After years of caregiving in her native South Africa, and later as a nursing administrator in Saudi Arabia, Olga Legoale aims to share her hard-won insights in Taking Back Your Life.
Using true stories with character names changed for privacy, along with straightforward advice on living a more positive life, Legoale illustrates different lessons and morals, such as: Dedication and hard work pay off. Meanness will backfire on you in the end. Don’t allow another person to steal your happiness.
The author’s depictions are sometimes poignant and touching, sometimes overdone, such as her recollection of a fatal car accident in which she unnecessarily repeats the details and her reaction to them. Other times, as with the tale of her friend’s calm control in a storm at sea, the stories are more concise and impactful.
Legoale would do well to “show” more and “tell” less. For example, she writes: “Around the Smith boys lived a positive spirit that drove and carried them to all harmonious corners in life.” Seeing the brothers in action would be more engaging and allow readers to come to their own conclusions. Adding dialogue would also help bring the stories alive.
Legoale’s grammar, syntax and choice of words are difficult to follow, perhaps because the prose has been translated for English-speaking readers. For example: “Fear has from the beginning of time been floating freely around affecting various people from all walks of life universally.”
Among the book’s highlights are a smattering of the author’s poems and 14 pages of her celestial-themed artwork, which is quite beautiful, even in black and white. Both come across as more polished and professional than her storytelling.
Nevertheless, Legoale’s uplifting tone shines brightly and her positive attitude is contagious. Her overall message—“Life is too precious to be wasted or spoilt by useless negativity”—permeates this simple, if uneven, book of hope.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.