Ashes in the Ocean by Sebastian Slovin - a review

Book details :

Paperback : 200 pages

Genre : Memoir

Publisher : Nature Unplugged (March 2018)

ISBN-10 : 978-0-692-05119-1

Book description :

Vernon Slovin was a legend. He was one of the best swimmers in his home country of South Africa, and for a time, in the world. He prided himself on being the best. The best in sports, business, and life. He had it all, a big home, athletic prestige, fancy clothes and cars, and a beautiful wife and family. Everything was going his way until it all came tumbling down. He lost everything, including his own life. In the wake of his suicide he left his wife and two young children.

In this riveting memoir, Vernon's son, Sebastian Slovin chronicles his experience of living in the shadow of a suicide, and his journey out of the darkness and into the light. Slovin shares his quest to uncover why his father took his own life. A pilgrimage that led him around the world and eventually back to himself.

Ashes in the Ocean is a powerful story about facing one's fears and choosing a different path.

Watch the book trailer for Ashes in the Ocean on YouTube

My review

Losing someone you love is hard enough. It is especially hard when it is by their own hand. Such an event can cause unresolved feelings of anger and guilt in those who are left behind. This is precisely the topic that Sebastian Slovin attempts to tackle in Ashes in the Ocean.

It is never easy to completely understand another person's thoughts and reasonings. Once they are gone, the avenue to actually ask them about it is gone as well. This is a heart-wrenching narrative of such a situation, the questions, the struggles and doubts that finally led Mr. Slovin to self-realisation and healing. He doesn't flinch from detailing the darkest moments of his life, the times when he thought perhaps he was fated for a similar end as his father. This is a story of survival, of how he found the strength and courage to power through and ultimately came to terms with his father's suicide. The writing is seamless and honest, almost brutally so at times. It is also simple, yet incredibly effective. One can almost smell the salty ocean spray, see the sights through his eyes and feel his anguish and  as he describes them. 

According to the statistics compiled by the World Health Organisation, almost one million people die a year by suicide. That means one person commits suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world. That is an alarming number, which makes inspiring stories like Mr. Slovin's particularly relevant to be discussed and shared. A little inspiration can go a long way in desperate times ! 

About the author : 

Since he can remember, nature has been a central part of Sebastian's life. He was fortunate to grow up in the beach community of La Jolla, California, and spent his childhood mixing it up in the ocean. As a young boy, he lost his father to suicide, which would later deeply inspire his path in life. As a young adult, he had the opportunity to travel extensively and experience many of the world#s great surf spots as a professional bodyboarder. Through his travel, Sebastian developed a deep love and appreciation for our natural world, and at the same time was drawn to the practice of yoga.

His love for yoga led him to study at Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, California, and his passion for nature eventually led him to pursue a BA in Environment an Natural Resource Conservation at San Diego State University. He also holds an MA in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego.

He lives with his wife Sonya in Encinitas, California. He and Sonya have a business called Nature Unplugged, which focuses on cultivating wellness through healthier relationships with technology and a deeper connection to nature. When he is not writing or working on Nature Unplugged, Sebastian enjoys swimming, bodysurfing, surfing, and stand-up paddling (pretty much all things) in the wild Pacific Ocean.

Find Sebastian Slovin online :

Ashes in the Ocean is available on Amazon on paperback and kindle versions.

Please check out the other stops for this tour on the WOW ! Women On Writing blog !


  1. Sreevarsha, thank you for your heartfelt review. I thought your synopsis of the story was very well put and you touched on the key takeaways. I appreciate your time and energy on this. Also, thank you for sharing that statistic about suicide. I had read that before but sometimes forget how relevant this is in the world right now.

    1. Thank you Sebastian, I'm glad you liked my review ! Absolutely, I hope your book helps people to open up and deal with suicide and other related mental health issues. I understand it is one of those things that people don't like talking about, because of the underlying feelings etc., but it is something that needs to be dealt with discourse rather than silence. Congratulations and well done !


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