Picoult’s novel The Book of Two Ways digs into this very question and the result is incredibly thought-provoking. Dawn Edelstein was once a young grad student working on a dig in Egypt, in love with a fellow Egyptologist, and getting ever closer to proving a radical new theory about ancient Egyptians’ burial rituals for the road to the afterlife. Then a phone call from home changed everything. Fifteen years later, Dawn is married, with a teenage daughter, and working in Boston as a death doula, helping the dying prepare to leave this world in the best way possible. When Dawn has a near-death experience she is confronted with the question of whether the good life she has could have been a great one. Dawn doesn’t just ponder the question—she returns to Egypt, and the man she once loved, to see if she can find the answer.
icoult incorporates fascinating details about Egyptology into her novel—the title comes from an ancient Egyptian tome of the same name—bringing history and a universal connection into the story. The Book of Two Ways is a provocative exploration into monumental questions: about the life we are living, who we want to be with when we die, and whether it’s possible—and acceptable—to change our mind, return to the trailhead, and go another way.