Rating: 3 Stars
Okay, honesty time: I am completely fascinated by Scientology. Not in a Tom-Cruise-Jump-On-All-The-Couches-Kind-Of-Way, but in an "OMG WTF?!" kind of way. This is complete insanity to me. But then I remember I live in a country that recently elected an orangutan/Cheetoh for president, so nothing should REALLY surprise me in the level of gullibility or stupidity that exists. And yet, here we are.
There is a review in particular on Goodreads I would like to point you to if you have not seen it, which really sums up the book nicely. The user's name is Meg and her review is as follow: "No matter how bad things get, just remember: at least your dad never wrote a book about how you're a sociopath." And yes! This is such a true statement, on all levels. Firstly, because that is exactly what Ron Miscavige did and secondly, because his psycho son David really is a sociopath. And I came to the conclusion about the sociopathiness of Miscavige when reading his niece's book a few months ago. This one confirmed it even more.
This is a quick read and is by no means groundbreaking. There is very little information about the elder Miscavige and his son, because there seemed to not really be any relationship to speak of. This could be due to the honesty of the author in depicting how difficult life was for his children growing up because of how much he and their mother fought. I don't blame the younger Miscavige for wanting to get away from home ASAP.
As opposed to Ron's granddaughter's book that I mentioned previously (Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige-Hill), the thing I found most useful in this one is that the author delved a little deeper in actual Scientology practices and core beliefs. However, I still don't understand what Scientology actually does. I mean, I get the auditing and the e-meters and all that shit, but when they talk about going on "missions", what are they doing? Just constantly asking for money and building huge worship centers? Except worship is not even the right word, because what do they worship, besides David Miscavige and $$$? They don't believe in God, yet celebrate Christmas. I just don't get it. And maybe that is okay, because it is all just nuts.
I can't help but feel sorry for the author in a few ways, however. As a parent, it would be very difficult to hear that your son had not only instructed private investigators to continue following you long after you left Scientology, but that in a moment where they thought you might be having a heart attack as you reached in your pocket for your phone, your son's words were, "If he dies, he dies. Don't intervene." That has to be hard for a parent to hear.
Ultimately though, there is nothing really new here that you could not have found elsewhere, such as in Jenna's book, or seeing what all the hullabaloo was when Leah Remini's book first came out. The thing is, so much of the author's information was second-hand also, as he was kind of on the outside for a long time before he and his second (I think. Maybe third?) wife finally left the group for good.
In the end, this is one you can take or leave. But, if you are having a bad day, it might make you feel better about your own life!