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Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope Paperback – February 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Image; Original edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307716384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307716385
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Amy Welborn's latest book is a must-read spiritual treasure. It reveals not only the heart-wrenching dynamics of grief but also the odd and wonderful way grace illumines even the thickest darkness. Funny, engagingly written, spiritually profound, Wish You Were Here is a gem."  --Fr. Robert Barron, author of Catholicism.

Wish You Were Here  is the story of Amy Welborn's trip to Sicily ...in the aftermath of her husband's sudden death. Her pitch-perfect prose moves seamlessly from the winding, unknown roads of Italy to the winding, unknown roads of grief. -- Mary DeTurris Post, author of Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship.

"Far from a dry theological treatise, Welborn masterfully blends individual struggle, faith pondering, a what-happened-on-summer-vacation travelogue, and the wry insights of a mother traveling with 4-, 8- and 17-year-olds into a very personal yet very universal meditation on death." -- John M. Grondelski, National Catholic Register. 

"Amy Welborn's latest book is a must-read spiritual treasure. It reveals not only the heart-wrenching dynamics of grief but also the odd and wonderful way grace illuminates even the thickest darkness. Funny, engagingly written, spiritually profound, Wish You Were Here is a gem." —Robert Baron, author of Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith


“Amy Welborn says it best: ‘Everything but love has been burned away and a feast awaits.’ A brave and true memoir of grief, resurrected.”  
—Heather King, author of Shirt of Flame: A Year with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

About the Author

AMY WELBORN has written for Our Sunday Visitor, Catholic News Service, Beliefnet, the New York Times, and Commonweal. She has five children and lives in Birmingham, Alabama.
 

More About the Author

I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham, Alabama. I've written many books on various elements of Catholic life: spirituality, saints and history.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I have read Lewis' book in 5 different university courses.
Steven R. McEvoy
Amy Welborn's Wish You Were Here is a story about that kind of love and that kind of loss.
David Withun
I feel like nothing I can say will do justice to this book.
Melanie B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Gill on February 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have experienced the loss of someone close to you, recently or ever; if you are an observant Catholic, traditionalist or even progressive; if you love good, sharp, heartfelt, closely observed writing -- you will want to read this book.

If you don't fit into any of those categories above, it may not be for you. I don't fit terribly well into any but the third clump, even if I am religious and I certainly work in and around loss (and am likely to experience more directly over whatever years I have left). What I try to imagine is a so-called "general reader" who might cheerfully be described as fitting none of the aforementioned qualities. That person, looking for some light, bouncy reading that rarely if ever calls on the reader to pause and reflect on their own life and situation, will probably not enjoy this slim but hefty tome at all.

They might want to remember where to find this book someday, though.

I followed, at one-internet-remove, the events described in this story as they happened, and grieved along with and prayed for most of these people, the author included. So I'll admit a bit of . . . rooting interest? . . . and a sense that my own review might not be entirely dispassionate and detached enough to see what the work's failings might be.

For the life of me, I can't figure out what they might be. I am very curious to read more reviews by people who never have seen any of Amy's blogs in the past, aren't Catholic, and may have less direct experience of having someone important to them die. My sense is that this will be a long-lasting classic, "A Grief Observed" with much more humor and a willingness to let irony take center stage from time to time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melanie B on February 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
I feel like nothing I can say will do justice to this book. It is so intense so personal, so that at times--most of the time--it feels like eavesdropping. But it is beautiful, a treasure I am so profoundly grateful that Amy was wiling to share this journey with us.

The book is very easy to pick up and put down, which is good because it's a book I want to nibble at rather than gulp. To swallow it all too quickly, to wolf it down as is too often my wont, would be a terrible shame. This is a journey to savor slowly. Partly because sometimes, sometimes it's a little bitter. Mostly, though, because it is so beautiful and rich.

The short sections, each one like a cut facet on a gem, sharp and focused, jump back and forth. Now you are in Sicily, now on the other side of the Atlantic back at home. Now you are in the "present" on a curious journey through an ancient land, full of sun and shadow, sparkling ocean, vivid architecture, curiosities and personalities at every turn. Now you are wandering through the halls of grief, startled to find death just over your shoulder. Faith is everywhere, elusive, beguiling, always the end of the journey, glimpsed at every turn.

Its a magical sort of mash-up of travel memoir and a very Catholic exploration of grief. She does both genres so well but the way she slips seamlessly from one to the other is sort of breathtaking. I read a chapter to my sister while we were making dinner and even though my sister had no context she was captivated. So was my five ear-old who wandered in and stopped to listen and who later begged me to read her more. The prose is lyrical but down to earth.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lisa M. Hendey VINE VOICE on February 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Wish You Were Here is a chronicle of journeys -- the journey to far away places, the journey through the darkness of grief towards the light of healing, the journey to ponder life's greatest mysteries and it's smallest riddles. Through it all, Amy Welborn treats those of us who have loved her work for years to her best writing yet. Along the way with Amy, we discover new destinations, new adventures, and new hope. Stunningly beautiful, deeply profound, and with that classic Welborn wit and style, Wish You Were Here is a treat that deserves to be savored and shared.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan F. Sullivan on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Amy Welborn's new memoir, Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope, details the aftermath of her husband Michael's sudden death in February of 2009 -- specifically, the trip she took with her daughter and two young sons to Sicily a few months after. Part travel diary, part spiritual memoir, part reflection on grief, Wish You Were Here resonated deeply with me and my own experiences following the death of my father shortly before my senior year of college.

Welborn writes with honesty about her grief. She details her anger, her fear, and her sadness. But these details don't stand as mere self-pity; she makes numerous parallels between her spiritual journey through grief and the physical journey she undertakes with her family -- between the life-giving destruction of Mt. Edna and the illusory nature of death; watching her son build sandcastles on the Italian beach and her attempt to begin building a new life; between regrets of things unsaid and undone and seeking to "live in the now" an ocean away.

And yet, at it's core, Wish You Were Here is a hopeful and faith-filled book. If there is a theological center -- the theme Welborn comes to several times -- it is her husband's admonition to live for God Alone:

"I would do that whiny thing and I would ask him, Do I make you happy?, and he would sigh and say that he would be in bad shape indeed if his happiness depended on my existence. Not because he wasn't happy now, but because he needed to be "happy" -- at peace -- whether I was around or not, no matter if he liked his job or not, or whatever was going on or whoever was around him. He'd make his case as he always did that our happiness shouldn't depend on anything except God. I should be able to be happy, he'd say, even you died tomorrow.
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