Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini
Published by Ballantine Books
From the publisher:
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.
I have to admit that Scientology fascinates me to no end. All religious cult-ish things fascinate me, but Scientology in particular because it’s such a big thing among celebrities. I feel like people who are swayed by cults would typically be people who are needing/wanting for something tangible, and the cult promises to deliver that – disenfranchised people, basically. But celebrities are anything but disenfranchised, they’re some of the most privileged among us, so why on earth would they be attracted to this “religion”? For everything I’d read in the past about Scientology, I couldn’t understand that specific aspect of the religion, so for that reason it was absolutely enlightening to read Leah Remini’s story.
Remini does a good job telling the story of how her family came to be Scientologists, what life was like for her growing up in the church, and then spent a good chunk of the book on how Scientology was in the fiber of every single aspect of her life throughout her adulthood. She talks a lot about how being a celebrity in the church comes with tons of special perks, how the church actively recruits celebrities because the belief is that if more celebrities are public Scientologists, more “regular” people will also join the church.
Being a celebrity Scientologist, one could assume that Remini was friendly with Tom Cruise. She is very clear in the book on exactly what type of friendship the two of them had (knew each other and spent some time together, but they weren’t exactly friends) and how her association with Cruise was a part of why and how she ended up leaving the church. It’s a pretty jaw-dropping story and definitely one you have to read to believe. But I loved this part of the book – yes, it’s juicy celebrity gossip, but on another level it is beyond fascinating to see how the inner workings of Scientology are just so freaking weird. There is no other way to put it. This shit is weird.
I enjoyed the hell out of the ride that Remini took me on with this book. It’s no joke that Scientologists are extremely calculating and cruel, especially when a person leaves the church, so I do believe she took a risk in writing her truth for the world to see. Her bravery and honesty in the face of this cult-like organization are inspiring and honestly, the book is just incredibly entertaining. Also, she reads the audio herself – and she’s a pretty good actress, so she does a great job. I really enjoyed Troublemaker. If you are at all interested in Scientology and/or celebrity memoirs, this is a great one to pick up.