Lover of sci-fi and the occasional horror story. Philosophical inclinations. English is my second language.
This if not another book discussing Scientological teachings or the biography of Hubbard. Rather, Miscavige Hill tells her own subjective story about growing up inside the organization. It turns out to be a harrowing read of maltreatment, psychological terror and strategic use of social isolation. Perhaps it is only from the lived first-person perspective that the absurdities and destructiveness of the church doctrines become so starkly apparent. I had the sense sometimes of hearing of events paying out in a very different, illiberal and even alien culture, where people behave contrary to common expectations. Miscavige Hill's attempts to explain these events from the perspective of church members and her admissions about their absurdities, make her our everyday life cicerone through something approaching alien dystopia. Perhaps then it was my love of sci-fi that made this book one I would have gladly listen to in one sitting.
I found the performance was well done, and the story well written. Jenna's experience is very eye opening and scary. What adult in their right mind asks a 7-year-old to sign a billion year contract? I was aware of some of the practices of this organization, but her ordeal goes into great detail as to how the organization works, however, I did not find the detail to be presented in a tedious manner.
I am on my second listen.
This story blew my mind - I had to keep reminding myself that it was non-fiction and that someone went thought this. I found myself whole-heartedly rooting for the main character throughout the book. Absolutely could not put it down. A must "read"!!
Very good storyline and captivating tale. Definitely worth a listen. The narration is quite good as well.
I have read fascinating autobiographical stories of the hardship of growing up in poverty with wacked-out parents or in the heavily oppressive FLDS church; so I thought this book would be an equally guilty pleasure. But this story is simply a stale day-to-day listing of the BORING tasks Jenna had to complete as she went through cadette and Sea Org training. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen--as I FORCED myself to continue.
Also, I could not relate with or even despise any of the characters. That's one of the best parts about reding/listening to a book. One WANTS to root for a protagonist and hate an antagonist. But there is too little character development for this to happen.
In the other macabre autobiographies I have read, I could learn to understand how and why the authors' parents acted as they did, for example, the parent drank away the food money because he was so physically and mentally addicted to alcohol; or the FLDS mother stayed with her physically abusive, polygamous husband and made her twelve-year-old daughters marry 65 year old men because she herself had been brainwashed as a child by fear and she had no knowledge of any other way of life, but all I could think of when listening to this story, besides how boring her life was, was that Jenna's parents were complete idiots. It's one thing for a child to be brainwashed into following her parents' beliefs, but it's another thing for parents to abandon their children in order to be overworked for little pay and only the promise to help better the universe--at the price of personal and familial happiness. At least the Mormons believe they will be the god (or wife-goddess) of their own planet if they work hard in this life. What a goal for which to strive! But what does a Scientologist get? Just a new body after death with no promise of being elevated into a superior being, like the Hindus believe. What's the point?--especially for them as they do not believe in God, Heaven, or hell.
I'm stretching here, but essentially a sin for a Sea Org member-in-training is misunderstanding a word--and their restitution is to look up misunderstood words in the dictionary. And Jenna "spices" up her story with repeated accounts of putting off her chores to look up definitions. I mean come on! How much more boring can you get?
I tried skipping some chapters hoping to get to some juicy action--but just more boring tedium....
Action, suspense, colored accounts that make the reader feel her pain--SOMETHING, ANYTHING, besides accounts of white glove-cleaning and dictionary memorization.
Ms. Rustin did an amazing job TRYING to bring life to this BORING story.
I would have cut 2/3 of the book and asked Jenna to add some interest rising action and climaxes. I also would have advised her to learn the art of character development.
Save your credit.
I have been a member since around 1999 and took a break (don't ask me why because I haven't the faintest of clues why)...Audible is amazing.
that it was a real story about her life and not just her ranting about her escape.
Small children were forced to carry railroad ties...total abuse, that children don't stay with their parents, that they separate husband and wife (hello of course there will be affairs), that she learned about a higher level on south park
Escape from 1 cent a word religion...oh i suck at this.
Jenna, you are truly an amazing woman and so glad that you were able to get out without harming yourself.
Loved the audio version, easy listening and very informative. Gives a good insight to a Cult.
Really opened my eyes to the world of Scientology. NOT something I would EVER want to be a part of.
Not a Scientologist or know much about it. I think a lot of the true story was not told here, did lots of name dropping. Will not buy another book by her.
I am very glad I bought this, sure gives you an insight into Scientology which I think the general population has no idea of. It is very different for those that are "public" Scientologiests like the celebrities - although celebrities are treated VERY special, and then it is like a cult for those that live within in it.
12 step program please. I am addicted to Audible! I love trashy sexy books, award winning novels and everything between. Bring it!
I think this story is compelling either way but I did really appreciate Sandy Rustin's narration. She has a very young childlike voice and it was perfect for hearing Jenna's story.
This book was so captivating. Jenna takes you inside the cult that is Scientology and shares so much more than I knew about the church. I've always been curious and have read a few other books on the topic but have never heard it from a child's perspective. It was truly heart breaking. There are so many bizarro rules and downright unethical moments that she and others like her had (and have) to endure that I was left speechless. What Scientology puts children and families through is no less than traumatic and abusive. This is a must listen - it is really disturbing and absolutely engrossing.