I missed last week because I was well, reading! So, in the last two weeks I finished 2 books…yay, on target for my one book a week.
The first one I finished was Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill. Ms. Hill is the niece of current leader of the Church of Scientology, David Mascavige. I am just going to say I have always found this “religion” to a little wonky, kind of out there, sort of hard to believe that people honestly believe some of what is supposed to be their core beliefs. But hey, to each their own. After reading this book I am even more sure that Mr Hubbard and those that have developed this “religion” from his science fiction/fantasy writing must have really enjoyed the 60′s. Most of the beliefs of this so-called religion seemed to come from drug induced hallucinations. Now, I am not saying that there isn’t some good…a strong sense of community is fine. Splitting up families, having children raise children, and basically saying you are either with us or against us…those are very troubling aspects of a faith. But what is more troubling, if even half of what Ms Hill writes is true and not the memories of a child filtered through feelings of loss and abandonment, then I can not see how anyone would want to be so devoted to this “church”. The whole set up from where you live, to the jobs you do, to education about your so-called faith seems all about power, control and beating everyone down into submission to do exactly as they are told to benefit those in power. I know, not too unlike most religions, but this one is super scary. From their “auditing” to their “security checks” to the fact that you can’t learn certain aspects of your religions origins until you have reached a certain level on the “bridge” has got to make most sane people wonder what in the heck they are hiding.
I am sure that the celebrities and those they refer to as “public Scientologists” see a very side of the “church”. They are likely not as aware of all the inner workings, of all the restrictions on those members who live and breathe and bleed for this so-called “church”.
Ordinarily I take a “hey, what ever works for you/fills your spiritual need” approach when it comes to religion. But Scientology seems less like a religion and more like a cult. It was a good read. Scary, terrifying actually that people believe all this, but still a very interesting look inside this “religion”. I don’t normally read memoirs, mostly because I often find them rambling and uneven. This one did at times seem to ramble on and then abruptly change topics or direction. At times it was difficult to follow the flow of time, though in part that could be because time seems to move a different pace when you so immersed in the “church”. Then you finally get to the end when Ms Hill and her husband are leaving the “church” and it all sorts of zooms along, ending so nice and tidy like, which I doubt it really is in real life. Guess it makes for a better book…
The other book I read this week was The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. A nice, easy, engaging story. It captivated my attention, drew me into the characters, and I wanted to find out how it all connected. It is, quite simply, the story of three woman living in a small community in Australia.
Cecilia, by all accounts, is the perfect “super mom”. She just always seems to have it all together…but as usual, there is more brewing under the surface and when Cecilia finds out the secret her husband has been carrying around for years, she begins to question her whole world, her whole sense of self, and the life she has so carefully built.
Tess thinks she has a great life with a husband she loves, a son she adores, a cousin who is her best friend, and a successful business that allows them all to be together. Then her husband makes a startling confession and she has to decide what to do now that her life has been turned upside/inside out. She takes her son home to her mother’s for the week of Easter to try to make sense of this new information.
Rachel has been living the past 30 years, wondering what actually happened to her daughter all those years ago. Who killed her and why…to the point that she has not really been living at all. The only bright spot in her life is that of her grandson Jacob. Rachel’s world is turned inside out when her son announces that they are moving to New York for two years, taking her beloved grandson away.
You know that the base of the book really is who killed Rachel’s daughter all those years ago and to be honest, the answer is not all that surprising based on how the book is laid out. And it is less about who killed her and more about these three women. Their lives, their loves, their choices. I had expected their stories to be more intertwined then they were, especially that of Tess. Her story really seemed more on the peripheral the other two, which is disappointing, as I found her to be the more interesting of the three women.
The story comes together all in a flurry as each reaches their final breaking point with the chaos of their lives. Each handles it differently and to be honest, none of them seem very excited about the final outcome. I think it speaks to life that it isn’t always about the dream, but about how you handle the reality. At the end of there is a little epilogue which tries to tie up all the stories and what ifs of the many different characters. This actually felt blah. I know the author was trying to demonstrate that life is all about choices and we can never know which ones are the important ones, which ones will change the course of our lives dramatically. But really it felt like a downer.
While the story engaged me as a reader, made me think a little, it was not what I would call deep. The characters were fairly cookie cutter, the interactions between them pretty standard. But it fits nicely into that “chick lit/beach read/something light and fun” category. So perfect when you want something light, and fun, and quick.
Now onto something totally different! I diving into the “Cousin’s War” series by Philippa Gregory, starting with The White Queen. I am about 100 pages into the book and so far really enjoying the characters. I don’t know a great deal about this time period (The War of the Roses) but the author does a good job of laying the ground work, but not getting bogged down in historical facts. I have read other books by this author and enjoyed them a great deal so I am excited to get lost in this new series.
What are you reading this weekend?