By the age of fifteen, Renee had lost almost everyone she loved; seeking answers, she set out on a quest for spiritual enlightenment and understanding—only to find herself entrenched in a Buddhist cult.
From the very beginning, the poignant, witty memoir is self-aware ... Part of what makes Linnell’s story so gripping is the complete lack of anger in the book ... she rises above it, and by the end of the book is still adamant about not condemning, but rather forgiving, those who have mistreated her throughout her life ... There is no absence of emotion in the book, although all of the pain and suffering, because it is told in retrospect, is softened by the reminder that present-day Linnell has processed and accepted her trauma. Although the prose of The Burn Zone itself is not exceptionally poetic, the rawness of the honesty presented in these pages is almost lyrical, with Linnell’s spellbinding inner voice shining through at every corner with observations about life that seem to voice what all of us are already thinking, but are too afraid to say for ourselves ... This is more than just a memoir about a woman’s experience in a cult—it’s a story that everyone can benefit from, both spiritually and mentally.
I'm a sucker for good quotes, and The Burn Zone is chock full of them. It is clear that Renee has spent a lot of time focusing on her life and the decisions she has made. Only a person with that level of self-awareness could have come up with dozens of inspirational quotes that run parallel to the action of her life that she is describing within these pages ... Renee's comeback, reclamation and finally accepting herself for what she is provides for quite an engaging read. She has an easy, believable writing style that makes you think she is talking directly to you in a private conversation.
Her distressing memoir forces the world to understand the mindset and psyche that leads someone to give their power over to another person. How strong Renee must be now to tell a story with so much potential for judgment, yet sharing her journey, helps readers to empathize and find pieces of themselves in her decisions ... Beyond the math [of how much money Linnell spent] not quite adding up, the book was an insightful glimpse into the mindset that allows a person to hand over their soul to a cult. Parts of the book were repetitious, life often is, but otherwise, Renee expressed her thoughts with eloquence and humbleness ... Leave space in your weekend because once you pick this book up, the world better leave you alone to finish reading.