Quotes from Where Things Come Back

John Corey Whaley ·  228 pages

Rating: (18.3K votes)


“Life, he says, doesn’t have to be so bad all the time. We don’t have to be anxious about everything. We can just be. We can get up, anticipate that the day will probably have a few good moments and a few bad ones, and then just deal with it. Take it all in and deal as best we can.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“Your mind has a way of not letting you forget things you wish you could. Especially with people. Like, you'll always try your best to forget things that people say to you or about you, but you always remember. And you'll try to forget things you've seen that no one should see, but you just can't do it. And when you try to forget someone's face, you can't get it out of your head.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“I can't seem to be a pessimist long enough to overlook the possibility of things being overwhelmingly good.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“I often found myself in situations where I had, without thinking, said too much to too many with too little caution.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“When I asked him the meaning of life, Dr. Webb got very quiet and then told me life has no one meaning, it only has whatever meaning each of us puts on our own life. I'll tell you now that I still don't know the meaning of mine. And Lucas Cader, with all his brains and talent, doesn't know the meaning of his, either. But I'll tell you the meaning of all this. The meaning of some bird showing up and some boy disappearing and you knowing all about it. The meaning of this was not to save you, but to warn you instead. To warn you of confusion and delusion and assumption. To warn you of psychics and zombies and ghosts of your lost brother. To warn you of Ada Taylor and her sympathy and mothers who wake you up with vacuums. To warn you of two-foot-tall birds that say they can help, but never do.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“I wanted the world to sit back, listen up, and let me explain to it that when someone is sad and hopeless, the last thing they need to feel is that they are the only ones in the world with that feeling. So, if you feel sorry for someone, don't pretend to be happy. Don't pretend to care only about their problems.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“...God was like the best musician in the world, because he put together all the sounds of nature and gave people like Jimi Hendrix his fingers and John Lennon his brain.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“His brother, he thinks, was in love with everyone he knew.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“People didn't like having to come up with something smart or helpful or sensitive to say, and they weren't intelligent enough to realize that all we wanted, all I wanted, was to be treated the same as I had been three months before. I wanted to be ignored because of my eccentricities, not because of my brother. And I wanted to be offered help from people because they cared about me, not because they felt some strange social obligation to do so. I wanted the world to sit back, listen up, and let me explain to it that when someone is sad and hopeless, the last thing they need to feel is that they are the only ones in the world with that feeling. So, if you feel sorry for someone, don't pretend to be happy. Don't pretend to care only about their problems. People aren't stupid. Not all of us, anyway. If someone's little brother disappears, don't give him a free hamburger to make him feel better-- it doesn't work. It's a good burger, sure, but it means nothing. It means something only to the Mr. Burkes of the world. Offering free meals, free stays in condos in Florida, even free plumbing. And we let them. We let them because they need it, not us. We didn't let them help us because we needed it, we let them help us because inside of humans is this thing, this unnamed need to feel as if we were useful in the world. To feel as if we have something significant to contribute. So, old ladies, make your casseroles and set them on doorsteps. And old men, grill your burgers and give them to teenagers with cynical worldviews. The world can't be satisfied, but that need to fix it all can.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“It was like looking at the sun and not going blind”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“I call it the Pretty Paradox. Pretty girls always want guys who treat them, and most everyone else, like complete shit. It is perhaps one of the most baffling phenomena of history."---Cullen”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“A sibling represents a person's past, present, and future”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“We let them help because they needed it, not us. We didn't let them help us because we needed it, we let them help us because inside of humans is this thing, this unnamed need to feel as if we are usefel in the world. To feel as if we have something significant to contribute."---Cullen”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“People dreamed. People left. And they all came back.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“I actually didn't mind too much that Gabriel had spent the past four nights in my room. He was relatively quiet, didn't go through my things, and liked to listen to my weird book ideas late at night. When I told him that I wanted to write a book about zombies taking over our town, he suggested that I make myself the hero and said nonchalantly, "You could even have to kill me after I get bitten. Wouldn't that be an awesome twist?" I didn't tell him then but I had no intention of ever letting him die in any book.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“Fulton Dumas, do you know where Gabriel Witter is?"
"No," he said, his expression changing suddenly from surprised embarrassment to sadness.
"Are you sure?" Lucas asked.
"Why would I know where he is?"
"I don't know, Fulton. Why do you need a thousand stuffed bears? Have you seen Gabriel Witter?”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“Cullen?"
"Hey, Mom."
"Can you do me a favor?" she asked in that way that implied that saying no would cause someone to die.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“Ada Taylor knelt beside me on the floor as I cried for the first time over the thought that my favorite person in the world was probably dead.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“If you had to pick between living on the East Coast or the West Coast, which would you choose?" I never told her what I wanted to give as my answer, that I would choose whichever coast my brother happened to be hiding on or locked in a basement near or buried under. I never told her that even if I did know what I wanted to be, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving Lily as long as I knew my brother might show up one day or that whoever was responsible for his leaving was still out there somewhere waiting to do it again and again and again until a thousand Cullen Witters were seeing zombies of their dead brothers standing by their beds at night. I would need to be there to protect him.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“It was easier for me to hate everyone in town than hate myself for being afraid I'd be just like them.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“I jotted down Oslo After Death. This would be a great title for a book, I thought. That is what I do sometimes. I jot down titles for books that I one day intend to write.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“The Quit Man cometh, his minion at his heels.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“The thing to know about my brother was that even though he was fifteen, he looked to be about the same age as me. Only, I'm not sure if that was because he looked older or I looked younger. I like to think it was a healthy mixture of both.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“I guess the most interesting thing about Gabriel was that he didn't seem to care at all what people were thinking about him. He walked down the hallway at school with his head down not because he wanted to avoid being seen or dissuade social predators or anything , but simply because he didn't see any reason to lift up his head.”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“Isn't it better not knowing? Like, just liking each other and seeing each other all the time without any definition to it?”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


“When one is sitting in his bedroom and, happening to glance out the window, sees his little brother walking slowly down the driveway, he immediately jumps up, knocks over a stack of magazines piled up beside him, and runs through the doorway and down the hall. He throws open the front door, slams his body, against the screen, and hearing the tap tap tap behind him, jumps over the porch steps and down to the driveway. He stands several yards in front of his brother. He considers running, but doesn't. His arms and legs are shaking. His bottom lip between his teeth, he walks slowly and carefully, making not a sound. He stops, reaches one arm out, and pokes Gabriel Witter on the left shoulder with his index finger. He smiles the slightest of smiles.
Book Title #89: Where Things Come Back”
― John Corey Whaley, quote from Where Things Come Back


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About the author

John Corey Whaley
Born place: The United States
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