Warning: This review contains what some may consider spoilers. Read on at your own risk!
I don’t like surprises. That’s why I prefer to read paperbacks; when things get grim, you can flip ahead and read the ending – just to make sure everything turns out okay. That’s not exactly the case with audiobooks, which is how I listened to The Book of Two Ways. I may not be an ebook fan, but audiobooks allow you to soak up all the stories while driving, doing laundry, grocery shopping, or some other mundane adult task.
The first audiobook I can remember listening to was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone back in 5th grade. Of course, that wasn’t as sophisticated as today’s options (I enjoy Audible). Back then it was a physical cassette tape. But I loved listening to the story with different voices and learning how to pronounce the character names properly.
Anyway, this time when I listened to the book, the ending was a surprise – and for me, not a great one. Why? Because it was open-ended, up for the reader’s guess and interpretation. For someone who hates surprises, and just needs to KNOW, that is honestly complete torture.
Title: The Book of Two Ways
Author: Jodi Picoult
Rating: Enjoyable (well, maybe not the ending)
Genre: Literary Fiction
Page Count: 432
I’ve been a fan of Jodi Picoult’s writing since my high school librarian gave me a copy of The Pact in my junior year. Her writing is very enjoyable and the subjects well-researched. For this particular book, she actually traveled to Egypt to understand more about the topic she was undertaking. Now, that is dedication!
The Book of Two Ways is split into two alternating storylines: Water/Boston and Land/Egypt. I found it to be a bit confusing until the storylines converged towards the end, and I was able to put everything together.
The protagonist, Dawn, has led a very interesting life, first as a budding Egyptologist excavating tombs in the desert in her twenties, then as a death doula, helping her patients transition to the afterlife when she’s close to 40. She had a whirlwind romance with her former colleague and competitor in Egypt, and after her mother’s untimely death, returned home to Boston to care for her younger brother and ended up marrying a “safe” choice.
This book is the story of Dawn, her husband, her lost love, and her daughter. When the two storylines (and partners) converge, she has to make a choice – does she want the lover she let go 15 years ago? Or the husband who’s been her solid ground for over a decade?
Jodi Picoult is a wonderful storyteller. She even went to Egypt to research the subjects in the book. It’s a wonderful story about family drama, the choices we make, and reminiscing about what could have been. There are two story lines that are a little tricky to follow until close to the end when everything converges. The ending is up to the reader’s interpretation – which can either be enjoyable or maddening.