Troublemaker by Leah Remini
Go out and buy this book right this very minute... if you don't want to be able to think about anything but the fuckwit that is David Miscavige and the craziness that is The Church (snort) of Scientology for as long as it takes you to read it.
My first exposure to this gorgeous and brash woman was on episodes of Who's the Boss and her subsequent cross over show, Living Dolls. I love that she discusses her time on this show as every time I mention it to someone... no one remembers it. I was starting to be concerned that I had daydreamed a poorly-viewed show about a household of ragtag young models. Which is a weird thing to daydream about.
I was really surprised to learn that Remini was raised in Scientology. I had always thought that most celebrities of the faith had discovered it through other celebrities upon experiencing a modicum of success. But Leah Remini was brought into it early on by her mother. This experience gave her a greater insight into the true nature of the church (again, snort). It sounds like once you reach a level of success, you're no longer exposed to the brutality and inhumane behavior that makes up the top brass of Scientology. Basically, you don't have to see behind the curtain. But those young men and women who signed a billion years of their life away with the Sea Org (some being as young as 4 years old when they made that commitment) know what really goes on in this strange and greedy religion. Child labor, abuse (both physical and emotional), brainwashing, placing it's parishioners into debt they could never escape in those billion years... Scientology stops at nothing to make it's money. It's hard to understand why anyone would join Miscavige and his team of thugs, but then you hear stories like Remini's. Children who entered with their parents... parents who had no support system and little financial independence and honestly thought that they were giving their children a chance.
Leah Remini tells her story with empathy and honesty. It took her thirty-something years to see what the church was really about, so you can tell she understands why there are still people who place L. Ron Hubbard on a pedestal. Like any abusive relationship, The Church of Scientology isolates people from their support systems, beats down their self-esteem and makes them believe that they deserve any bad treatment they are receiving. Remini explains this through fascinating anecdotes, heartbreaking tales of destroyed families and gossip about some of Scientology's most public proponents. [Tom Cruise, I have my eye on you, you little couch-jumping twerp] Because of this book, I am now FAR down a Scientology rabbit hole that I don't think I'm going to escape any time soon. Part of me is actually considering reading Dianetics just to see how people POSSIBLY decided to devote their lives to LRH, Xenu and now the absolutely revolting David Miscavige. But I must ask you all a favor, if you start hearing me speak in earnest about my "thetan" and being "out-ethics", someone come find me because I'm about ten seconds away from picking up an e-meter.
[Note: I'm fully aware that this "review" was longer than any I've done on any true work of literature. So... that says a lot about me. Whatever, this book was fucking fascinating. No regrets!]
The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology. Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.
That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former "King of Queens" star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.
Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology's causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she d worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology's most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.
But when she began to raise questions about some of the church's actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a Suppressive Person, and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners including members of her own family were told to disconnect from her. Forever. Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, "Troublemaker" chronicles Leah Remini's remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly from an author unafraid of the consequences.