Few lives are as dramatic as Lina Kennedy’s, and few stories of survival and triumph are as satisfying as this inspirational autobiography.
Professionally, Lina is the founder of a multimillion-dollar business based on her hard work, innovations, and discoveries. She speaks and teaches around the world. Yet behind the compelling story of how she built her company lies another drama, the tale of an abused child who could not be crushed.
Raised in poverty and dysfunction, she was sustained by her inner strength and by a near-death experience at age seven, a mysterious gift of reassurance and hope. Alcoholics Anonymous rescued the family, but Lina faced years of healing even as she pursued the bright future she knew she would eventually create.
In her twenties, a single mother with little education, she mystified her friends by refusing to play it safe, never staying in one job or one relationship. Instead, she amassed a wealth of experience and met a cast of colorful characters who imparted lessons about whom to trust, what to risk, and how to navigate in a hazardous world. In her thirties, bedridden from injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver, she saw by chance the business opportunity she had been waiting for and literally got up from bed to seize it. From there, she raced to entrepreneurship, expansion, and success.
The two stories of Lina Kennedy, professional and personal, come together in this book and in Lina herself, a woman whose insight, courage, and indomitable spirit are an example for anyone who dreams of a better life.
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Reading your book, I must confess, I didn`t imagine that it will be so easy and interesting to read. I run one line after another…and also (as I often do with other books) I am curious to jump into further chapters:) I liked so much the story about Canada Petro and Ann. And about AP becoming global, and about ,,Magda,,. Lina when I read it it seems I am there and I even feel that times. Really enjoy reading. Thank you. I have not finished yet, but I couldn`t wait to share my impression – the story is so exciting! I would like to come back here to leave one more review when I reach the last chapter:)
Dale Kehrberg –
Brutally honest and heart wrenching at times. Amazing read.
The Sugar Queen by Lina Kennedy can be condensed into a single word: Wow!
When I read the description of this book I was intrigued, but little did I know that I will be taken on an incredible rollercoaster of emotion. The author is a gifted storyteller. I laughed, I cried (a lot), I bit my nails in suspense and I was truly elated every single time she overcame yet another obstacle.
The book starts ominously. Lina’s earliest memory is that of her father sexually assaulting her as an infant. Lina did not feel loved, protected, or safe.
When she was 7 she had her tonsils removed and had a near-death experience on the operating table. She remembers a calming and powerful voice telling her that it’s not her time to die yet and that many people will depend on her. The message that she should not be afraid, because they will always be with her forms a profound basis in her life. In troubled times, she constantly refers back to this memory as a gift.
Fortunately the alcoholism as well the abuse ended by age 11 as her father entered into the Alcoholics Anonymous program, but her childhood and teenage years left much to be desired. By age 12 she had already started earning her own money in various dubious ways and by the age of 14, she felt she was ready to take on the world by herself. She briefly ran away to join the circus, and upon her return home, she negotiated to leave school and start her life as a working-class citizen. Thus started her journey to building her empire.
This memoir is a compelling piece of work. The complexity of human nature is highlighted through various characters, and the beautiful relationship that Lina has with her son brought tears to my eyes. Every child deserves to be loved the way she loved him. She protected him, understood him, and sincerity radiates from this pure mother-son relationship. She lived a driven and fast-paced life, but still with a very strong mindset in the reality that she had a child to care and provide for.
Each chapter made me feel more invested in her life story. I was amazed at her ability to bounce back and find solutions to each of her problems and barely looking back. Her enthusiasm and determination are contagious and prompted me to do a little research online about her business and whether her methods are used locally in South Africa. I simply loved how her French roots came through in her writing with words like “maman” and “restaurateurs”.
I struggle to find anything negative to write about this book. It was impeccably edited and I could not find a single spelling or grammar mistake to point out. This was testament to Lina’s perfectionist personality. Scattered throughout the book are pages of black and white photos. These serve to make her, her family, her friends, her travels and her life even more endearing.
Due to the sexual abuse and alcoholism, I would not recommend this book to children or teenagers or anyone that feel triggered by this subject matter. I am however thrilled to add that there is zero use of profanity and I feel it will be an excellent addition to anyone’s library. If you enjoy reading memoirs, I urge you to add this to your reading list. I have no reservations in giving this book a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.