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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.


Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - Rebecca Paley, Leah Remini

I gave this a 1/2 star bump in recognition of the sheer courage it takes to openly own, in print, to the kind of shortcomings Remini owns up to.


As a general rule, I'm not interested in celebrity memoirs; when I think about being rich, I think about how many books I could own, so I fall far short of the glitz and glamour loving target audience.  But I have always had an idle curiosity about what would posses someone to get involved with scientology and I've read nothing but good things about this book, so I grabbed it at the library.


This is an eminently readable memoir, not just because of the insider's perspective on Scientology, but because Remini is brutally honest about herself and her choices.  I imagine most celebrities (anyone, really) would try to creatively edit out those things that make them look less sympathetic, or at least rationalise their behaviour or skew the details in their favour.  There's a little bit of that in Troublemaker but no more than would be expected from any person baring themselves so thoroughly.  She's funny, too: I laughed even when I was cringing at the thought of what it would be like to be on the receiving end of some of her more scathing retorts.


As for the scientology, well, that's just as batsh*t crazy as I've always thought, as is Cruise.  I really want to know what happened to Miscavige's wife (I'll be googling when I finish this) and I hope that man and the rest of the organisation all get what's coming to them.  Remini succeeds brilliantly at showing the reader just how easy it is for honest people with the sincere wish to better themselves and the world to get sucked into this vortex of insanity.


But where she really gets my respect and admiration is for having the incredible courage to admit that, as insane and horrific and destructive as scientology is, there were aspects she was able to pull out and point to and say this was good; I benefited from this.  As she was describing her early experiences in the "church" and describing those courses where she was taught to communicate clearly and take responsibility for her actions, I was nodding and thinking "yep, all good" - which scared me, because the rest of it sounded like a lunatic asylum.


By the end of the book I admired her tremendously for having the courage to write about herself (and I admire her mother and husband for allowing her to write about them - holy toledo!) and to be able to say this was my life so far and these parts sucked, but these parts made me better.


I like her, but man, I think you'd need the hide of a rhino just to survive having coffee with her, although the laughs might make it worth it.