Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Book Perspective: First-Person
Some Topics Discussed: Upbringing, Acting, Relationships, Scientology, Hollywood
Being an actress can be hard, especially building relationships, both professional and personal ones. However, add a belief and deep involvement in Scientology, then that can add another uncomfortable layer in building those relationships.
Actress Leah Remini was in Scientology since she was a child. Her mom and sister were involved, as well. Even with some questionable aspects to it (auditing, the E-meter, and exclusivity for those who leave), she always stuck by it, diving deeper and deeper for thirty-five years.
That is, until several reports were made against her at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s wedding. This is when Remini’s eyes began to fully open for the first time. After much time, effort, and lots of money were put forth toward Scientology, Remini decides to leave and speak up about what she experienced and learned over the years.
When I first took a look at this book, I thought I never even heard of Leah Remini. Come to find out, I do know her from a couple of shows she’s been, but never really followed. To be honest, I don’t follow a lot actors/actresses and their personal lives as it’s never been a big interest of mine. I actually would have never really considered reading this book if it wasn’t for my curiosity of what Scientology was about. Of course, it’s not something I’m interested in joining, it’s just something that I wanted to learn more about. So, when my husband’s mom left it behind for me to read, I was excited to give it a go.
Before I begin, I want to apologize in advance for those who may become offended with some of my opinions. I don’t mean to be disrespectful. These are just my thoughts.
First, I want to start by saying how brave and great Remini was to publicly and openly stated how she left Scientology and doesn’t believe in it anymore. Apparently, people who leave (or try to leave because sometimes it isn’t easy) and speak ill of this cult can sometimes disappear and/or are physically harmed. If they happen to have family members in Scientology, then the family members and friends are not allowed to see and/or speak to the person who left and spoke ill about their “church” ever again. In reality, I wouldn’t call this a “church”, it seems more like a cult than anything else.
Learning about her childhood and the Scientology aspects were the ones that interested me the most. I think some her expectations in relationships and life stemmed from what she experienced in her childhood, like many others. However, I did find much of the Hollywood aspect and her abrasive behavior a bit off-putting.
Remini shares a number of interesting tidbits about her time in the cult of Scientology. She, like many, didn’t really understand the implications of what it meant to be involved in this form of “belief”. She thought it was something for the “greater good” and “self-improvement”. After years of experience, her eyes began to open to what this cult was truly about (getting money, putting people down, and completely disconnecting with others if you speak ill against them). When I read the part about forcing families, including children, to work long hours in horrible conditions with little pay and care, it disturbed me. I also wasn’t a big fan of hearing how this community encourages tattletaling on one another for anything that doesn’t conform to their beliefs. Don’t we teach children to not tattletale and mind their own business unless someone is in harm’s way?
Though I felt I learned some things, I also felt the book was lacking in certain areas. This could be because of how emotional it was for Remini to detach completely from something that she put so much time and money into or it could be because she isn’t writer. I tend to think it was the latter. There were times when I felt I should be feeling some type of emotion (sadness, anger, sympathy, etc.), but it was a real challenge to do so. At first, some of her stories gave off a complaining type of feeling. However, after reading the full extent of these stories, it became clearer why they were mentioned. I know that Remini’s career is acting, but if an actor/actress is going to write a book, then perhaps some writing courses would be helpful.
Overall, there were parts I found interesting and there were parts that lacked in structure and emotion. However, I do commend Ms. Remini in sharing something that not many would. As a side note, I do plan on watching her documentary series.
I would recommend this read to those who would like to get to know Leah Remini a bit and her life in Hollywood and Scientology.
Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
30 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!