The book opens very dramatically. Dawn Edelstein is one of only a few survivors of a plane crash. In those moments right before the crash, the first person who enters her mind is Wyatt, the man she had a romantic relationship with over 15 years ago while working together in Egypt. Surprisingly, it is not her husband and teenage daughter at home in Boston that enter her mind first. Told in two story lines, the book explores Dawn's travels to Egypt to track down Wyatt and her life in Boston where she serves as a death doula and is married to Brian, her physicist husband.
Even though I have an interest in Egyptology, the book felt almost too academic and bogged down at points. That combined with trying to understand all the quantum physics topics covered made for heavy reading. Then also trying to cope with the topics of life and death for the terminally ill clients Dawn serves, and the body issues her teenage daughter is dealing with, made for a very difficult read. I always appreciate how Jodi Picoult handles controversial subjects and makes you see different sides to issues, but this just felt like too many topics for one book. Dawn was not a character that I could relate to or even really wanted to read about. Her moral compass seems to skate both sides of issues, depending on which side serves her best at that moment, and those qualities didn't seem to match up with someone who has a career of helping people through the death process. As the final stinger for me, the ending completely frustrated me. It was like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure novel and then you pick your ending, but when you turn to page 99 to see what happens, that page is missing.
Of course, I will always read Jodi Picoult's books and while this novel was not to my taste, I appreciate her work as a writer and will continue to buy her books.
I received this novel courtesy of Ballantine Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.