Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography/Memoir
Actress, Leah Remini was first introduced into the church of Scientology as a young child living in New York with her mother and sister. Shortly after becoming members, Leah and her family moved to Clearwater, Florida…and eventually on to Los Angeles. Once in California, Leah eventually became a successful actress as well as a very active member of the church of Scientology.
Over the years, Leah began to see just how deep show business and Hollywood were intertwined with the church of Scientology. Remini spent hours upon hours as well as millions of dollars in support of the church attending courses, “auditing” (a strange mix of confession and psychotherapy) as well as doing press events . It’s also very apparent just how much pull certain popular celebrities have in the church and all it’s procedures. Names such as Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and Tom Cruise are discussed in this book. I was actually very surprised to hear quite a few of the details Remini describes about Tom Cruise specifically as well as his behaviors, personal relationships, and influence in the church.
It was actually at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes when Leah started to voice questions and concerns about certain actions of the church and it’s powerful members. Shortly after this wedding… Leah found herself a target of the church’s harsh punishments, both financial and psychological, for having had the nerve to even question anything in relation to Scientology and it’s practices. Finally, in 2013…Remini publicly announced her very difficult and scary decision to split from the church of Scientology as well as most of is followers, including the people Remini has known almost her life. Once a church member leaves and publicly denounces it’s practices, they are immediately referred to as an “SP” (suppressive person) and any current members of the church who wish to stay in good standing must completely and permanently cut off all contact with the “SP”.
Since I’m not a huge fan of sitcoms and I’ve never actually watched an episode of King of Queens…I wasn’t that familiar with Remini before listening to this book. I kind of always took Lisa Remini for being funny but sort of crass and obnoxious. And…she is definitely those things some of the time, but after listening to her narrate this audiobook, I find those characteristics in her pretty endearing. She’s brutally honest, direct and rather funny in her descriptions of herself, her past mistakes & choices as well as the choices of others in her life. But you can also tell that she’s a very genuine person who seems very loyal and protective of the friends and family in her life whom she obviously loves very much.
This was a very interesting, sometimes funny and sometimes sad book about a topic that has always intrigued me. Personally, I am not a huge fan of religion in general, but it’s very obvious that Scientology is a scary and dangerous cult and not what I would consider a religion at all. Remini doesn’t go into a ton of long descriptions beyond the basic beliefs of the church and how it’s members are expected to behave and live. I’m sure there are better books out there if you want a down and dirty history and explanation of the church and it’s beliefs….this however is a very well written and intimate first person account of Remini’s experience and life growing up as a Scientologist. Between this book and other previous members’ accounts there has slowly been more inside information coming out about the very secret church. I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and as with most memoirs, I think the author narrating her own story adds a little something to it.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology – Amazon