About My Book Reviews

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill

Title: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

Author: Jenna Miscavige Hill & Lisa Pulitzer

Published: 2013

Genre: Memoir

Grade Level: Adult

-Movie Rating: PG-13 for language



Narrated by: Sandy Rustin

Length: 11hrs 57min

Recommend: Yes


Blurb (from goodreads):

Jenna Miscavige was raised to obey. As niece of the Church of Scientology's leader David Miscavige, she grew up at the center of this controversial organization. At 21, she made a break, risking everything she'd ever known and loved to leave Scientology once and for all. Now she speaks out about her life, the Church, her escape, going deep inside a religion that, for decades, has been the subject of fierce debate and speculation worldwide.

Disclaimer: My review of this memoir is not in any way a reflection upon the author or their life. I am a book reviewer, I review books… not people.

My Scores:

Writing Style: Good

I can imagine that it must have been rather overwhelming to explain all the important facets of Scientology to those unfamiliar with it. After all, the concepts were bizarre, the lifestyle seemed unnatural, and the amount of manipulation was hard to wrap my head around. However, I think it should have been shorter and more focused on the interpersonal elements than on defining Scientology jargon.


Characters: Full Developed

(I known they're real people. I’m referring to them as character’s anyway.)

I enjoyed getting to know Jenna Miscavige Hill. She was feisty, strong-willed, and compassionate. I hate that she was deprived of developing strong family ties, maintaining friendships, and keeping personal secrets about her dating life (or anything) to herself. The way she was treated for the sake of Scientology hurts my heart.

I do wish other characters were more fleshed out because we really only get to know Mrs. Hill. I wish other people in her life had given their POV, especially her parents and her husband.


Plot: Slow Burn

The novel does drag a bit here and there when it gets bogged down in Scientology culture, but there was plenty of suspense. I found certain aspects fascinating, like how this cult brain-washes people, pulls out false confessions, and gets away with separating family members.

I was kind of let down by the “harrowing escape” I was promised from the tag line, but I did enjoy it nonetheless.


Overall: Enjoyable

Overall, I’m glad books like this exist. It really shows how important certain freedoms really are (i.e., freedom of the press). Learning about the inner workings of this cult is frustrating to say the least. I’m so glad that Jenna Hill made it out, but what about everyone else?


Messaging: Kindness defeats brainwashing, not facts.


Goodreads Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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