A woman chronicles her triumph over youthful trauma to become a wildly successful entrepreneur.
Debut author Kennedy was born in Welland—a small town in Ontario—in 1959, burdened by disadvantages. Her family was poor and her father, an alcoholic addicted to gambling, sexually abused her for years. The author was a fiercely independent youngster, “fearless and curious.” But despite academic talent, she dropped out of school when she was 14 years old. Yet even as a young girl, she was “infatuated with money,” had the “spirit of an entrepreneur,” and seemed destined to stake her own claim in the business world. After years of wandering shiftlessly from job to job, she experienced an auspicious confluence of events that changed her life. Kennedy suffered serious injuries in a horrific car crash and, as a result, received a $10,000 insurance payout. In addition, she saw a business owner discuss “body sugaring,” a process whereby unwanted hair is removed, on a television show. She contacted the owners of Alexandria Body Sugaring, and went into business with them, the first step on a path to founding her own global company, Alexandria Professional, now the “the gold standard in the field.” The author details, with admirably intimate and gripping candor, the arc of her professional life as well as her efforts to master her personal demons and forge an optimistic yet pragmatic spirituality that she learned from adversity: “It showed me that every time I apply my trust and belief in the Universe, in God, in my archangels—whatever it is that sustains us—and in myself, everything works out.”
Kennedy’s life is captivatingly eventful, and her indefatigable perseverance remains uplifting. She truly lives by the motto “My favorite direction is onward.” Aspiring entrepreneurs should find not only moral encouragement in her tale, but also concrete lessons about business management. Still, the most intriguing element of the book is the author’s personal introspection—she openhandedly scours her life for meaning and purpose, and pieces together a spiritual worldview, partly the consequence of her experience of an inner voice that steers her toward safety and prosperity. Her reflections regarding her father are especially poignant. After he quit drinking—he faithfully attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings—he turned over a new leaf, and never assaulted her again. Amazingly, she eventually came to trust him again, even around her own young daughters. Forgiveness did not come so easily, and Kennedy’s depiction of her struggles to find it is profound and moving: “Forgiveness is like anything you do. When you practice it, it becomes easier. Forgiveness starts with understanding, with seeing and feeling the other person’s reality. When you practice that empathy, you understand more; when you understand more, it’s easier to apply the next time; when it’s easier to apply, it simply becomes a part of you.” Written in informally anecdotal prose, the author’s memoir is both dramatically absorbing and wise.
An arresting remembrance, as brave as the life it describes.