Book review: Traveling with Ghosts by Shannon Leone Fowler


Traveling with Ghosts by Shannon Leone Fowler (first published in 2017 by Orion)

It wasn’t big shark or terrifying deep ocean monster that killed him, but a box jellyfish that wrapped itself around Sean's legs as he stood waist-high in the calm Thai ocean.

Traveling with Ghosts is a heart-breaking memoir that would make an incredible movie.

When Shannon loses the love her life in such an unexpected and freakish way, it collapses her world.  At first she blamed herself, because she had just wrapped her legs around his waist as they stood embracing in the shallow water.

Seconds later he was running back to the beach in agony, and moments after that he died.  If she had been standing the jellyfish would have stung her instead.

Terrifyingly, this deadly box jellyfish was unheard of in Thai waters.  Using her research skills and knowledge of the ocean, Shannon began to investigate further.

She found records of many more deaths that were attributed to things such as drunkenness or allergic reactions, that were actually due to the same box jellyfish - the most venomous animal in the world.

This journey takes her all over the world, and she learns to wrestle with her grief as she contemplates other tragedies such as the horrors of Auschwitz and the Israeli bombings.

It's a memoir that gives the reader insight into the grieving process, and how one woman recovered from her loss in very unexpected ways.

It's also a book that makes you want to call your loved ones and spend that hour extra with your husband, even though you're exhausted.  Tragedy can be instant and random, showing no favourites.

Traveling with Ghosts is a book I will hold onto forever and read again in times of loss, or on the days I need to be reminded how important every moment is.

Read more of Michelle’s reviews on her blog.

Purchase a copy of the book on

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