Sometimes you just want a good celebrity tell-all, right? Well, that's what I hoped for with Leah Remini's Troublemaker, and that's exactly what I got! 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.
Something about Scientology has long fascinated me. Not in a "I have to learn more and get involved" kind of way, but more like a questioning of how on earth people can follow this "religion." A few years ago, I read Jefferson Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams, and, while it was a fascinating look inside Scientology, it wasn't at all about the celebrity experience in Scientology. A big part of my interest stems from the celebrity component—practically everyone knows that Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley are Scientologists, and it's always big news when a celeb leaves the church ... like Leah Remini did in 2013.
While I enjoyed Remini on The King of Queens, her brash personality off the show grated on me. However, I've been watching her show Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and it is fascinating. I really respect her drive to expose the truth about Scientology and bring change. Watching the show is what caused me to pick up her book.
Remini's Troublemaker provides the insider look at the celebrity side of Scientology I'd been hoping for. Remini's experience in Scientology was different than most as she began as a SeaOrg member (church worker) but then later became a regular parishioner and then a celebrity parishioner. (The portion of the book spent on her days in SeaOrg isn't nearly as enthralling as the rest of the book.) Remini isn't afraid to name names as she tells her story. She talks about Tom Cruise a lot—apparently, she and her husband Angelo were part of Cruise's "inner circle" for a while. And it's when Remini starts talking about her interactions with Cruise that things really get interesting...and her relationship with the church starts faltering.
I listened to Troublemaker on audiobook, read by Remini, and hearing the story told in Remini's own voice really lent an authenticity to it. Hers is a fascinating story, and I highly recommend it. 4-1/2 stars.
Note: The Remini in Troublemaker is exactly what you'd expect her to be—brash, vulgar, and frank. There is lots of swearing, so keep that in mind if you're sensitive to that type of thing.
Buy the book. Check out Remini's A&E show Scientology & the Aftermath. Leah Remini is an actor, producer, and #1 New York Times bestselling author. A fixture on television since the age of eighteen, Remini is best known for her beloved role of Carrie on the nine-season hit The King of Queens. Remini went on to produce and star in one of the earliest and most successful comedic web series, In the Motherhood, and appeared in the movie Old School alongside Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn. In 2010, Remini helped launch and co-hosted the first season of the CBS daytime hit show The Talk, and in 2013 she was seen on the dance floor in Dancing with the Stars. She currently co-stars in the TV Land comedy The Exes and TLC’s reality show Leah Remini: It’s All Relative, which she also created and executive produces. Remini finds great joy in her philanthropic work with numerous and diverse military, women’s, and children’s charities. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book myself and chose to review it. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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