Tsunami and the Single Girl is a combination of chick lit and travel memoir that manages to include a host of love affairs gone awry, expat excesses and the noble job of aid work in countries affected by disaster.
In a bizarre turn of events, a broken leg on the dance floor in a club in Vietnam leads Krissy to her dream job of becoming a humanitarian aid worker. Krissy’s other dream, of finding her ‘dream man’ are not so easily achieved and she becomes entangled in series of love affairs fuelled by the drama and intensity of living in disaster-stricken countries. There are plenty of comedic moments, and the portrayal of the stereotypical expat partying hard, drinking and having a privileged life (compared to the locals) is cast against countries ravaged by natural disasters and war. The plight of locals in these events is dealt with compassionately and conveys the stress and trauma felt by both locals and aid-worker staff members, and the often insurmountable challenges that they are faced with.
After a series of romances gone astray, Krissy returns home in search of a man on more stable ground, in her home town of Melbourne. Yet, she is conflicted – her heart is addicted to the adrenalin-charged disaster situations, the heightened emotions that go with it, and she finds it difficult to settle in Melbourne. She undergoes a change in career direction and also faces serious health issues of her own. The book covers themes of self-reflection, the ticking of the biological clock, the endless yearning that accompanies the search for love and romantic fulfilment, and finding satisfaction in a career and friendships. Krissy does eventually get her man, but he’s not where she expected to find him, and he’s not who she thought he would be.
Tsunami and the Single Girl by Krissy Nicholson (Allen & Unwin, 2013)