TROUBLEMAKER: SURVIVING HOLLYWOOD AND SCIENTOLOGY. Leah Rimini. Ballantine; 2015.
In part memoir and in part excoriation of the horrible cult of scientology, Remini (with Rebecca Paley) has put together a gripping account of her trials and tribulations with the Cult of Cruise. Rimini, star for many seasons of The King of Queens (formerly she played Carla's daughter on Cheers), was indoctrinated into the cult at an early age, and grew up thinking it was normal to be washing toilets in a motel for $15 a week at the age of fourteen. Living conditions for the lesser scientologists are quite different from the way the "stars" live, and anyone who speaks out about those conditions is branded a "Suppressive Person" and winds up censured or, as real religions would put it, excommunicated. Members of the cult are strongly encouraged to tell on anyone who transgresses, or they will be considered transgressors themselves. Once a sane person decides to leave the "church," they must be cut off from people who remain in the "church," including members of their own family. Rimini makes it clear that the power of the cult has been greatly overestimated both in its numbers and -- despite the success of its most famous members -- in Hollywood (for every Tom Cruise there's an Anne Archer or Kirstie Alley, who is now better known for diet commercials than anything else). Like most cults, the rules for most members don't apply to leaders such as Tom Cruise or his buddy Tom Miscavige,whose wife Shelley has not been seen in public for many years. Rimini filed a Missing Persons report but got nowhere with the police. Perhaps out of embarrassment, Remini sort of downplays the fact that this "religion," founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, revolves around the influence of some outer space alien (yes!) This is not the first nor last expose on scientology, but Remini's comparatively high profile may finally make everyone see what a crock of shit it is.
Verdict: Good read which exposes some appalling situations. ***.