Happy Book Birthday to Should I Still Wish!

Book Birthdays celebrate one year of a book’s life in tweets, reviews, and more. This month we’re saying Happy First Book Birthday to Should I Still Wish: A Memoir (Nebraska, 2017) by John W. Evans. Evans is the Draper Lecturer of Creative Nonfiction at Stanford University, where he was previously a Jones Lecturer and Stegner Fellow. He is the author of Young Widower: A Memoir (Nebraska, 2014), winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize; The Consolations, winner of the 2015 Peace Corps Writers Best Poetry Book; and two poetry chapbooks.

About the book: 

In this candid and moving memoir, John W. Evans articulates the complicated joys of falling in love again as a young widower. Though heartbroken after his wife’s violent death, Evans realizes that he cannot remain inconsolable and adrift, living with his in-laws in Indiana. Motivated by a small red X on a map, Evans musters the courage for a cross-country trip. From the Badlands to Yellowstone to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, Evans’s hope and determination propel him even as he contemplates his vulnerability and the legacy of a terrible tragedy.

Should I Still Wish chronicles Evans’s efforts to leave an intense year of grief behind, to make peace with the natural world again, and to reconnect with a woman who promises, like San Francisco itself, a life of abundance and charm. With unflinching honesty Evans plumbs the uncertainties, doubts, and contradictions of a paradoxical experience in this love story, celebration of fatherhood, meditation on the afterlife of grief and resilience, and, ultimately, showcase for life’s many profound incongruities.


“Poignant. . . . [Should I Still Wish] offers candid insight into the baffling interplay of love, loss, and the balm of memory.”—Kirkus
“The richness of [Evans’] perceptions, his intelligence and his honesty are arresting.”—Kenyon Review
“With unflinching honesty, [Evans] explores the uncertainties, doubts and contradictions which eventually will lead to a new love story, celebration of fatherhood, meditation on the afterlife of grief and resilience and an inspirational story which leads to a new wife and beautiful children of his own.”—Peace Corps Worldwide
“It’s through his honest and candid expression of these emotions that Evans is able to capture that which is common and vital to everyone’s grief regardless of its genesis.”—River Teeth
“A poignant meditation.”—Mercury News
“A somber but hopeful love letter, [Should I Still Wish] views [Evans’] young family’s shared joys with an eye toward the future.”—Stanford Magazine
“Very moving.”—Wisconsin Daily Citizen

On the blog:

Online features: 

On Twitter: 

A word from the author:

I remain just so incredibly grateful to the University of Nebraska Press, for making a home for my two memoirs, advocating for them, and this past year, treating the arrival of Should I Still Wish into the world with care and grace. It is wonderful to have such dedicated champions for the book, and to see their work realized in lovely reviews and notices, as well as the readings, interviews, and honors of the past year. I fear that highlighting any one would only obscure my deep thanks for all of them. So, on a personal note, I’ll add that a framed print of Daniel Haskett’s lovely cover design hangs over my dresser. It means the world to see it, every morning. Thank you.


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