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Tag Archives: Books & Reading, Friday Reads
If I were still a reader’s advisor, I would prescribe this book to anyone about to make a major life decision. Someone who is rifling through the archives of life, pondering what might have been if life had pivoted in another direction. There has been plenty of time for this during Covid, so it is sure to be a good read! With one caveat I will mention towards the end of this review.
This book opens with Dawn Edelstein plummeting to the ground in a crashing plane. She is a death doula, working with the dying as they transition out of life. With a husband and daughter at home, she hadn’t expected to shepherd herself along this journey quite so quickly. As Dawn braced for impact, she thought of Wyatt, an Egyptologist she worked with in graduate school.
Dawn survived, but she crash landed in a midlife crisis. The airline offered to send the survivors anywhere they wanted to go in the world. With a head full of memories and the clothes on her back, Dawn went to Egypt to find the one that got away. So it begins.
I assure you, this is not a supernatural story. Dawn is indeed still alive, she does go to Egypt, and Wyatt is doing a dig during the off-season. As it turns out Dawn is a former PhD student studying the Book of Two Ways, an ancient Egyptian map to the afterlife.
As Dawn digs into her past, she uncovers pieces of life that are not so rosy. The death doula has a few skeletons in her closet. Again not supernatural. She didn’t kill anyone and her murdered lovers do not come back to haunt her. The fact that I feel the need to reassure you of this probably speaks more to the other books I have been reading than this one.
Anyway, as the real Book of Two Ways shows there are multiple paths to the afterlife, this book proves that life has options too. The hard part is choosing what will lead to your most fulfilling life. What does that look like? There are too many paths and they all ultimately lead to death. Death permeates this book like a promise.
Alternating between darkness and light, The Book of Two Ways proves that you only live once. So please, go on a journey with Dawn into the past. It’s the only way to make a better future. I won’t say whether she winds up with the one that got away. That’s part of the journey.
So here’s the caveat. Dawn is a former PhD. She speaks ad nauseam about Egyptology, and a bit about quantum physics. If your eyes gloss over and you skim over the meat of these sections, the world is not going to end. Often, when I talk to real PhDs, this sometimes happens. Their eyes light up and words spill out to form a new theory about the world. The info. dumps about Egyptology are realistic, but make this book about you. Read what matters to you.
The Book of Two Ways carves out a path to explore life. There is no point in ruminating on how it ends. Find yourself between the pages. Choose the experiences you truly want to live.
“Between life and death there is a library,” she said. “And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived.”
This is the idea behind The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I debated how to write this review without giving too much of the story away and a pro/con list seemed the best way to do that.
-An easy read. I had it finished in just a few sittings.
-There are some beautifully written passages that just envelop you.
-The characters are very relatable.
-Those beautifully written passages? For me they sometimes felt misplaced and would totally take me out of the story.
-The plot leads you in such a way that you don’t necessarily want to take the time to read everything fully, you just want to get to the next plot point.
-Everything about the book feels very unoriginal and overdone. It seems more like something you’d see someone write for a short story class in college, not from a well-known author.
During the pandemic reading, for me, has become more of a chore than being enjoyable. For every book I do manage to finish there are ten that I don’t, or don’t even really start. It was nice to find a book that caught my attention enough to stick with it and even with all its faults it wasn’t a burden to read.
Would I suggest rushing out and buying it? No, but if you happen across it in the library someday maybe check it out.