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Review: Still on Fire
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
Montreal, QC
Thursday, July 28, 2022

Author: Renee Linnell
Publisher: Pink Skeleton Publishing

ISBN: 979-8-9861647-3-1

In Still on Fire, Renee Linnell has crafted a self-help memoir mingled with life coaching. Renee is a serial entrepreneur who has founded or co-founded five companies. She holds an MBA from NYU. In addition, she was a model and a professional dancer.

The many challenges Renee has encountered are successfully integrated into an engrossing read with sage advice, yielding valuable insights into our own lives. Her personal life story told in the first person is more reflective than reportorial and reads like an adventure film. Renee believes her mission is to remind people "Who They Truly Are and to reignite their passion for being alive."

Throughout the memoir, Renee raises questions about her identity, relationships with men, and personal history. As she continuously pursues answers, she demonstrates the candor of her quest and the depth of her self-interrogation. Yes, the tales are entertaining, but they are also relatable. Nothing is held back, as we are given a candid glimpse of her way of life who she was and how she has developed into the woman she is today.

She had come to terms with herself once she confronted her painful past, including her father's death when a teenager and a mother who was an emotionally abusive alcoholic who did not feed her when she was a child. Renee recounts that her mother had once smashed a glass sculpture into her face when she was less than two years old. This almost killed her, and she had to undergo weeks of reconstructive surgery. She points out that, although her mother may have had some positive qualities, she blames her for being incredibly insecure and continually grappling with adult romantic relationships. The latter are more fully probed in the narrative.

We further learn that Renee was ordained as a Buddhist monk, brainwashed in a Buddhist cult, and burned everything she owned.

At a very young age, Renee began touring the world over. Some descriptions of her fearless antics will have you shaking your head with your mouth wide open, asking, was she off her mind to undertake such risks in far-off places as the Maldives, Nepal, Hawaii, New Zealand and elsewhere?

For illustration, she describes how she turned up in Malé, the capital of Maldives, at three o'clock in the morning. She was alone, without her friends who were expected to meet her in Singapore and travel to the Maldives with her. But sadly, one of her friends found out from a pre-travel physical that she had breast cancer and had to cancel along with her other friends.

Upon landing at the airport, she meets a stranger who will accompany her to an island called Pasta Point, which, incidentally, I looked up and is characterized as "every surfers dream!" They will proceed on a tiny, decrepit, splintered wooden craft with Renee's nine-foot-six-inch longboard and her bags. Her guide does not speak English and cannot tell her how long the trip will take to reach the island. She has apprehensions and recites to herself, "please let me be safe, and prays, God please let me be safe." Finally, they safely show up at the island, and she is met by a guy with an Australian accent. Her accommodations are two soggy twin mattresses on flimsy wooden slats. Not exactly what she was expecting. She did end up spending two weeks in Pasta Point, making wonderful friends, riding amazing waves. She even found a mentor, an older man who coached her to surf on small boards.

Renee has handled the narrative pacing of this memoir admirably, organizing the material into a chronological framework that is divided into five parts, decisions, wild ride, spirit, love, and whole, ending with an Epilogue.

The page preceding the Table of Contents appropriately sums up the pivotal message of the memoir: "To everyone who is tired-tired of fitting in, tired of playing small, tired of being afraid, overworked, over stressed.... and tired of living a life without true joy. May you stop making excuses for why mediocrity is okay for you and take the leap into a life you love."

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Renee Linnell



 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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Name: Norm Goldman
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Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
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