By HERB WEISS
Author and life coach Linda Carvelli believes that everything in life has a purpose and that resilience will get you through any obstacle in your path. She succinctly illustrates this philosophy in her 340-page memoir, Perfectly Negative: How I Learned to Embrace Lifes Lemons Lessons. The self-published book details how she faced personal and family tragedy over a decade of deep emotional pain only to realize that each devastating life experience gave her more courage and strength to face the next one.
Carvelli a Warren resident, dedicated over 20 years of her professional career to computer technology and project management before writing her first full-length memoir, published in 2016, that reveals how she ultimately came to terms with her life’s mission. That is helping people overcome and learn from the challenges in their daily lives. As a board certified life coach, she brings lessons from her book to people to help them regain control of their lives, discover new perspectives, create more options, and move forward with confidence and courage.
Perfectly Negative introduces a cast of real, relatable characters who will have you crying, laughing, and ultimately rejoicing in Carvelli’s triumph and determination to make sense of the overwhelming heartbreak she endured. This insightful memoir reveals nuggets of wisdom to reassure you as you face your own life lemons lessons.
The inspirational tome follows Carvelli’s 46 years, through her idyllic childhood growing up in a close-knit Italian household into her later years where she faced a decades worth of personal and professional losses. It begins when the native Cranston resident was focused on planning her first marriage in 1996 and received the news of her mother being re-diagnosed with breast cancer, ultimately leading to her death two years later. Six months later, the memoir details her sister’s diagnosis of breast cancer and how she lived with this devastating disease for seven years. Like her mother and sister, Carvelli was also diagnosed with breast cancer, although she ultimately made a decision to have a double mastectomy. She also experienced a divorce, left a long-term relationship shortly before her father died, and finally was laid off her job.
This book is for all ages and anyone who is overcoming obstacles. Carvellli’s first full-length book detailing her overcoming life challenges, is getting rave reviews, too.
Here’s a review from a judge at the 24th Annual Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards: It’s unputdownable! From the first paragraph, author Linda Carvelli draws in the reader with tightly focused, well-written scenes and immediately identifiable characters. Even though this family is well-to-do with all the material trappings, they have heartbreak galore with four cancer diagnoses, three deaths, two divorces and a significant other turned not-so-significant not to mention job and friendship upheavals and a medium who helps provide some much-needed spiritual anchoring. These can be anyone’s friends, family and significant others, regardless of race, creed or socioeconomic status.
The judge adds, “By interweaving several plot lines and balancing suspense and using plain but power language with a much needed dollop of objectivity this book avoids the mawkish self-pity and excessive detail that can be the undoing of similar attempts. It’s like sitting down with a best friend and catching up on the latest news before one knows it two hours have passed and there’s still more to discuss.”
Another reviewer said, “I thought this was going to be depressing but boy was I wrong.”
”Looking back, my life was a mess,” said Carvelli. What surprised the 14-year cancer survivor the most was that when she eventually reflected on that most painful decade of her life, she realized that each tragic event gave her more courage and strength to successfully face the next one, she says.
Carvelli remembers that after ending a seven-year relationship she took a solo-vacation to Jamaica to just refocus and stabilize her life. She rediscovered journaling, a healing activity that she took up earlier in her life to detail the decade of upheavals. An audio book, The Shack, an inspirational story where the protagonist overcomes personal tragedy and finds faith again, gave Carvelli food for thought and insight on her lifes journey.
“I realized that when I was in the midst of each tragedy I just did what I had to do to get through it,” says Carvelli. But, looking back she found herself surprised with the realization that she survived some tough events.
”Only then did I realize the intensity of the experiences.”
Carvellis personal life stabilized a bit when she got engaged in 2011. Although she had found her true love, a lump in her breast discovered a week before being let go from her job in brought back anxiety and fear she remembered when being initially diagnosed with cancer. It was losing her job and the result of the medical test that inspired her to write the book.
“At first I was angry about losing my job because I was really good at what I did,” said Carvelli, who quickly acknowledged the job loss and accepted it when she realized. “It gave me time to begin writing the book I always wanted to,” she said.
With a supportive fiancé and all the free time Carvelli began the writing process. With the help of a writing coach, using old journals of the tragic decade and recent writings, a book slowly took shape. Over four years, four completed drafts combined with a final edit would lead to her self-published memoir released last year.
“When I finished writing the last chapter of my memoir, the reason for my existence stared me in the eyes and ignited a fire in my heart. My life’s purpose is to serve as an example of resilience,” says Carvellli.
Author Carvelli has added certified life coach to her professional skill set to bring the insights and tips from her book to people, helping them move forward in the midst of lifes tragedies. Carvelli, 51, says that her life journey has given her clarity about her purpose on earth. “Coaching and managing people through business and personal changes is why I was put here, it is my life’s purpose,” she says.
Lemons can be a great teacher in your life. Carvelli shares these lessons in her memoir and also on her blog (www.lindacarvelli.
The Rhode Island author has also published a short story, I Miss My Breasts in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope and Healing for Your Breast Cancer Journey. She co-facilitates an informal support group, Sisters in Survival, for cancer survivors and their caregivers. Originally from Cranston, she currently lives in Warren with her husband, two step-teens and Enzo Vino, the family dog who follows Carvelli everywhere.
Perfectly Negative is available online at Amazon.com. To arrange an interview or schedule a book signing or inspirational talk, visit www.lindacarvelli.comor emaillinda@lindacarvelli.
Herb Weiss, LRI12 is a Pawtucket writer covering aging, health care and medical issues. To purchase “Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly,” a collection of 79 of his weekly commentaries, go to herbweiss.com.