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Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology

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The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology.

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.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published November 3, 2015

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About the author

Leah Remini

2 books1,006 followers
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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,855 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,992 followers
November 9, 2015
I'm going to admit. When I heard the this book was coming out I was curious and then I thought..so why did she stay in that religion so long if it's so crazy? Is she nuts?
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I'm so damn nosey about stuff like this though. I want to know the secrets without having to enter into the realm of the crazy.
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Shut up, Xenu. My ass is broke so I can't fork over enough dough for you anyways. Plus, I'm a bit on the big mouth side like Leah Remini...but think the southern version of her.
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Upon starting this book, one thing stands out. I REALLY like Leah Remini. She comes across as telling the truth. At first it's about her growing up and entering into the church. Her mom is a flower child and gets interested in Scientology and eventually brings Leah and her sister into the group.
The girls and their mom end up in Florida but Leah is pretty much a girl that is not going to keep her mouth shut. *fist bumps* So she ends up getting in trouble.
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The church wants she and her sister punished but mom steps in and they all end up being sent out to LA. The story goes into the tryouts and shows that Leah was on, including her time on "The King of Queens".
Throughout Leah's story she is still invested in the church, even when she questions the Kool-Aid drinking she still sees the good that came from being in this religion.
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Then she gets to meet the big whhoooohaa himself. Tom Cruise. (after she donates a million to the church)
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She ends up being invited to "the Wedding of the Century" *gag* and finds out that Cruise and company want her to invite her friends Jennifer Lopez and her then husband Marc Anthony. I never did figure out what the whole deal with this was. I don't think Leah did either but it's seriously some frigged up stuff. (I'm not spoiling on the good stuff)

Leah starts questioning the religion and they sure as shit don't like it. Writing reports on grown ups that act badly? Give me a frigging break. Having to do cleaning toilet duty and other punishments...as a fucking adult.

I would like to have a few things clarified. I wouldn't mind Jennifer Lopez backing up her friend if she wants her believed. I want to know where the hell the main guy's wife is. I want to know why any religion would pretty much bend over and kiss Tom Cruise's ass? Why does he have so much power? Because I'm telling you Scientology guys one thing...If you guys are wanting to impress people with how "clear" you guys are and how much better you are than all of us lower class people, you are choosing the wrong man for the job.
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I would also love to know more about this situation.
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But we aren't going to get that are we? Because I almost felt an underlying fear from Remini's words in this book. She didn't mind telling some but I don't think she can tell all.

For my final verdict. I ended up believing most of what Leah Remini is saying. She admits to being loud, rude and whatever is thrown at her. She gives no shits.
I wish her well. I hope she makes millions of dollars and rubs their faces in it that they ain't getting any of her money any more.
Get your freak on girlie.
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Booksource: I had a copy gifted to me by a most awesomeness of friends. Thank you so much!

My thoughts pre-reading:

For the love of Tom Cruise! Give me this book!

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Sh3lly's review is completely awesome. I should have just copied and pasted her's because she does tell everything perfectly!

Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 10, 2020
If the Church Cult of Scientology doesn't horrify you, then you don't know enough.
By their actions, they will show you who they are.
Leah Remini was indoctrinated into the Cult at a young age by her mother. Her mother, stuck in an abusive relationship, broke free with the help of the "benevolent" Cult. Little did she know that she was signing away her family's freedom.

As a result, Leah spent many of her formative years internalizing and projecting their beliefs. Her "basic training" consisted of cleaning and housekeeping - working dozens of hours beyond what was legal for a 14 year old. She was so convinced that this was the way to goodness that anyone who tried to say otherwise only caused her to dig her heals in deeper.

She realizes that things don't add up only when she gets older and more into mainstream media. The core principles she studied for decades are thrown away by the higher-ups (*cough* *cough* Tom Cruise). And there are rumors about torture and people disappearing that are becoming more real by the day.

No one wants to give her answers and when she becomes outspoken, she is interrogated beyond what anyone would consider humane. Her interrogations/"truth sessions" lasted for upwards of twelve hours a day. She'd have to pay 'repercussion' fees and publicly apologize for things that the Cult said she did wrong.

This book is absolutely fascinating. Her life within and her break out captivated me. I literally could continue my review for pages and pages. Highly, highly recommended if you are looking for a memoir but are tired of the dishy-trashy ones or the woe-is-me sort.

Just take the first chapter for example. Leah states why she is sharing her story. She hopes to educate the public and reach out to those on the verge of leaving the Cult. She knows that she cannot help the true believers and she knows what will happen to her once she publishes this book,
I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT when this book comes out, Scientologists will scream about religious intolerance, say that I am a liar, that I was kicked out of the church, and call Troublemaker the work of a hateful bigot or a self-absorbed person...What they will likely not do, however, is actually read this book, because that would be going against one of the basic tenets of Scientology. A member should not read or watch anything generated by someone whom the church approves.
It's a real-life horror story

Audiobook Comments
She read her own book and wow. I have not been so impressed by the tone/inflection in a long time. Such great job. Boosted this book from a 4.5 to a 5.0.

The Finer Books Club - 2018 Reading Challenge: A book where the font of the author's name is larger than the title

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Profile Image for Danielle.
833 reviews452 followers
July 17, 2020
I just spent an embarrassingly long amount of time going down the Scientology rabbit hole. How do people follow this so blindly. Pay me more to get to the next level?! 😮😮😮🤯🤯 it’s straight up bonkers. The parts of this book about her life took a backseat to this crazy religion. And am I the only one left wondering where the leader of the cults wife is?? Really.... where is she????
Profile Image for Petra on hiatus, really unwell.
2,457 reviews34.4k followers
February 10, 2017
What I got from this book is the usual stuff about Scientology. No one writes anything good about it. It's all what a terrible scam and wicked cult it is that absolutely controlled their lives. And how the author (any author of these exposé books) was deluded for many years as were there entire families and friends and suddenly they realised the truth. Do these authors realise how stupid they sound?

All these conversions from are about as convincing at conversions to. I could never take Karen Armstrong seriously on her 'objective' books about religion when she'd been a nun and ended up a Muslim. And I think Leah Remini also lacks credibility. She makes out what a savvy person she is, how she was always one that knew what was going on and when she set her mind at something (like becoming a star, although I'd never heard of her before) she would achieve it. But then she subjects herself to all sorts of punishments of where she has to stay, what she has to do and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars she will have to pay for the privilege of all this punishment and abuse. What is this book about? Cognitive dissonance!

In some ways it was the usual celebrity memoir portraying Remini as a bit of an airhead but quite entertaining and with lots of nasty gossip about Kirsty Alley and Tom Cruise et al. I can't say I didn't enjoy that part.

Do I believe her? Does it matter? She believes it, the book made money and she got even more column inches. I think she also feels her attempted revenge on those who had sidelined and mistreated her about her ideas and refused to persecute Tom Cruise as she wanted has succeeded through this book.

But there is another side to Scientology and it would be interesting to read a book from a positive point of view by someone we know and who has credibility, rather than yet another demonisation of the church and everyone in it.

Really, when you have a religion or cult started by a man who had been convicted of fraud (as had Hubbard and his wife), do you really expect a path that leads to nirvana-on-earth? (Or in the case of the LDS, in the next life as a god on your own planet).

So what's kept people in Scientology? Happy, productive people who've done well. I'd like to know.

Written when reading the book.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
November 26, 2015
I tend to listen to autobiographies on audio because I love hearing stories in the voice of the teller. And I've been a huge fan of Remini for years because she's hilarious such a badass in my eyes. So I purchased this without any second guesses and was not disappointed. This was absolutely excellent, horrifying, hilarious, disturbing and addictive. It reads like a mystery/thriller and then I'd remember it's real life and become super horrified on a loop. But I could not stop listening.

Probably one of the best autobiographies I've listened to so far and a superb audio narration. Highly recommended.

Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,483 reviews7,782 followers
January 19, 2016
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Oh Leah. Leah, Leah, Leah . . .

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While this book had my curiosity peaked (EDIT: like a peak higher than Mt. Everest, Ron) upon release (I mean who DOESN’T want to know about the Cult of Personality Scientology at this point, right?) I didn’t have plans on reading it. Why, you may ask? Mainly because I had almost convinced myself the story would be nothing but bullshit before even reading the blurb. Leah Remini’s run on a successful television program had come to an end and I thought she was looking for some more dollahs to make her hollah. I also spent the entire run of The King of Queens being told that my husband and myself “are EXACTLY like Carrie and Doug!” WTF? I never watched the show so I finally tuned in after hearing that for the umpteenth time. And guess what? Carrie’s kind of a bitch . . .

STFU Ron 2.0 peanut gallery. Also, what kind of freaks spend their time talking to others about me and my husband???? Not only does that sound like a wicked snoozer of a conversation, but picture this . . .

Only we’re both fat. Ew. And finally, I’m not like Carrie at all ------ but I am pretty much Molly . . .

Anywho, now that THAT backstory is out of the way. I finally gave in to reading this after it was gifted to me. (I’ll give you three guesses to figure out from who.) Of course since both me AND my book fairy are computer illiterate I couldn’t get the damn thing to download and had to end up waiting for a library copy. It really is the thought that counts with me because I’m too stupid to even use gifts that people send me.

So what did I find upon reading this book? Well, to begin with I’m a lot more like Leah Remini than I thought. Right out of the jump she owns that she can be an asshole and that she isn’t one to play the role of shrinking violet. Her whole life her mouth has earned her the label of “troublemaker” and she doesn’t shy away from it . . .

“I hate when people say, ‘Enjoy it,’ when you’re complaining about something. I am enjoying it. But I also enjoy complaining about it. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.”

Okay, maybe I’m EXACTLY like Leah Remini.

I also learned she was pretty much born and bred into Scientology. She wasn’t someone (*cough Will Smith cough*) who joined because “all the cool kids were doing it.” Nope, she joined as a child because her mother signed them up and spent DECADES drinking the special Xenu-mix Kool-Aid flavor. This book really did tell the ins and outs of her experiences with Scientology. From Sea Org to “being on course” to “audits” to . . . .

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Because really at the end of the day NO ONE can “Go Clear” without spending a poopton of cash.

Knowing that Tom Cruise has been sue happy in the past and assuming Remini and Cruise didn’t really run in the same circles, I figured Troublemaker would go into ZERO detail about the infamous couch jumper. Imagine my surprise when Leah totally dished about all of her encounters with the tiny weirdo. What kind of things?????

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If you’re a fan of celebrity bios this is one of the best I’ve read. Obviously the Scientology portions are the “hook” to get people to buy this one, but I was surprised by how much I liked all of the NON-Scientology bits. Remini sums Scientology up best . . . .

“My problem with Scientology – despite its claims to the contrary, the practice doesn’t help you better the world or even yourself; it only helps you be a better Scientologist.”

Obviously Shelby gave me this book, but Sandra and Jennifer really liked it/wrote great reviews too. Go check them out, spread the love, and maybe even make some new friends : )
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 7 books972 followers
September 16, 2020
Whoa!! This is EYE-OPENING. Went in knowing nothing about Leah Remini or Scientology, left feeling overwhelmed and a little freaked out about this whole world of existence. I can and can't believe it. I grew up within "normal" organized religion and that was creepy enough. Sadly, it's easy to see how Scientology gathers followers by exploiting the basic human need for spirituality, then adds in some sinister mobster stuff to keep them trapped.

The book is certainly not your typical Hollywood rags-to-riches memoir, though we do get a few gossipy tidbits about life among the razzle dazzle. Remini is a down-to-earth girl, though, so she always keeps it conversational and light-hearted. Yes, she does cross paths with Tom Cruise and doesn't hold back on details. The real story is clearly her 30-year experience with a cult, however, and I appreciate how she keeps that as her primary focus.

I'm sure there are other books on Scientology which look at it from a broader, more comprehensive perspective, but I think it's easier to understand when you see it from one person's experience. Leah shows you what it's like to live in the cult, not what the cult does in a purely academic sense. She writes with blunt humor which makes reading about such difficult things more manageable. It also makes it more real.

Of particular note are descriptions of how she was treated during her early experiences with the "church" as a child, and how they carefully introduced intricate policies, racketeering, subtle--and some not-so-subtle--mental abuse as she grew older, and wealthier. Even now, after finally freeing herself from the church and understanding what evil they were doing, she can't let go of certain teachings; can't rid herself of all the lies and gaslighting. She recognizes this is a problem, that she experiences spiritual turmoil based on concepts with no other purpose than to drain money from followers, but it's what she was taught to believe all her life. Stuff like that isn't easy to discard.

All in all: I almost never read or recommend celebrity memoirs, but this is actually important. Like, you need to read this book. It's important to gather a perspective on what can happen in the world, and how anyone--yes, anyone--can be manipulated.
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,029 reviews934 followers
April 26, 2017
Leah Remini is an actress that I have never heard of before and knew nothing about. However, I just recently read another book about Scientology: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill and Lisa Pulitzer, that was suggested to me by a Goodreads' friend. That book was fantastic and sparked my interest in learning more about Scientology. When I reviewed that book another friend suggested this one to me. I am so glad she did because this book was FANTASTIC!

I listened to the audio version of this book and it was read by the author (Leah Remini). She was extremely good! Leah does not hold back. She starts off telling you everything that is wrong with her and her whole family, because she knew Scientology would try to "tare her apart" when this book came out. Leah is extremely blunt, honest and real. She has a willingness to speak her mind and stand her ground. She is a tough talking girl from Brooklyn that worked hard and from nothing to become a successful Hollywood star.

Remini's family became involved in the church when she was 16-years-old and she stayed very involved in it for many years afterword. Scientology had a lot of good aspects to it. She made a lot of friends from it. The religion helped her get an acting coach and she became successful because of him. However, the church also had many downfalls that took Leah a lot time to discover.

When she did start questioning the church she became a negative target. One the biggest eye-openers for Leah is when she realized "everyday" people were sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into the religion to move up different levels. She learned that people that were only making $50,000 a year were $250,000 in dept. Leah explains how that can happen, or at least how it happened to her. Leah started realizing that Scientology wasn't as great as she thought when she attended Tom Cruise's wedding in 2006 (the "best" member of Scientology) and he and many other leaders were breaking all the rules and regulations.

In 2013, Leah loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology and this book is her way of opening up and sharing this painful split with the church and its controversial practices. 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, this includes members of her own family, were told to disconnect from her and never talk to her again.

This book was FANTASTIC! I was never bored and listened to every word of it. I suggest this book to anyone that wants to learn more about Scientology or Leah!
Profile Image for Erin .
1,279 reviews1,202 followers
April 20, 2017
Unlike most celebrity tell-all's Leah Remini doesn't try to paint herself as perfect or attempt to whitewash her past. She starts the book by telling you about all her faults & I think it makes her all the more believable. Troublemaker is a harrowing glimpse inside a cult that paints itself as a religion. A must read.
Profile Image for Jaidee.
605 reviews1,204 followers
July 14, 2021
3 stars !!

2017 The Most Average of Average Award

I will not be writing a review for this one.
I guess in a way...that is my review.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,801 followers
July 29, 2017

While this isn't the most well written book around, the audio version is magnetic and you won't be able to turn away.

I loved, loved, loved listening to Leah Remini tell her story. Her Brooklyn accent sounds like home to me (I have no accent, but most of my family is from Queens and pronounces words the same way- "whoo-are!"). She was a really engaging narrator and she made her story come alive.

I've already read a ton and watched a ton about the cult of Scientology and the crooks that run it, so those aspects of the story weren't anything new to me. However, I felt so, so bad for Leah having to discover that everything that she had known was a lie. Also, the chapters dealing with how children are treated in Scientology were very hard to swallow.

An excellent listen, and totally worth your time and money.
Profile Image for GeneralTHC.
357 reviews15 followers
November 4, 2015

I may write an in-depth review after I’ve had time to think on this one some. Right now I don’t even know where to begin really. The stuff in this book, which I’m sure is the unvarnished truth, is off-the-charts crazy. It's very tempting to write a detailed review laying the whole thing out, but I’m going to try to refrain from doing that; people really need to get this right from Leah Remini. And it’s a very easy and entertaining read. Suffice it for now to say Scientology is absolutely a cult that's every bit as crazy as you've ever heard, Tom Cruise is absolutely an epic asshole--they totally deserve each other--and I have a new respect for Leah Remini. I’m so very glad to have read this and so very glad she was able to extricate herself from such madness. Teach your children critical thinking skills, people! I think that’s the real takeaway.
October 23, 2021

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Leah Remini was an actress on a lot of TV shows I didn't watch. She also used to be a Scientologist. TROUBLEMAKER is a celebrity memoir about her big break and her rise to fame, but it's also about growing up as a Scientologist, an inside look at some of the inner-workings of a religion that is known for being secretive and invasive, and a tell-all about why she chose to leave.

This is a really compelling memoir and I breezed through it in just over a day. Personality-wise, she reminds me a lot of Chrissy Teigen, in that she tells things like it is without caring who she's going to offend in the process (hence the title of the memoir). I didn't actually know much about Scientology before picking this book up and was kind of blown away by how much money parishioners end up pouring into the Church, and how many hours and hours of classes and auditing sessions they have to attend. It honestly sounds like a hideous mash-up of college work and Sunday confessionals: two things that should never be combined.

Leah obviously has a huge passion for acting and being in front of a camera and it was a lot of fun to hear about her excitement with each roll she managed to land (Saved by the Bell, Living Dolls, King of Queens, etc.). I liked hearing who was nice and who was mean. I think that's one of the most fun elements of memoirs like these, and I'm always secretly disappointed when celebrities won't dish.

The dark edge to this memoir is obviously the religious angle. One of the things that really disillusioned her was Tom Cruise and the way he was able to act with the silent (or not so silent in some cases) approval of the Church. She was invited to his wedding with Katie Holmes and the way and some of the other guests acted was really, really creepy. Another thing that put her off was the disappearance of David Miscavige's wife, Shelly, who she even went so far as to file a missing person's report for. But the thing that she said really drove a wedge between her and Scientology for good is that you're supposed to Disconnect with your family if they ever become a Suppressive Person (SP), meaning you can never ever talk to them again. She didn't want to have to do that.

If you're interested in dark memoirs, religious memoirs, or celebrity memoirs, you'll probably really enjoy TROUBLEMAKER. Leah Remini has a great voice, she isn't afraid to dish, and it features some truly bizarre exploits of the rich and famous and the religiously zealous. I really enjoyed reading this a lot and hope everything is still working out for Ms. Remini in this new chapter of her life.

4 to 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Yodamom.
2,003 reviews196 followers
June 21, 2016
4.5 eye opening stars !
I wasn't a fan of her before I listened to this. I've never seen any of her shows. I'm not a TV watcher. When I ended her story I was her fan, not for her acting but for her mouth, her loud never cower attitude. She was beaten down emotionally, publicly, and she slightly bent but never broke. She witnessed the crazy, was aware that something was not as it was said to be. Double standards, backstabbing, preferential treatment, mental abuse, physical abuse, money gorging, and more. She tried, wanted to believe she was changing the world, wanted something she dedicated her life to, to be honest. She stood, faced the ugly giant Church of Scientology bullies, lost many "friends" and gained her true self, with true friends.
I did not expect to enjoy this. I went into it expecting to drop it. I know negative thinking. Leah, is a fabulous story telling, so honest, and open about such important and personal years. Educational !
Bravo Leah !
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,746 reviews6,673 followers
December 27, 2015
I love Leah Remini. I love her attitude, her candor, her directness...I think she's hilarious even when she's not trying to be. When I decided to read her memoir: Troublemaker, I expected a lot more comedy than I got. But I wasn't disappointed, I was actually pleasantly surprised.

The audiobook experience was excellent in my opinion. Leah narrates it herself and it's like she is speaking directly to the reader. She discusses her childhood, her family, her entry into the church of Scientology, and her career as an actress. Yes, there was humor for sure, but mostly it was real, down-to-earth discussion about her life. Her past devotion to Scientology took center stage most of the time as she shared the positives and negatives of her experiences, but I didn't hear the bitter ramblings of a disgruntled member. I heard the passionate concern of someone who feels that her fellow Scientologists deserve better, more accountable and ethical leadership.

I knew next to nothing about Scientology before reading Leah's book so I feel like I learned a lot. It wasn't all bad either so for that I have even more respect and admiration for Leah. She could have turned Troublemaker into a total bitchfest, and if I'm being honest, it did verge on that at times, but any issue brought up circled back to the fact that sometimes leadership should be questioned – a system of checks and balances put into place. If prompting her church to consider this made Leah a troublemaker, then it seems she is resolved to keep making trouble. After all, bitches get stuff done.

My favorite quote:
“We all have something to offer the world in some way, but by not being our authentic selves, we are robbing the world of something different, something special.”
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
651 reviews407 followers
May 30, 2017
“There is no shortage of people who would be willing to say “Leah can be an asshole”—my own mother can attest to that. And if I am all these things the church may claim, then isn’t it also accurate to say that in the end, thirty-plus years of dedication, millions of dollars spent, and countless hours of study and training didn’t really “fix” me? Perhaps Scientology doesn’t work.”


Good question. And wow! Millions of dollars spent for a religion. Why would anybody do that? Why must people be fixed in the way scientology approves of? Reading this book, learning about what their training means... It's creepy, despicable and unnatural. Children are supposed to be children, not little adults. They should play most of the day, not wash toilets or be bullied by a teacher. Young adults should have fun, not drink coffee in order to make it through a hard day of manual labor.

“You were either all in or all out. It is an extremist religion. There is no middle ground. And there within its structure lies the danger.”


Really? What ever happened to human rights? And why on Earth would somebody willingly subject himself/herself to such things? Are people really that blind or desperate?

“I was more than aware of the Fair Game policy, which stipulates that anyone against Scientology “may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.” This policy essentially allows Scientologists to punish and harass “enemies” using any and all means necessary. The church has stated that this policy was canceled, but there is an exception: “If the person is an SP, this applies.”


That's just crazy.

P.S. I never really liked Tom Cruise (except for his role in Interview with the Vampire), but now my dislike for him reached a whole new level.
Profile Image for Sarah.
402 reviews136 followers
September 5, 2017
This was really good. It was equally about Leah and Scientology. If you're interested in Scientology, you should definitely read this. Sometimes reading biographies makes me like the person less but this book made me like Leah Remini a lot more.
Profile Image for Britany.
991 reviews434 followers
March 19, 2017
I was intrigued about Leah's story since she hit headlines when she left the "church" of Scientology. I finally got my hands on a copy- audio, and immediately fell in love with it. She is a very specific character and knows who she is to the point, that it was like she was sitting next to me telling me her very personal story. She tells it like it is, and I appreciated the no-nonsense writing and the stories. I don't know which to recommend more- the audio, which was incredible, or the book- as that displayed some good pictures throughout the book. Also, a few police document copies-- which doesn't translate as well via audio.

Leah's mother marries George and that's when their family delves into Scientology. I learned that their biggest mission is to clear the planet (Whatever THAT means) and learned even more about the suppressive, cult-like nature of the church. She mostly confirmed what I thought was true and addresses all the elephants in the room- *cough Tom Cruise cough*. The Scientology sections flow together while Leah auditions for many roles, and finally lands her major break. I loved the juxtaposition between Hollywood & Scientology- the irony is not lost on me.

The only pieces missing for me, was the ending- a little too rushed and left some major plot points unanswered, luckily for me, I will use Google to find out what happened with the church since she's become an SP and where in the world did Shelly Miscavige go? Highly recommend this one to those interested. There is some minor language- which perfectly comes out of Leah's mouth, however, not for those that can't handle the F***'s. :)
Profile Image for Karina.
851 reviews
April 7, 2022
"As long as I was a Scientologist, the church told me what to do and what not to do in almost every aspect of my life. If I had any doubts about leaving my faith, they vanished when I thought of Sofia growing up thinking her connection to the church was the measure of her successes in life. I wanted her to be an individual. Belief and faith are great, but very few people have been led astray by thinking for themselves." (PG. 227)

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this chaotic book. Religions and cults interest me greatly and I can see why people don't go into organized religion. There is such a fine line of normal to cult. Religion attracts crazy people. Crazy people ruin religion. Religion is good but there are bad people always.

I didn't know and care for Leah Remini. I just knew she was Jennifer Lopez's good friend and she was on The King of Queens, which I watched once in a while. I always thought she seemed like a B-- but it seems to be the thing that led her to survive her circumstances.

This book was a whirlwind of crazy. I wanted to yell at her "NO! That's not normal. Leah, DON'T DO IT!" Like how do individuals go into debt over their faith and then when they get punished the church fines them and can take away their homes? People leave the faith and are considered enemies of the church and the people closest to them must stop talking to them? Signing a billion year contract? It's too much for me. It makes me uncomfortable that they are buying up properties and is essentially a billion dollar industry that doesn't give back to the community. I grew up Catholic so I can say with certainty that Scientology isn't the only shady religion of the world.

I'm not here to bash Scientology. But what I learned makes me uncomfortable, like any religion that doesn't jive with me or seems too extreme on it's people.

Anyway, her story was very amusing and I enjoyed her Hollywood name dropping. I know more about her now but still won't be following her career. She is very honest and loyal from what she says so I appreciate that. Learning about scumbag Tom Cruise was the best and funniest part of the Hollywood bits. She made a good point in saying that in the world of acting actors stay the age of where they peaked... Uuummm Tom Cruise in Top Gun at 21... It might be true with people in your personal lives too....

Recommend this book for an in depth look into Scientology and also the YouTuber Kendall Rae explores it very in depth starting with the founder LRH, L. Ron Hubbard if you want to take your knowledge a bit further or wanna listen to something while you're cleaning.
Profile Image for Kelli.
851 reviews403 followers
November 30, 2019
Initially a bit challenged (or dare I say put off) by the cadence of this audio, I eventually got used to the speed and unique structure of the author’s reading style. She had to read her own story, of course, and to hear her read it is to connect to its authenticity.

This book surprised me, but not in the ways I expected. I marveled at her ability to balance her life in the Church with her life outside of it. It seemed as if she spent a tremendous amount of time doing Church things, yet she didn’t discuss this with her friends at all. I was impressed by her ability to stay true to herself throughout the years, maintaining the parts of her personality that caused others to deem her a troublemaker, but that essentially are who she is at her core. Above all, I was amazed that in the end, she called the Church out for allowing its top people to constantly break “policy” and behave in a way that was not permitted under Church law...and then she walked away after getting a very long runaround about it. That’s badass.

I never planned to read this book because the two books I’ve read about Scientology were more than enough for me. The acronyms alone drive me crazy. I’m surprised by how compelling this was and by just how much I liked Leah. She came across as loyal, genuine, a little crass but very real. I’m sure she is a great friend.

We should all be afforded personal choice to leave any organization no questions asked. Period. Well done, Leah.

4 stars
Profile Image for Char.
1,682 reviews1,557 followers
March 11, 2016
Having pretty much no idea of who Leah Remini is, I still enjoyed listening to this autobiography/scientology-bashing book, which she narrated herself.

I am not a religious person, having soured on my Catholic upbringing during my teens. However, I still respect those that choose to believe in Catholicism because it brings them happiness and often provides them support in tough times. I do not have any respect whatsoever for Scientology; I cannot believe that any true religion that is interested in having you better yourself and better the world, would charge you money to do so. And I'm not talking handing around the collection plate and asking you for what you can afford. I'm talking about MAKING YOU PAY, even to the extent of coaching you on how to call Visa and ask them for a larger credit limit, so that you may donate it to the "church."

A friend just asked me a few hours ago if I learned anything from this book and I responded that I did. Having watched the HBO doc. "Going Clear", most of this information was known to me. What I didn't know was that children as young as 7, like Leah, are brought into this organization and eventually made to work like dogs. Cleaning hotel rooms all day, every day for the princely sum of $15.00 per week. As a child? Aren't there laws against that? Having to steal food because you're practically starving? This is allowed? (And decades later, after Leah becomes a celebrity, during an "audit" where you have to discuss things you've done wrong in your life, when she admits that she stole food, they assess her a fine of $40,000.00 to make up for her "crimes"? Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me? A child is stealing food because she is hungry and the adult she becomes has to pay 40 grand? You do NOT want to know what my response to that would be. )

I realize this information is subjective and not necessarily fact. But taken in conjunction with several in depth articles I've read and the few documentaries I've seen, most of Leah's story rang true to me. The reporting on your friends, the constant "sec checks" (security checks to be sure you are not doing anything against "church" tenets or "policy", ), the constant classes and levels and the endless donations, donations, donations. These are all things touched upon in various other media which leads me to believe most of it is, indeed, true.

I recommend you read, (or listen) to the book, perhaps watch a documentary or two, and come to your own conclusion. If you want, look me up and I'll be happy to discuss it with you. Most especially the thing that irks me the most: Scientology's tax exempt status.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,775 reviews1,777 followers
January 30, 2016
"Belief and faith are great, but very few people have been led astray by thinking for themselves."

I finished this book at one AM on a work night, when I had to be up at 6 AM the next morning. I did this even though I knew I would feel like shit the next morning, because I just couldn't help myself. I was thinking, boy, I should go to bed! I'm going to regret this tomorrow (and probably the days after)! And then I just kept reading. That is the power of this book. In the morning, my eyes were so dry I thought they were going to go all sleep monster on me:

I actually went into this book expecting to have a good time reading it, but not expecting to be very impressed. I will admit I have a snobby bias against books that are ghostwritten, especially ones "written" by celebrities. I just assume they're all money grabs. But once I got into this book, it took hold of me. Leah Remini is a pistol. She's brash and loudmouthed and admits that many people find her incredibly annoying. Right on the very first page, she admits to having done some terrible things. She says her family and her husband have done terrible things. But then you realize why she's telling you all this, and it's because she knows the Church of Scientology would have used all that information against in an effort to discredit her once the book came out. So she did it for them. It's a powerful way to start out her story.

And her story ended up being fascinating. I know there are other published memoirs of people who grew up in the church, but I've never read one before. My knowledge has mostly come from books like Going Clear (and its subsequent HBO film), which focuses on the history of L. Ron Hubbard and his church, and the more organizational aspects of it. Reading it from the perspective of one of its parishioners (this is what Leah calls them, so I will too, even though I would prefer to call them cult members) was fascinating. She walks you through the whole thing, her way of thinking, how and why the religion meant so much to her, what her life was like because of it. And all the while you're horrified by what Scientology does to her and those around her, you also understand how she could remain so dedicated and loyal for so long. That's how cults work--they are designed to hook people and keep them.

Leah Remini's book is a fascinating artifact of a person who survived a cult. You can see the way her thinking is shaped by her experiences, and you can see how she resists. Her story is a good one for this type of book because she saw and experienced so many different aspects of the religion, as an early (and failed) member of the SeaOrg, as a standard parishioner, and after she'd worked her way up in Hollywood, as one of the church's celebrity VIPs, for a while in the inner circle with Tom Cruise. And you can see that it's only after she's completely out of the church that the full scope of what Scientology has done occurs to her. These were actually the most fascinating parts for me, when she talked about the work she's had to do, the therapy, to essentially deprogram her brain. I wish there had been more of it, but then, she's only been out for two years, and still has a long road ahead of her.

If you like Leah as an actress, and if you are interested in Scientology or cults, I would definitely recommend this. Her particular and very unique voice shines through, even though the book is ghostwritten by Rebecca Paley, who acquits herself very well in making her writing presence as invisible as possible.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,288 reviews80 followers
December 5, 2021
4.5 Stars for Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini read by the author.

I watched the Joe Rogan interview with Leah Remini some time ago. And I thought it was interesting. I was still curious and I wanted to hear more details so I decided to give her autobiography a try. I’m not a fan of hers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that she’s been in. I was just curious about Scientology and its connection with Hollywood.

To me, this book seems like an honest account of her life. This had to be hard to write but hopefully it was therapeutic too.
20 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2015
Scientology is going to be sooooo pissed! This book is good, dishy and fall down funny. Leah is loud, brash and very NY. LOVE IT!!

update: So I just finished this book. OMG it DOES NOT disappoint! It's deliciously dishy and totally in your face like Leah herself.

Boiled down it's the classic story of a person leaving an extremist religious group/cult. If you enjoyed Deborah Feldman's UnOrthadox, you'll love this book!
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,414 followers
June 20, 2021
As I mentioned when I started this book, I became a bit obsessed with scientology this spring. I'd already read Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion, after which I rewatched the documentary Going Clear. I then started watching Leah Remini's A&E documentary series Scientology and the Aftermath (available on Netflix and Hulu).

I've been aware of Leah Remini's career since she appeared on Who's the Boss, back when she and I (and Alyssa Milano, whose "best friend from the old neighborhood" she played) were teenagers, but I wasn't very familiar with her, and I was impressed by both the A&E series and Remini herself: she's very smart, compassionate, and (despite her years in scientology) savvy, and the show was very well done. Remini was in scientology from childhood until her mid-forties and even spent a bit of time in the Sea Org in Clearwater, Florida (scientology's headquarters), but her own story isn't covered in much detail on the show, and she is not mentioned at all in Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, which I also read around this time. Eventually I became so curious about her story that I ordered this book online, waited impatiently for it, began it the day it arrived, and read it in less than two days.

Troublemaker, like many (not all) celebrity memoirs, is obviously ghostwritten, but Remini's voice comes through, and everything about her life is interesting: Her experience in the Sea Org as a child is fascinating to read about, as are her later scientology experiences and her eventual defection from the church. The book does a good job of explaining what scientology is like for both an ordinary member and a famous member, and her process of deciding to leave the church, and the church's reaction, makes for compelling reading.

I'm my mother's daughter in the sense that I love some good gossip, and this book also really delivered in that area. In particular, there's more in here about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's relationship than I've seen anywhere else, and I ate that up. Tom Cruise comes across as such a bizarre, narcissistic, and genuinely insane person that I'm surprised he didn't try to sue Remini for this portrayal. Maybe he doesn't want to call attention to it? Remini seems so honest that I believe her account, and she's also quite funny, which of course made this book even more entertaining.

Troublemaker is obviously not some kind of groundbreaking masterpiece, but it delivers all it promises in a fully enjoyable and informative read. For that, it deserves 4 stars.
Profile Image for Brianna (The Book Vixen).
667 reviews9 followers
July 14, 2021
I've loved Leah Remini since watching her on The King of Queens. She's funny and raw. When I heard about her autobiography, I knew I had to read it. But when I found out there was an audiobook version and Leah Remini herself narrated it, I had to listen to it.

“How the fuck did you get into some crazy shit like this?”

Who better to narrate Leah's story than Leah herself?

Just as the title suggests, this memoir is mainly about Hollywood and Scientology. Having watched Going Clear, the documentary on Scientology, I was familiar with craziness surrounding this “religion”, but Leah sheds a bright light on the wackiness that is Tom Cruise and the missing wife of David Miscavige (lead of the Church of Scientology).

I learned more about the actress, like how she and Angelo meet and how their relationship started out. There's also a little tiny bit about her daughter Sofia.

I don't read too many biographies/memoirs but this was a good one. If you are a fan of Leah Remini, you should read this book. Better yet, listen to the audiobook version to get a first hand experience.

20/20 Interview with Leah Remini on Scientology
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,849 followers
January 25, 2016
I have read several "tell-all" books from those who've left Scientology so a lot of what I saw here isn't really new. That said Ms. Remini does by relating her life endorse what's been said by others who have written about their lives and experiences within Scientology.

Some of it is really (I'm sure) unbelievable to anyone who hasn't been in or at least known some one who has been in or involved with a cult.

There is however a look at Scientology that we haven't gotten (or if we have I'm not aware of it) from the "celebrity" point of view. Much has been made of the Hollywood connections. I suppose many of you are aware that Tom Cruise's reaction to this book has been mentioned in the news.

So, there is some interesting discussion of the "church" of Scientology. In this case it's done very much in an "earthy" way from our writer who tells things in her own way.

Also while I was less interested in this part of the book you get an account of her career and the bumps and bruises that came with trying to "make it in show-business".

So not a bad book, in fact pretty interesting.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,245 followers
April 1, 2016
When I realized that I had to read a biography for my reading challenge with the Machalo chicks this year, I was like, "No, please God, No!! I hate biographies! Just strike me down instead! Take my first born child!"

Okay, maybe that was a little crazy. But, you know what's crazier? Scientology!

And, the weird thing is that she doesn't even talk about the alien part of the religion. Yet, it still comes off as bat-shit crazy - along with being an extremely dangerous cult.

This book will make you so angry that you will want to kill Tom Cruise with a roll of cookie dough. (It makes sense if you read the book... not that you need to make sense. This shit is bat-shit crazy.... plus, remember the jumping on the couch thing? Yeah, cookie-dough related murder is less crazy than Tom Cruise.)

The abusiveness of this "church" is scary. They are seriously dangerous to anyone who comes in contact with them and I hope that more and more ex-members get up the nerve to speak out against them. It seems like they are often afraid to do so, and even Leah was pretty soft in her language. I'm just really glad that she was able to get out of it and is helping others who are going through the same thing.

On the other hand, there is a lot of money to be made in starting a "religion" like this. Your average Scientologist is in for a half a million dollars by the time they make it to the top of bullshit mountain. Cha-ching!

Profile Image for Deanna .
691 reviews12.5k followers
April 8, 2016
I was so excited when I heard that this book was coming out.

I LOVE Leah Remini, and after she left Scientology in 2013 my curiosity about both her and Scientology increased.

This was also only my second audio-book ever! I have nothing against audio books I just hadn't had the opportunity to listen to one until recently.

Considering I really like Leah and that I'd been wanting to learn more about Scientology for awhile, I figured this would be a good one. And it really was. I enjoyed listening to her.

She wrote the book from her heart. Using her personal knowledge to portray her experiences with Scientology and the repercussions she endured as a result of living it and eventually leaving it.

I love the fact that right at the beginning of the book she mentions all of the things that she and her family have done. For example the fact that she fell in love with a married man, lied, cheated, physically threatened people (parking meter maids and people who hit their kids in public). Apparently her husband sold drugs and cheated. She says her mom was promiscious in her younger days, dad sold cocaine and was set to Rikers...

She reveals this and more because she said Scientology will pay a lot of money to dig up all of this to prove that their religious beliefs are being attacked...so they will definitely try to disparage her reputation.

I did find it harder writing my review after listening to the audio. I normally highlight a lot in my Kindle and write notes as I go. So not being able to do that has definitely made this review shorter (which isn't a bad things as my other ones are often way too long).

Also I had my review finished and saved on a USB stick. A couple of months ago I lost a bunch of reviews so since then I save it to a USB, works great. Except I can't find the USB now...

But anyways, I really enjoyed listening to Leah. I learned a lot more about Scientology. I seriously cannot believe how much MONEY and TIME you have to put in to be involved in Scientology. The fact that they will even help you get a loan to pay your "Donation"?

Plus learning about the rest of Leah's life and the people in it was really interesting.

I still love her ...probably even more now!

Honest, real, educational and highly entertaining it was a great listen :)

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