LITERATURE

Flunk. Start. Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology

Counterpoint. Mar. 2018. 400p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781619021785. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781619021808. MEMOIR
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OrangeReviewStarNovelist Hall (Catching Heaven) has written a beautiful memoir about spending seven years as a Scientologist. What sets this account apart from so many recent "leaving Scientology" narratives is that the author has no ax to grind. Though Hall never felt comfortable as a member of the religion, she fell in love with the study of words and their meaning, which she says is an integral part of Scientology coursework. Hall still uses these methods as a teacher of creative writing. Although her experience in the religion was mild compared to others', she was frequently pressured to "disconnect" from her parents, as they disapproved of her involvement in the faith and were thus considered "suppressive persons." Hall leaves readers to decide, but few will close this memoir wishing to become Scientologists, hearing the author ultimately sound a clear warning to stay away.
VERDICT An early candidate for memoir of the year, this is a thrilling story of one woman's search for truth and her place in the world. (Memoir, 1/12/18)

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