Quickie Review of Troublemaker: Surviving Scientology and Hollywood

Authors: Leah Remini and Rebecca Paley

Published: November 2015 by Ballantine Books

Length: 278 pages

Genre: Memoir

Source: Library eBook

My rating: 3 stars

From Goodreads:

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyLeah 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.

The reason I read this book is because I watched her series about Scientology on A&E. I’m not a fan of her work on TV. I’ve never watched an episode of The King of Queens. But I am watching her reality show about what its like to leave Scientology, Leah Remini Sceintology and the Aftermath. And it will be hard to separate my thoughts and feelings about the series from this memoir. But I will try. Leah Remini and her story are intriguing. She seems to be a person who takes no guff from anyone, and that’s why its so interesting that she joined (actually grew up in) The Church of Scientology. The control that Scientology seems to exert on it’s members is appalling.

In the book Leah tells stories of how she rebelled against that pressure and stories about how she also supported their ideas from the time she was a little girl. And that rebellion against and then adherence to the religion becomes confusing and seems to hint at things that happened to her that she isn’t comfortable revealing when she was writing this memoir. I think after telling some of the horrific stories of abuse on her TV show she will eventually reveal more about her unpleasant experiences in Scientology.

She does confront in the book the privilege she had as a celebrity, but also how much time, energy, and the large amount of money she gave to Scientology over the years. She is invited to be a part of Tom Cruise’s inner circle and is invited to his wedding to Katie Holmes. She also is friends with many of the higher ups in Scientology, too. And she donates a large a mount of money to Scientology in addition to buying required courses and traveling to Florida during her work breaks to take courses there as well. And all of the courses and stays in Florida are not free. Scientology expects members to pay for all of these courses.

I could go on recounting everything that happens in the book, but then why would you read it? And I think if you are interested in cults you should read it. It’s not a perfect book, and there are a few things that stand out to me.  Leah writes about how she became an actress, but truthfully that’s not nearly as interesting as her experiences in Scientology. And the the gaps in the stories she doesn’t tell about her experiences in Scientology are obvious, especially after watching the series. Also, the book seems rather chatty in tone, which can be both charming and annoying as you read the book. I think the co-writer, Rebecca Paley, had a time wrangling all of the material into a coherent narrative. Which she does, by the way.

So, if you are looking for information detailing the Scientology and how it works, this book is not the book to read. This book is more focused on Leah Remini’s first months of confronting the cult she has recently left at the time. If you are looking for information, read Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear. But if you are interested in Leah Remini’s experiences in Scientology and how she became a part of it, then this is the book for you.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it and would you/did you watch the TV series? If you haven’t read the memoir or watched the series, would you?  Let me know in the comments below.

January 2017 Wrap-Up

Books Read in January:

Library Books:

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology The Dangerous Viscount (The Burgundy Club, #2) The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton (The Burgundy Club, #3) Something About Emmaline (Bachelor Chronicles, #1) This Rake of Mine Confessions of a Little Black Gown Stealing the Bride Tempted By the Night His Mistress by Morning

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini [eBook]

The Dangerous Viscount by Miranda Neville [eBook]

The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville [eBook]

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean  [eBook]

Something About Emmeline by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

Confessions of a Little Black Gown by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

Stealing the Bride by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

Tempted by the Night by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

His Mistress by Morning by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks and Read Harder Challenge:

S.

S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Started in January:

 

 

Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernst Cline

 

 

 

Across the Blogisphere:

#PostingReviews on Inside My Minds.  I hadn’t thought about doing posting my book reviews on retail sites like Amazon–the online retail site that I use most frequently. I immediately went to Amazon and posted my last three book reviews to the site.  Such a good idea. Thank you,  Ashley @ InsideMyMinds

Reflections an Open Apology to Dolly Parton is  an interesting exploration of this bloggers feelings about Dolly Parton. I think Dolly has been dismissed by many people over the years, and this is a nice examination of the writer’s reversal of opinion.

I have an Instagram account, but I really don’t know how to use it. This article, Extend Your Blog’s Reach With Instagram, really helped me see how to use my account.

Across the Web:

A fascinating essay about fruitcake. How-and- Why Did Fruitcake Become a Slur.

At the end of the Obama presidency many essay and articles came out about it. Here is my favorite: Empathy and Escapism-Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books.

How was your reading life in January? Tell me in the comments, and be sure to leave a link to your January Wrap-Up, too. I love to see what everyone else is reading.

August 2016 Wrap Up

August was a much better month for me when it comes to reading and blogging. I made a bit of progress on the book challenges I’m participating in, but not as much as I would like. Here is my list for August.

Books I’ve read this Month:

My Favorite reads:

  • One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash is amazing. It’s beautifully written and the story is engaging. If you haven’t read it, do! As soon as possible!
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith [AKA J.K. Rowling] is just a wonderfully plotted story. I started reading it as an eBook borrowed from the library, but became so engaged I also borrowed the audio book version to listen to while I worked in my garden and did housework.

Books I Acquired:

  • Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young (paperback)
  • The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (audio book)
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (audio book)
  • One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash (paperback)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne (hardback)
  • The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev (eBook)

Books in Progress:

  • The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (eBook from the library)
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Farrante (paperback)
  • S. by J.J. Abrams, Doug Dorst (hardback)

Books I DNF (did not finish):

  • In Bed With the Devil by Lorraine Heath (eBook from the library) This one didn’t catch my attention.

Reading in September:

Most of the books I’m planning to read are #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks and two are for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge. Now, I’ll probably won’t achieve this goal, but that’s okay.

  • The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev (eBook)
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  • I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert (2016 Read Harder Challenge)
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (2016 Read Harder Challenge)

Here is some of my favorite reads across the blogisphere and the web.

Bloggers:

Both of these posts have nothing to do with books or reading.

  • CoffeeandaBlankpage writes a letter to a man who approached her on the street.
  • TheThrifty Gourmond writes about buying less than pretty vegetables. I really like this since my garden produce is not as perfect as the stuff at the grocery store.

Links from Across the Web:

  • Jessica Gross’s Things We Like website. This is website is lists that Jessica Gross collects and presents on this page. It’s really fascinating, and I enjoy reading them.
  • Hiking stories can be found at this link. I love the idea of hiking different long trails, but i don’t think I ever will do it. So, I do the next best thing I watch videos on You Tube and read essays about hiking.

 

How was your August reading? Did you meet all your goals? What are your plans for September? Let me know what you think of my plans in the comments. Happy Reading!

 

Quickie Review of The Sharper the Knife, The Less You Cry

For many reasons August has been just a hard month to read and write about books. I’m finally getting back into it this week , slowly. And I’m behind on so many things.  I’m behind on the 2016 Read Harder Book Challenge and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, and I’ve only written two book reviews so far this month. So today I though I’d a a quickie review of a book that is a part of both of the challenges.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School in Paris

Kathleen Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old middle manager trapped on the corporate ladder – until her boss eliminated her job. Instead of sulking, she took the opportunity to check out of the rat race for good – cashing in her savings, moving to Paris, and landing a spot at the venerable Le Cordon Blue cooking school.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the funny and inspiring account of her struggle in a stew of hot-tempered, chefs, competitive classmates, her own “wretchedly inadequate” French – and how she mastered the basics of French cuisine. Filled with rich, sensual details of her time in the kitchen – the ingredients, cooking techniques, wine, and more than two dozen recipes – and the vibrant sights and sounds of the markets, shops, and avenues of Paris, it is also a journey of self-discovery, transformation, and, ultimately, love.

I like this book, but I do not love this book. It’s one of those memoirs in which upper middle class woman looses job and goes to exotic location to find self (Think Eat, Pray, Love. Oh, and Elizabeth Gilbert has a blurb on the cover, so you know who the audience is for this book.) I don’t have a fight with this genre, but there is something so off-putting about this genre for me. I only got through the eating portion of Eat, Pray, Love because of the gorgeous descriptions of Italy and food. Which leads me to The Sharper the Knife. The recipes and descriptions of classes at the Cordon Bleu are what I like best about this book. The chef’s and students along with the rivalries are what kept me coming back to this book. And the recipes! The recipes seem like something I can follow successfully.

What I did not love about this book. The trials and tribulations of finding the perfect apartment in the center of Paris. The sadness of living out with the poor folk out on the eastern edge of Paris. The struggles of getting to school on the metro, and the uncomfortable feeling of struggling back to the apartment through the children of the neighborhood begging for money. And she did have a serious issue with her new husband towards the end of the book, but all the other tone deaf “trials”earlier in the book make it hard to feel too sorry or sympathetic for her.

Now, that being said, its not a bad story. I will recommend it to anyone who is interested in what it’s like to attend the Cordon Bleu in Paris. But if you are looking for inspiration…..No. Read something else. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.

What do you think? Would you read this book? Do you like memoirs? Do you like novels that include recipes? If you do, let me know in the comments!

WWW Wednesday, June 29th

img_1384-0Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by  Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? Just leave a comment. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? I’m trying to finish S. by J.J. Abrams, Doug Dorst. Its really interesting with a fascinating idea behind it. It’s interactive! There are notes in the margins, stuff tucked between the pages which contribute to the whole story. It sort of reminds of Lost, if that makes sense. I want to finish it before I start a new book.

What did you recently finish reading? Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Such a good book. 5 Stars! Click here for my review.

What do you think you’ll read next? The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School in ParisLaughter, and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School in Paris by Kathleen Flinn. I need to read something for the Read Harder Challenge and this has been in my TBR pile for a while.

 

 

Have you read any of this books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments. What are you reading?

 

 

It’s Monday, What are You Reading? June 20th

badgeLast week I didn’t get much reading done because I needed to do stuff and I participated in #WeekofReveiws challenge hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge. And I manged two write seven reviews!  If you would like to read my reviews, click here, here, here, here, here, and here.  It was a really gun challenge and helped me jump start my writing.

This week I’m determined to read. And I’m reading a book Ive been looking forward to for  a year or more: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I’ve seen good things about it all over the interwebs and from readers in my own house. I love dystopian novels so much! Plus, this book will also count towards the Read Harder 2016 challenge. When I finish Station Eleven I plan on starting The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn.

Station Eleven                      The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School in Paris

 

 

 

Review of American Ghost

Click to Read More!

It’s day two of the #WeekofReveiws #Reviewathon challenge hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge . I was a bit confused at the dates because I’m not paying as much attention to dates as I should! Thanks, Andi, for this challenge. Yesterday, I posted a review of  Graveminder by Melissa Marr.

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus.

  • Pub. Date: 2015
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Format:Kindle eBook
  • memoir
  • page number: 341
  • Source: I bought it at Amazon.
  • 4 stars American Ghost: A Family's Extraordinary History on the Desert Frontier

What if one day, while watching tv, a picture of your grandparent’s home came on the screen.  And it’s on a ghosting hunting, paranormal phenomena show? And they claim the house is haunted by your great-great-grandmother? What would be your reaction? Well, this is similar to a situation to author Hannah Nordhaus is faced with a similar situation. Since the ’70’s stories about her Great-great-grandmother, Julia Staab haunting the former family mansion in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Stories of murder, depression, evil babies, and locked doors. A women in black wafting down hallways and through walls. Gothic horror stories come to life. Family stories that do nothing to really disprove the tales being told about Julia. So Hannah decides to find out how much of the ghost story is true. She uses her skills as a nonfiction writer to discover more about her family’s infamous ghost. To do this she consults ghost hunters and paranormal investigators, psychics and clairvoyants, gemologists and town historians. She also travels to Julia’s hometown in Germany and spends the night in Julia’s bedroom in her family’s former mansion. It’s a fascinating look at how the ghost stories tell us more about our history than we think.

I was expecting this book to be more like the super popular ghost hunting stories that populate the airwaves, but am surprised and happy it is not. It is an absorbing tale about family history that is also American history. I knew very little about Jewish history in the American Southwest and learned so much while reading this. And she tries to give Julia a voice. It truly is a fascinating read if you enjoy ghost stories and history.