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Flying Cats and Flip Flops. Surviving a Notorious African Prison [Kindle Edition]

Paul Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A lucky windfall jump-starts his miserably unfulfilled life, and so his incredible journey begins.
A second prize win on 'spot the ball' may not sound a life changing amount, but it's enough for Terry Johnson to follow his dream. A dreary grey council estate existence and an overbearing, money squandering shoplifter wife of 25 years - he's desperate to get away.
Retirement approaching, this flamboyant charmer and seasoned risk-taker isn't quite ready for the quiet life - his free bus pass can wait!
He craves adventure and excitement and finds both in equal measure - in Africa.
Terry snubs the usual tourist trail of safaris and beaches - he prefers to plan a more extreme unorthodox route, 'off road' and dangerous. That's the way he likes it.
Risks galore, he gets himself into dangerous and bizarre situations along the way - until he's caught with drugs at Nairobi Airport.
Four months of squalor in Nairobi remand prison, he struggles to survive the harsh cramped conditions which ravage his mind and body. Finally sentenced, he's off
to a prison notorious for a blatant disregard for human rights.
All the time his biggest challenge awaits him in England.

Editorial Reviews


"If  this were pure fiction it would a compelling page-turner. Knowing it's a true story makes it greater still."    
                         Matt Phillips (editor) Travel Africa Magazine.

About the Author

In 2009 I lost my sight. I endured a six month wait for an op which held no guarantee of me ever seeing again. It was a lonely, testing time not just for me but for my wonderful supportive family. It was during this time that I made the decision to get back in touch with my estranged father ( 8 year absence ). My wife played taxi dropping me and my white stick to his place for our weekly catch in an attempt to salver some sort of relationship. Slurping coffee in his beloved garden, sharing jokes like we'd never been apart, I purposely swung the topic to those missing years and his new life in Africa. I couldn't wait for each week to pass as bit by bit he painted his surreal fascinating African experience in my mind. "Dad, when I get my sight back I will write your book." June 17th 2010. The unassuming, incredibly talented surgeons and staff at Moorfields hospital in London restored partial vision. Life back on track and a book to write. Flying Cats & Flip Flops. Surviving a Notorious African Prison was published in January 2013.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1295 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Noproblempublishing Ltd (November 10, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B53IQVG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,471 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true 'page turner' April 24, 2013
By Tony
Format:Kindle Edition
Have you ever read a book where you turn the page without a clue what's going to happen next but just knowing it's going to be a shocker? Well, 'Flying Cats and Flip Flops' is one of those, a true page turner. Paul Johnson is a talented and writer, with a gift for opening your eyes to a very different world to the one you know. I can say that with some confidence (unless you happen to have spent a year in a Kenyan prison.) I grew up in Nairobi and can confirm a lot of the cultural details from this amazing story. What makes it all the more amazing is that the story is true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Writing September 3, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a strange one for me. I want to start by saying I really liked the writing style, and indeed, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. There are a few errors, but not enough to make me throw the book down. Where I struggled was with the main character, (sorry Dad!) as I couldn't make up my mind if he was a good person or not, and I wavered back and forth between liking him and hating him. Don't want to give away spoilers but many of the situations in this book seemed to be brought about by stupidity and selfishness, and I found it hard to feel any sympathy.

The horror of a foreign prison wasn't made a lot of, it was told matter of factly, and often light heartedly. This made it an easy read, but because I felt it was his own fault he was there, it did nothing to increase my empathy. I wouldn't say I laughed out loud, but perhaps snorted once or twice. This was down to the writing rather than the events.

I have to say that the main character completely redeemed himself for me in the end, and I wanted to cheer, taking heart that his experiences actually served a deep and meaningful purpose, despite being self inflicted. This is certainly a writer I would like to see more from in the future, as his skill is admirable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read in a long time! August 17, 2014
I’d like to thank the author Paul Johnson for giving me the opportunity to review Flying Cats and Flip Flops, which is one of the best books I’ve read this year!
Genre: Non-fiction, Cultural, Memoir, Travel, Africa, Crime
Summary: This is the story of Terry Johnson. A middle-aged man with who takes a vacation to Kenya, only to realize this was more than just a vacation – it was a love affair with a different kind of life, a different kind of freedom – one that he longs to experience again, for a longer time. The vacation makes him realize he could either lead a monotonous life tending to his garden, while trying to stay out of his bossy wife’s way OR he could go on an amazing adventure. He chooses the latter (of course!). But (there’s always a ‘but’) what battles will he face while on this adventure, leaving behind the safety of his home and his land?
The characters: Terry Johnson: A risk-taker, traveler, adventurer, philanthropist, and sometimes (in his own words, and what got him into trouble more than once:) a nose-poker! Ann: Terry’s wife. Bossy and fierce. Short in frame, but sharp with words. This one can make you cringe in shame without using a single expletive, or allowing you to use one! Madam: A street-smart Kenyan girl who wins the reader’s heart with her sense of humor and sharp wit. There are some other characters whom we meet as well along the course of the book.
The technique/layout/language/writing style: Whenever I read a book, I judge it based on the detail – if it’s there where it’s needed, and if it’s been edited out where it’s not. The author's writing technique is what won my heart! The author’s ability to describe a scene vividly is marvelous. I could imagine the scenes so clearly. I cannot praise his writing style enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely well written memoir December 11, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Flying Cats and Flip Flops starts with a bang as Paul Johnson's own story forms a fascinating backdrop to the memoirs of his father Terry.

Years are passing Terry by all too quickly. A lucky windfall changes all that. He grabs the chance and is soon embarking on his new life in Kenya.
The story is beautifully captured and the reader is soon drawn into Terry's adventures, Detail of Kenya and its people are realistic and endearing.

The dream wanes though and soon, almost unbelievably, Terry gets involved in drug smuggling. Almost inevitably he ends up getting caught and spends a harrowing time in a Kenyan prison.

An extremely well written memoir that that I would highly recommend. Just read it with an open mind and enjoy .....
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3.0 out of 5 stars i can't believe i read another free prison book..... August 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another prison story. This one in Africa. My main problem is the lack of detail regarding 'prison life's. It's also unclear why the author didn't pay a bribe to skip prison. He seems to get money from relatives for his prison account.
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More About the Author

2009/10 was a time in my life that I will never forget. I lost complete sight in my left eye (car accident) and developed three severe conditions in my surviving right, leaving me with dark shadows. With no guarantee of ever seeing again it was a lonely, challenging time, not just for me but for my wonderful supportive family as well. I did my best to stay positive but there were times when my bravado caved in, leaving me crying like a frightened child. "How do we look?" enquired my daughters, forgetting for a moment that I was in the room. They stood in front of us, glamorous, high spirited, ready for their Friday night to begin. "You both look beautiful" my wife replied as I too looked at them guided by the noise they made - patchy dark silhouettes was all that was left of my girls. Unable to compose myself, tears swamped my eyes. Smearing, swiping at my wet face trying to hide the evidence, but it was too late. The room went quiet. They did their best but I could hear them sob. I stood up, open armed, inviting them forward and we all huddled together for one big cuddle. It was at that precise moment that I realised how special it was to have my family with me, every blind step of the way.
Now I did a lot thinking during what I refer to as my 'blind episode' and made the decision of making up with my estranged dad. Our relationship had over the years been a challenge. We always seemed to fall out, finally ending in us not talking for eight years.
Reconciliation initiated, my wife played taxi and dropped me to his place on a weekly basis. We'd sit together in his beloved garden, slurping coffee and laughing like we'd never been apart. I purposely swung the conversation to Kenya and he obliged by filling in the details of those missing years. Escaping my stepmother and the UK for a new life in Africa, a new career as a drug smuggler, a twenty year old Kenyan girlfriend, a four year old son and sentenced to a notorious African prison - He had been busy. I couldn't wait for each week to pass and another instalment of his African adventure. I was hooked.
"Dad, when I get my sight back I will write your story"
June 2010 , the very talented, unassuming team at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London restored partial vision in one eye.
Life back on track, back to work and a book to write.
Flying Cats and Flip Flips was published on January 22nd 2013,

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