Thursday, November 12, 2015
Leah Remini's "Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology"
Less than 24 hours. That is how long it took me to finish Leah Remini's book Troublemaker. I chose listen to the audio book for various reasons and I am so glad I chose the audio route. It is actually read by Leah Remini herself! Every smart-ass comment, every bitchy tone of voice, every angry accusation she makes, all of it is wholly felt when you listen to this book read by the author that wrote it. I can't imagine experiencing this book any other way.
I am not what I would describe as a Leah Remini "fan". I mean, sure, I remember watching her on Saved By The Bell and a few other parts she had in various movies. I have honestly never watched an entire episode of The King of Queens or Dancing With The Stars. I will occasionally stop flipping through channels and watch her TLC show Its All Relative because I do find her funny, outgoing, beautiful, and a little bit crazy.
I will admit that I am a tad bit obsessed with all the Scientology books and documentaries that have been published and aired recently. My liking of Remini along with my fascination of all things related to cults made this book a must read (or listen) for me.
This is the 3rd book I have read from an ex-member of the Church of Scientology. A few days ago I wrote my book review of Jenna Miscavige Hill's book Beyond Belief and you can read my post about it here.
Remini's book is is a no nonsense, no bullshit, no excuse account of her life, both as a child and adult, in the world of Scientology. She describes how she was brought into the cult, what she had to endure as a child and teenager in the Sea Org, and her life as a married woman & mother as a church member. She was a woman who devoted her entire life to the belief system that Scientology and Dianetics founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote in all of his books.
The way she tells her life story is such an honest, hilarious and shocking story that I was immediately sucked in. The entire book is not about blaming the church, but rather she explains (in her no-holds-barred attitude) why she made the life choices she made. She goes into exquisite detail on the reasons behind her departure from the church. She even lets readers know her emotions and feelings throughout the different times of her life. She explains what her mindset was that made her both stay and ultimately decide to leave.
Although she claims that she no longer believes in the entire cult, she is very detailed in stating why she left. Greedy, money-hungry, and abusive (both verbally and physically) higher ups in the church made her start to question her beliefs. She claims that thier actions and behavior no longer aligned with the teachings of L.R.H.. It is something I could relate to, since I spent the first 17 years of my life deeply involved in a non-denominational Christian megachurch. It made me realize that organized religion can quickly turn into a horrific, overpowering nightmare in a person's life. It doesn't matter if a person believes in God, Allah, Buddha, Joseph Smith, or Thetans, any church has the power to ruin lives and families if the people in charge are corrupt.
I do feel like Remini gave a truthful account in this memoir. She doesn't hold back. She tells it like it is. She doesn't play the victim but rather fully confesses to the awful things she has done and takes full accountability for the bad decisions she has made.
In the final chapters of the book she explains how she has moved on with her life. It is still a hard road for her. Finding out everything you have ever believed in is a lie can be jaw dropping to anyone (think Neo in The Matrix movies). I could relate because there was a period of shock and awe I went through after leaving my church. She is thankful that her family has left the church also and they are all together to support each other after the horrific experience of breaking from the church.
This is a great read for those who are interested in Scientology. If you haven't previously read or learned the basics of Scientology beliefs, you might be a bit lost, as Remini explains the very basics. I would suggest Going Clear or Beyond Belief be read before diving into this book since those two books give much more detail into the church. Still, this is a 5-star read for me!