Tsunami Kids: Our journey from survival to success by Paul Forkan and Rob Forkan

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Tsunami Kids: Our journey from survival to success by Paul Forkan and Rob Forkan

Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A heartbreaking, fascinating and remarkable tale of a family who overcame huge loss, and turned their grief into an incredible force for good.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: November 2014
Publisher: Michael O'Mara
ISBN: 978-1782433576

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On Boxing Day 2004, when many of us were celebrating the Christmas holidays with our families, eating leftover turkey, reading books and enjoying time with loved ones, a huge tragedy was unfolding on the other side of the world. The Boxing Day Tsunami killed over 230,000 people, and caused widespread devastation to large parts of Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, the Maldives and Somalia. The Forkan family - Mum, Dad, and four of their children, were in Sri Lanka, a spur of the moment choice of destination that ultimately proved to be tragic. The parents, Kevin and Sandra, were killed in the flood. The children, orphaned, injured and without any possessions, traveled the 200 kilometres back to a city, where they contacted elder siblings and were swiftly flown back to the UK.

Back in the UK, the children struggled to fit back into everyday life, especially the two elder children caught in the Tsunami. Rob began work in advertising, and Paul trained as a plumber, working in Australia. In 2011, Rob had an idea for a business - a brand based on what they had experienced and seen traveling the world with their parents. Paul flew back to the United Kingdom, and their flip flop business was formed shortly afterwards.Now, they run an incredibly successful flip flop business, donating 10% of their profits to orphanages, and promoting their ethical, charitable brand world wide.

It's a very uplifting tale, initially exploring the almost nomadic, alternative and wonderfully entertaining life that the children lead with their parents, home schooled and exploring new countries and cultures. As one could expect, when the Tsunami hits the book both grips and horrifies, with descriptions of pain and horror so terrible that it genuinely becomes hard to read. Once through that, and the initial struggles the children have to return to life in the UK, and to recover from their huge losses, as the idea for 'Gandy's Flip Flops' grows, and Paul and Rob become more and more invested and successful, it is impossible not to feel exhilarated and uplifted by the remarkable journey that these two boys have made.

Grumbles are minor - the boys aren't writers, but businessmen. As a result, the prose can sometimes feel a little childish, but it's an issue that is more than easy to overlook in the light of the incredible subject matter of this book. Also, this book does sometimes feel like one long tribute to the parents of Rob and Paul, but I really don't see that as a bad thing. Thanks to the individuality, warmth, love and support of the parents, Rob and Paul have clearly become fantastic individuals who have become a real force for good in the world - so the tribute seems more than deserved.

A tear jerking, uplifting and thrilling read that will both horrify you, and yet reassure you that human nature is almost always a wonderful thing, Tsunami Kids is a remarkable account of the events that occurred only a decade ago.

Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

As for further reading - H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald is completely different in both style and content, but does, much like 'Tsunami Kids', deal with grief, and the things people do and achieve in order to get through it.

Buy Tsunami Kids: Our journey from survival to success by Paul Forkan and Rob Forkan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tsunami Kids: Our journey from survival to success by Paul Forkan and Rob Forkan at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Tsunami Kids: Our journey from survival to success by Paul Forkan and Rob Forkan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tsunami Kids: Our journey from survival to success by Paul Forkan and Rob Forkan at Amazon.com.


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