Whoa nelly. Before this read I had what I would describe as a cursory understanding of Scientology. I knew about L. Ron Hubbard and the foundation of this “religion” (note the purposeful quotation marks), its science fiction roots, its adoption by many celebrities, and the weight of the church that fell upon members who chose to leave. What I didn’t know could fill a book, this book apparently.
Jenna Miscavige Hill is the niece of David Miscavige, the current head of the Church of Scientology. This book details her life as an indoctrinated member of the church, along with her family and friends, and how she eventually was able to break free. To summarize in the briefest way possible, I would call this novel “fascinatingly horrifying.” From a toddler into her early 20s, Jenna Miscavige was a member of the church, though technically the contract she signed when she was 10 made her a member of Scientology for millions of years, in all of her subsequent lifetimes.
Yeeeeeeeah. That is just a teensy ice cube of the iceberg of the terrors of Scientology. Children who see their parents once a week, at best. Children working in what is essentially a labor camp, while responsible for the medical care of other children. Individuals forced to shun family members for being pushed out of the church. Memorization in place of education, and countless interrogations. Essentially, the unrelenting systematic breaking of the human spirit, under the guise of enlightenment.
While I found the material captivating, the book could benefit from some editing because it drags a bit in the middle. It just feels like it takes a while to get to the conclusion and the end is too drawn out. Overall, I recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about Scientology, but be prepared to be flabbergasted and have your heart broken by ignorance and unnecessary pain.