After watching the second episode of Leah Remini's A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath, I can't help but make today's recommendation Troublemaker, on audio. Because if someone as amazing as Leah Remini writes a book, why wouldn't you want her to read it to you herself?
Remini's 2013 break from the Church of Scientology was public, loud, and brave. In other words, a lot like her. I don't remember the first time I noticed her, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the first time I saw her. She has a brash confidence that draws attention and the intelligence, grace, and sassy humor to back it up. All of that comes through in this book.
Troublemaker has it all--stories of Hollywood, friendship, family, and Scientology. Remini talks candidly about growing up, breaking into show business, struggling with her faith, and trying to keep her family together. She doesn't hold back from any topic, not in her words or in her reading. Her voice is infused with emotion and passion as she tells her life story.
Remini is in the unusual position to be (or have been) an insider in two closed ceremonies that we all want to know more about--Hollywood and Scientology. The stories she tells in this book show the reality of working in the entertainment industry and of growing up in the Church of Scientology. She tells how she got her start, the rush of starring in her first television show, and the devastation when the network cancelled it. She tells about when she went to Tom Cruise's wedding, the way she worried about the church's relationship with him and his celebrity, her concerns for her friends that she had to leave behind.
One of the most gut-wrenching parts of this book is hearing her talk about her doubts about Scientology. You get to hear her stores of growing up in the church. Her mother was there, her sister was there, and clearly her faith was real. She truly committed herself to Scientology, and seeing how quickly and how thoroughly the church leaders turned on her is absolutely heart breaking. But she is not one to sit around feeling sorry for herself. She moves forward, sharing her story with all of us, and now, taking on a show where she can share the stories of other people as well. I only wish I were half as courageous as she is.
So buy this book. Read it, or better yet, listen to it. You will not regret it. Well, actually, you might regret it. There is a lot of pain here. But you will be a better person for hearing her story. She is a troublemaker, the best kind, and I can't wait to see what kind of trouble she gets into next.