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WISH YOU WERE HERE by Amy Welborn

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Travels Through Loss and Hope

By Amy Welborn

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-71638-5
Publisher: Image/Doubleday

Catholic author and blogger Welborn's (Listening to God with Blessed John Paul II, 2011, etc.) part travelogue, part family memoir written in the year following her husband's sudden death in 2009.

Five months after the fatal heart attack of her husband, Michael, the author impulsively took a trip to Sicily with her children. They traveled from their home in Alabama in part because of Catholicism's roots in Italy, where Welborn revisited biblical and personal experiences of hope and sorrow. She tethers her musings on religion with family vignettes and the longing for the quotidian details of their former life, such as Michael's Saturday excursions with their sons to Sam's Club for free food samples. Welborn's directness is sometimes superfluous ("Dungeons are, of course, dark"), but her honesty, occasional humor and willingness to explore her contradictory emotions make her an engaging narrator. Instead of feeling sorry for herself and her children, she forged ahead, exploring a country had never visited. In a rental car, the family traveled from town to town, visiting churches and monuments. In lieu of writing scenes, however, Welborn summarizes conversations and encounters. This makes the book feel more like a diary than a structured story, but her optimism and unwavering belief in the power of prayer give this memoir a cohesive theme.

Not especially illuminating, but this book may appeal to Christians interested in personal stories of finding hope after loss.