cover image Traveling with Ghosts: A Memoir

Traveling with Ghosts: A Memoir

Shannon Leone Fowler. Simon & Schuster, $26 (294p) ISBN 978-1-5011-0779-5

Fowler, a lover of the ocean and marine life from an early age who trained as a marine biologist, was devastated when her fiancé was killed by a jellyfish while they were on vacation in Thailand. Fowler’s moving account traces her grief following the accident. Unable to face the ocean, Fowler forced herself back into the world, traveling for four months and visiting 10 countries off the usual tourist routes. She spent time with the two Israeli women who supported her throughout the ordeal in Thailand; she ventures to war-ravaged Sarajevo. Fowler notes that, “After Israel and Bosnia, Croatia seemed safe and peaceful and mellow.” Wherever she travels, however, memories of her fiancé are with her, and she continues to come to terms with his death: she learns of other numerous deaths—she never is able to determine how many—from the same deadly species of jellyfish near where her fiancé died. Fowler notes that there were no warnings regarding the poisonous jellyfish, and officials initially attempted to claim his death was caused by drunkenness. This is nicely written and informative journey on the path to healing. (Feb.)