My beloved and I have been watching Leah Remini’s fascinating and savvy documentary series, Scientology and the Aftermath, and have been incredibly impressed by the sincere passion and compassion she is bringing to the topic. Having long been fascinated by the cult, I am often amazed when discovering people I would otherwise respect or think of as sensible were members, including Remini herself. It’s a judgmental attitude born of my curiosity about the group and this book goes a long way to change that for me. Given to me for Christmas, along with Going Clear, this was the first non-genre book I had read in over a year. It was worth the departure.
In interviews and on camera, Remini comes across as a version of the tough New Yorker many of us have in our heads — no nonsense, direct, and often foulmouthed. Troublemaker confirms this perception, of her at least, and helped me to understand not only how someone as smart and down-to-earth as Remini could be lured into a cult, but why she would stay, and what it took to make her leave.
Conversational in tone and roaming in presentation, the writing is not deathless prose, but I had not expected it to be. What Remini and Paley achieve is to give the actor’s voice it’s due. You can hear her in the writing and come to understand how she was drawn into something crazy that became normal. She does not wallow in the celebrity aspect of her life in Scientology, despite the so-called church’s conscious use of it as a marketing tool, rather those elements as they flow with Remini’s story. You will read about the Holmes-Cruise wedding, but for context in Remini’s own journey into, through, and out of the cult.
My edition had a new afterward from Remini and one of the things I would have liked more of in the book is the actual events of her departure, how it went down, and what she has been doing to help free herself intellectually and psychologically. The documentary series makes it clear she is a passionate crusader, but additional details of her journey from “I’m done” to “I’m going to take you down” would have been welcome. Even though I would have liked a slightly heavier read, I hope Troublemaker sells well and the documentary series succeeds as both a thorn in the cult’s side and in helping others to find their own freedom.
My website is thisaway, but fair warning, most of my reviews are specific to a single genre and there is a valid reason for the site mission statement “All Kissing Books, All the Time.”