash courses...let me go find my Jodi Picoult book, The Book of Two Ways...that should do it!" Egypt. Death. Quantum Physics. Uh... The actual story seemed to be secondary to the teaching. And while the information is mostly interesting (though way too heavy-handed), it simply didn't read much like a fictional story. The characters are great, and I found the Win thread particularly captivating, but the abrupt conclusion annoyed me. My recommendation is this...unless you're looking for a grand learning experience in your next read, I probably wouldn't pick up Picoult's latest. Available Now! **Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for my review copy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Happy Publication Day to this unique and fascinating read. I loved this beautiful book, which is about roads (or lives) not taken. Dawn is a mother to a young daughter and a wife to Brian, but years ago, she was an Egyptologist, excavating tombs with the handsome and charismatic Wyatt. She leaves Egypt, and Wyatt, abruptly to attend to her dying mother at home, and then meets Brian. She marries him and never goes back to Egypt or the man she left behind. Fifteen years later, when Dawn is in a pla Happy Publication Day to this unique and fascinating read. I loved this beautiful book, which is about roads (or lives) not taken. Dawn is a mother to a young daughter and a wife to Brian, but years ago, she was an Egyptologist, excavating tombs with the handsome and charismatic Wyatt. She leaves Egypt, and Wyatt, abruptly to attend to her dying mother at home, and then meets Brian. She marries him and never goes back to Egypt or the man she left behind. Fifteen years later, when Dawn is in a plane crash (no spoilers: this all occurs at at the beginning of the book) and facing possible death, it is not her husband she thinks of but her previous love Wyatt. The book then follows Dawn in her two lives: one at home in Boston with her husband and child, and her lost past life in Egypt, where she returns to see Wyatt and the life she left behind as an Egyptologist and excavator of Egyptian tombs. Dawn is two different people with the different men (Wyatt even has a different name for her) and she must choose one life, one man, and one person she wants to be going forward. The idea of the two possible lives is based on an ancient Egyptian text, The Book of Two Ways. I was fascinated by all the Egyptology in this book, the hieroglyphics, and the way the excavation of the tomb is used as a beautiful metaphor. There was definitely NOT too much Egyptology for me - but then, I have always been interested in Egypt and as a little girl I made my parents take me to see King Tut. This book renewed my interest and I did some heavy Googling to find out if the mummy king was real (fictional, but based on another real king) and the text of the Book of Two Ways was real (very real). This is a dense book with a lot of information (even some quantum physics!) and it will take a significant investment of your time and heart, but the rewards are great. It sounds wild, but somehow Jodi Picoult always makes me feel like I have learned something huge about life, and I leave her books feeling enlightened. In this case, the book had a lot of pretty deep things to say about life and death, and the unfinished things we feel we need to do or see before we die.. It was also beautifully validating of the fact that we all have paths in our lives that we did not take that perhaps we will always wonder about. The structure of the book and the several big reveals are just beautifully executed. I have some mixed feelings about the ending but it was lovely and fitting. Thanks to NetGalley, Jodi Picoult and Ballantine Books for the advance copy of this transcendent book in exchange for my honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Rosenblit

    An actual masterpiece from the queen, Jodi Picoult. The Book of Two Ways is structured with two possible paths - each one playing out what would happen if Dawn Edelstein chose one versus another. You might think this storytelling device has been popping up more often lately (and you'd be right) but trust me when I say Picoult spins this on its side in the best way. It's no secret that Picoult is my favorite author of all time and I've been reading her since high school when my mom begrudgingly l An actual masterpiece from the queen, Jodi Picoult. The Book of Two Ways is structured with two possible paths - each one playing out what would happen if Dawn Edelstein chose one versus another. You might think this storytelling device has been popping up more often lately (and you'd be right) but trust me when I say Picoult spins this on its side in the best way. It's no secret that Picoult is my favorite author of all time and I've been reading her since high school when my mom begrudgingly let me delve into her stash of books that were possibly "a little too mature" for a 13 year old but I'm grateful she did. In true JP style, this book is rich with research, mostly of Egyptian culture as well as in the world of a death doula and end of life practices and is as informative as it is entertaining. My best advice for this book is to go in blind, devour every page and appreciate the ride. You'll be glad you did. Thank you to Random House for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jannelies

    The minute I read some of the reviews of this book I decided I must read it. As many other people, I have a slight fascination for Egyptology – with a copy of the Book of the Dead in my study and 800 pictures taken during an unforgettable holiday to Egypt in 2012. In contrast to the situation nowadays, as the author describes, we took trains without a problem and even visited Minya. I must admit that the situation for tourists was deemed rather dangerous, so with a group of 18 people we were acc The minute I read some of the reviews of this book I decided I must read it. As many other people, I have a slight fascination for Egyptology – with a copy of the Book of the Dead in my study and 800 pictures taken during an unforgettable holiday to Egypt in 2012. In contrast to the situation nowadays, as the author describes, we took trains without a problem and even visited Minya. I must admit that the situation for tourists was deemed rather dangerous, so with a group of 18 people we were accompanied the whole way by at least 20 police officers. In more than one way, a holiday I will never forget but if I could do it all over, I would take The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult with me. Apart from all the other aspects that make this book so special, I could practically feel the heat and smell the smells again. And don’t forget, the beautiful colours of the paintings and the very, very impressive temples. You can call this a life-changing book. Who would have thought that mixing physics with Egyptology would lead to such an outstanding novel. Yes, sometimes it is necessary to have Wikipedia on hand to clarify certain details, but all in all it is a spectacular mix. We follow Dawn’s footsteps in past and present, but learn from Brian that past and present are not always what we think they are. And due to the strange habit for women to having to give up your name when you get married, at one point the story could have lead a whole other way, which sums up a big part of the book in just one sentence, spoken to Dawn when she travels to Egypt the second time. I had to sit and think about this book for a couple of days because it made such an impact. I’m very happy to have read it. If you are interested in Egyptology, you really must read it. If you’re not, but want to read an extraordinary story, you really must read it. It’s more than a book; it teaches us things – different things for different readers. If it was up to me, I would give this book every prize there is to be won. Many thanks to Netgalley for this review copy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sherri Thacker

    I see I’m in the minority with only giving this book 2 stars. It started out very slow and it didn’t grab me so i stopped at 25%. Too much Egyptian lingo for me. I found myself skimming through a lot of the little part I read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    4.5 stars Based on the current 3.7 star average rating this book is not getting a lot of love from the goodreads community. But I thought this was one of Jodi’s best books to date. The Book of Two Ways is an actual collection of Coffin texts that ancient Egyptians included in the coffins of their dead. This depicts two paths a soul can take to the same destination. Both paths are full of strife and temptation where the soul gets tested. It’s a perfect entry point for the story. Its about two choi 4.5 stars Based on the current 3.7 star average rating this book is not getting a lot of love from the goodreads community. But I thought this was one of Jodi’s best books to date. The Book of Two Ways is an actual collection of Coffin texts that ancient Egyptians included in the coffins of their dead. This depicts two paths a soul can take to the same destination. Both paths are full of strife and temptation where the soul gets tested. It’s a perfect entry point for the story. Its about two choices, two very different lives, both with joy and heartache. But the book synopsis almost makes this sound like a time travel or reincarnation story. Its anything but!! I am tempted to advise new readers to just dive in blind. There are two main stories that are told in conjunction and contrast to each other. One is about Dawn who is a death doula (what an interesting career choice!), married for 15 years to a loving husband and a daughter who hates her own body. This was initially the more pedestrian story for me but as it progressed, I enjoyed this one more and more. The other is about a younger Dawn, a student of Egyptology working hard towards her doctorate. I love how the Egypt story showed how this culture revered death with so many rituals to honor the departed. Juxtaposed with the western culture where any talk of death is avoided at all cost. These two Dawns are incompatible and vastly different from each other, yet they are on a collision course. There are so many themes that gets covered. Love, loss, regret, body image, death, the struggles of marriage and the watershed moments that changes your life forever. And the amount of research that must have gone into writing this book is impressive. The book tackles subjects like hieroglyphics and quantum physics in a way that made this not only an insightful read but a very interesting one as well. Absolutely recommended Netgalley ARC: Expected publish date 20 October 2020

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    The story starts with Dawn suddenly face to face with her own mortality when the plane she is traveling on plunges out of the sky. Then the tale turns backwards to Egypt and the life Dawn initially thought would always be hers, as an Egyptologist. But fate or circumstances had other plans for her. Dawn ends up getting a phone call that sends her home to care for her mother and young brother, Kieran. During this time she meets and come to love Brian. She ends up with a daughter Meret and married The story starts with Dawn suddenly face to face with her own mortality when the plane she is traveling on plunges out of the sky. Then the tale turns backwards to Egypt and the life Dawn initially thought would always be hers, as an Egyptologist. But fate or circumstances had other plans for her. Dawn ends up getting a phone call that sends her home to care for her mother and young brother, Kieran. During this time she meets and come to love Brian. She ends up with a daughter Meret and married to Brian. She has forged life for herself as a death doula, one who helps other people who are dying. Now 15 years later, when the world turns upside down there is only one person she can think of and it is not her husband. It is Wyatt, the one she left in Egypt years before at the archaeological site. Dawn begins to wonder about the life she could have lived with him as they searched for, researched and wrote about the ancient Egyptian Book of Two Ways. Dawn is faced with choices. What will she do? I have read and loved many of Jodi Picoult’s book and was so looking forward to reading this one. My thanks go to Allen & Unwin for my ACR to read and review. I started it with great excitement only to find it didn’t initially grab me and suck me in the way her books usually do. Actually finding it hard to write this review and think to say about this book. While I appreciate the amount of research Jodi Picoult puts into her work, I struggled a bit with this one. Now, it could be that’s me and I am not clever enough to understand all that I read about Egypt, hieroglyphics scattered throughout, archaeology, quantum physics and such. What I really did like in the area of research though was the couple of paragraphs about the intrinsic differences between tears, onion tears, tears of change, laughing tear and tears of grief. Who knew? Anyway, I found that fascinating. I have to say that the longer the story went on the more I felt for Brian and for Meret and the less I could understand, relate to or like Dawn. And one stage Brian calls her selfish and I absolutely agreed. She showed more care for her dying clients than she did for those she professed to love. So, while there were good aspects to this book, it was not one that compelled me to want to pick it up all the time. As a result, it took me a four days to get through it. Probably a first ever for me and a Jodi Picoult book as I usually power through them. There are going to be people who will love it but for me I liked parts, and did not like others. And I did not like the ending at all. For me, this ended up being very much a mixed reaction to this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    A reader picks up a Jodi Picoult novel for specific reasons. A story well told usually containing some mystery, with enclosed life lessons and usually a twist they didn't see coming. This novel, sadly, has none of that. I'm afraid she seems to have jumped the shark, or several sharks as the case may be. Much the same as with James Michener in later years, there doesn't seem to have been much editing going on here -- great swaths of pages that repeat needlessly. Both storylines are bloated with d A reader picks up a Jodi Picoult novel for specific reasons. A story well told usually containing some mystery, with enclosed life lessons and usually a twist they didn't see coming. This novel, sadly, has none of that. I'm afraid she seems to have jumped the shark, or several sharks as the case may be. Much the same as with James Michener in later years, there doesn't seem to have been much editing going on here -- great swaths of pages that repeat needlessly. Both storylines are bloated with detail and description that stall the plot, plus two romantic entanglements with exceptional, well educated men who are over the moon for the narrator, and that plot line gets old. Fast. If I hadn't had to write a review, I wouldn't have finished it..

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    This is the 28th book by Jodi Picoult that I’ve read, so I think it’s fair to say that she is one of my favorite authors. Even though my average rating for her books are 3.2 stars I love that I mostly get exactly what I signed up for. What makes JP unique is that she is so good at showing both sides of the story and making you understand and feel equally and deeply for both POV’s. But in The Book of Two Ways what had most impact for me, was how much she was able to pack into this story. I loved t This is the 28th book by Jodi Picoult that I’ve read, so I think it’s fair to say that she is one of my favorite authors. Even though my average rating for her books are 3.2 stars I love that I mostly get exactly what I signed up for. What makes JP unique is that she is so good at showing both sides of the story and making you understand and feel equally and deeply for both POV’s. But in The Book of Two Ways what had most impact for me, was how much she was able to pack into this story. I loved that I learned about being a death doula, about Egypt (history, religions), quantum mechanics, art, oppositional defiant disorder and even the science of tears. But being Jodi there is always emotional sharing as well – how to deal with an overweight, insecure teenager when both parents are skinny; small things to consider if you are dealing with a loved one dying or are dealing with a caregiver of someone that is dying or has just passed away etc. Imagine my surprise when the reason for most of the lower ratings on GR is because people felt that JP tried to cover too many issues and subjects. Different strokes for different folks I say. The only reason this did not get a full 5 stars is because the ending felt just too perfect. I was interested to read in the Author’s note that the Jodi wanted a different ending. I would love to know what that ending was, and if it would have worked better for me. With the 4 stars it falls just short of my absolute 5 star favorites: My Sister's Keeper, Small Great Things, Keeping Faith, Nineteen Minutes and House Rules.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    A riveting, thought-provoking novel about life, death and the path not taken SUMMARY Have you ever wondered where you would be if you had made different decisions in your life? Fifteen years ago Dawn Edelstein, was following her dream to be an archeologist studying ancient Egyptian hellographic, When she gets a call from her dying mother everything changes. She rushes home and becomes the caregiver for her mother and her thirteen year old brother. Today she is living in Boston with her physicist A riveting, thought-provoking novel about life, death and the path not taken SUMMARY Have you ever wondered where you would be if you had made different decisions in your life? Fifteen years ago Dawn Edelstein, was following her dream to be an archeologist studying ancient Egyptian hellographic, When she gets a call from her dying mother everything changes. She rushes home and becomes the caregiver for her mother and her thirteen year old brother. Today she is living in Boston with her physicist husband and their beautiful teenage daughter with self-image issues. Instead of her career in Egyptology She is a death doula and spends her life helping people make the final transition to death. But now she is thinking, what if.... Several factors have caused Dawn to begin questioning her past . After miraculously surviving a plane crash, Dawn is now contemplating which path to take. Should she return to Boston, and her beloved family. Or should she journey back to the Egyptian archaeological site she left over a decade earlier, and attempt to reconnect with her long lost love. REVIEW THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS is a riveting, thought-provoking novel of a woman questioning life-changing decisions she made years earlier. Picoult’s writing covers an intriguingly wide array of heavy topics for one novel. In addition to her typical emotionally evocative writing, in this case a long lost love story, she throws in a little education for us on quantum mechanics, end-of-life coaching, and Egyptology. Love it! Picoult also draws symbolic parallels of the ancient Egyptian, text of The Book of Two Ways and Dawn’s current mid-life crisis. The ancient text depicts the paths a soul can take through the afterlife. The two paths, one land and one water, zigzag across a dangerous landscape and are separated by the Lake of Fire which can destroy, but also revive. I particularly enjoyed Dawn’s character and the exploration of how the choices we made in the past changed our lives and make us who we are today. I listened to the audio version of the book and loved the narration. Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Publisher Random House Publishing Group Ballantine Published September 22, 2020 Narrated Patti Murrin Review www.bluestockingreviews.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie

    Never thought I would put a DNF next to a Jodi Picoult book but I just couldn't get into this one and have too many other books I can't wait to get my hands on to spend more time with it. Felt too much like non-fiction and a plot that I just couldn't get into. Won't rate this one since I only read about 25% (and it took me four days to struggle through that much).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    Wow!!!! Release date is September 22, 2020!!! This one packs a punch with emotion driven themes on life, on dying and on love. A plane crash shakes Dawn, but it’s really more avoid being torn between two lives and two loves. I love the way that author Jodi Picoult weaves the stories together while allowing the reader to get to know the characters. Brian and Wyatt both have different things to offer to Dawn... and learning from some of her wisest patients just may be the best prescription for fi Wow!!!! Release date is September 22, 2020!!! This one packs a punch with emotion driven themes on life, on dying and on love. A plane crash shakes Dawn, but it’s really more avoid being torn between two lives and two loves. I love the way that author Jodi Picoult weaves the stories together while allowing the reader to get to know the characters. Brian and Wyatt both have different things to offer to Dawn... and learning from some of her wisest patients just may be the best prescription for figuring out her life. Clear, well developed characters with a simmering tension that is set to boil over.... but will it?? Alternating timelines are woven together with deep soul searching that resonates deep within me- even now after the book has been down for hours. I love the history and the way that Egypt comes alive with the history, setting and scenes as Dawn chases after her future. Totally enjoyed and would really recommend to my friends!!! Thank you to NetGalley for this temporary digital advance review copy for me to read and enjoy. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I usually start my review with a quote. I found, however, that nearly ALL of this narrative was worthy to highlight, so I'll just come out with this: you must read this book. It's profound. It's heartbreaking. It poses questions that will make you examine every decision you've ever made. and, strangely enough, this is a story that I loved despite feeling that the main character was superfluous in so many ways. The synopsis provided by the publisher gives the overall premise (which actually isn't I usually start my review with a quote. I found, however, that nearly ALL of this narrative was worthy to highlight, so I'll just come out with this: you must read this book. It's profound. It's heartbreaking. It poses questions that will make you examine every decision you've ever made. and, strangely enough, this is a story that I loved despite feeling that the main character was superfluous in so many ways. The synopsis provided by the publisher gives the overall premise (which actually isn't very accurate but NO SPOILERS) and introduces the concept of a woman who has a second chance to evaluate a choice she'd made 15 years ago. A do-over in a way. The story is told in an unusual narrative that mimics Dawn's obsession with her research on THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS, a coffin text found on the floor of the coffin holding a mummified body in the Middle Egyptian necropolis of Deir el Bersha. (Dawn gave up her doctoral candidacy in archaeology at Yale due to a family emergency and retrained to become a death doula.) In short, the "two ways" refers to the two paths that lead to the netherworld and eternal afterlife. One path is water and the other is land, and the chapters in the book are labeled that way. This concept is a metaphor for Dawn's life and choices she made. But, I digress. What captivated me was the information. I was fascinated by all of the archeology details and the history. The descriptions also included line drawings that fully engaged my attention and, though the learning curve was steep, I love when I find a novel that makes me think. In addition, the topic of assisting someone in the dying process was extremely riveting. There was so much in this book to absorb and contemplate, the least of it being Dawn and her search for herself. Sorry, but I did not care for her selfishness and her behavior. This was a very complex novel that dealt with the real life questions about "what might have been" and paralleled the hurdles and tests in that guidebook for the Egyptians navigating the afterlife. Once I had a couple of hours to sit down and read, I could not put this book down until I reached the end. Bravo to the author for the intense research she did in order to be able to expound on everything from quantum physics to ancient Egypt. If you're looking for mindless entertainment, this is not the book for you. Jodi Picoult was able to translate her passion for all the subjects within to the page with her incredible writing talents. I'm giving this one 4.5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the e-book ARC to read, review, and recommend. I'm well aware that this review doesn't do this book justice but I can only say that I hope it moves you as it did me. What a great selection for a book club and I am hopeful that a film adaptation is forthcoming as well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kati Berman

    The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Piccoult I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, read most of her books and liked many of them, especially the earlier ones. I was excited to get The Book of Two Ways from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. While I appreciated the thorough research that went into writing this book both on Egyptology and being a death dula, this book just was not for me, especially in the middle of a pandemic. I couldn’t deal with all the morbid issues surrounding death and I didn’t c The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Piccoult I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, read most of her books and liked many of them, especially the earlier ones. I was excited to get The Book of Two Ways from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. While I appreciated the thorough research that went into writing this book both on Egyptology and being a death dula, this book just was not for me, especially in the middle of a pandemic. I couldn’t deal with all the morbid issues surrounding death and I didn’t care for the minute detail of Egyptology. So, overall I can only give three stars to this novel, all of it for the research. Thanks NetGalley, Random House and Jodi Picoult for the advanced copy.

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