Ashes in the Ocean by Sebastian Slovin [Book Review]

April 5, 2018

I am such a strong believer that the more we talk about our personal mental health struggles and the mental illnesses that impact our society the more that things can change. Mental illness has directly impacted my life by having a brother with schizophrenia. And so I definitely wanted to take part in this blog tour for Sebastian Slovin's book Ashes in the Ocean.

Here's a bit about the book:

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.

Check out this incredible book trailer -

Ashes in the Ocean Book Trailer from Nature Unplugged on Vimeo.

What I Thought:

Ashes in the Ocean was moving and eye opening. It takes you on the journey when the author first realized his father committed suicide to healing. I was incredibly captivated and touched by the author's honesty. Throughout the book, I felt the anger the author felt, his sadness and soon his peace. I really connected to the book, especially when he realized he needed to learn more about his father in order to really live and move on.

On a technical level, the writing was well done too. The vivid descriptions of emotions and the setting of the beach as a regular backdrop shaped the book to be a powerful read.

This is an important book to read if you have ever lost a loved one to suicide or experienced mental health struggles yourself. It is a difficult read at times but inspiring all the while. I'm glad I read it and hope you will too. 

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 and 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 Online:

Be sure to buy the book now on Amazon by visiting this page and add this book to your must-read list on GoodReads

Be sure to check out WOW! Women on Writing blog for other stops on this tour.  Also if you would like to take part in WOW! Blog Tours and review incredible books like this, send me an email at npyles86 at gmail dot com. 

I received this book in exchange for my honest review. 


  1. It sounds cathartic for him, and a powerful read.

    1. Thanks William. It was most definitely a cathartic process. My hope is that the book encourages others to open up a dialogue about suicide and mental health. In other words, catharsis all around :)

  2. Nicole, thank you so much for the wonderful review. I appreciated you sharing about your brother and your personal connection with mental illness. I'm completely with you that the more we open up and talk about these things the better off we will be both individually and as a society. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! And thank you for sharing your personal experience with others.

  3. This sounds like something I would like and an important book. Thanks for review - I've added to Goodreads list. Sebastian - if you see this feel free to get in touch. I'm on a Wow tour coming up soon, am doing an interview on a podcast on mental illness in fiction, would be up for a review swap etc. Lets share resources! Joanell Serra, Author. (The Vines We Planted, out this month!)


I love comments! Unfortunately, though, due to an increase in spam comments, I am going to be moderating comments for a while. But be rest assured, I'll be approving yours shortly. Thanks for stopping by!

All Blog Posts Belong to Nicole Pyles. Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top