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  • Published: 19 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9781640091931
  • Imprint: Catapult
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416

Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology

A Memoir




"With its keen attention to the language and tactics of the church, Hall’s memoir is unique among the assortment of Scientology reports and exposés, offering insight into the certainties that its subjects gain." —The Nation

In the secluded canyons of 1980s Hollywood, Sands Hall, a young woman from a literary family, strives to forge her own way as an artist. But instead, Hall finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer. Her time in the Church includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. In this compelling memoir, Hall reveals what drew her into the religion—with its intrigues and unique contemporary vision—and how she came to confront its darker sides and finally escape.

"Some of the most penetrating, illuminating prose about how an educated and skeptical person could get so deeply into, and then struggle to escape, what everyone around her warned was a dangerous cult . . . brilliant." —The Underground Bunker

"If it is Scientology's offer of a life with meaning that hauls her in . . . it is its approach to meaning that keeps her . . . Hall's fascination with this is palpable." —Camille Ralphs, The Times Literary Supplement

  • Published: 19 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9781640091931
  • Imprint: Catapult
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416

Praise for Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology

Praise for Sands Hall's Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology (formerly issued under the title Flunk. Start Named a Best Book in Religion and Spirituality by Publishers Weekly Longlisted for NCIBA’s Golden Poppy Award in Nonfiction A Finalist for the 2019 Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction “Hall’s powerful evocation of this complex mix of pride and insecurity, combined with an inborn yearning for transcendence, makes the recent paperback reissue of her 2018 memoir most welcome . . . Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology is written in such a sharply intelligent yet non–aggrieved voice that, even as a person who practices elements of Christianity and Buddhism (and as a reader with no prior interest in Scientology), I found its meticulous depiction of the indoctrination process fascinating . . . Hall’s deep–seated insecurities may lead her into the Church, but it’s her innate compassion that begins to lead her out.” —Rachel Howard, Los Angeles Review of Books“Hall is a true wordsmith, a verbal lapidarist for whom language is a laboratory, a factory, and an ‘audit’ process in its own right. The result is a piercing emotional honesty and adamant clarity, giving readers more than simply a memoir or a look into a corner of American culture that’s usually concealed from the uninitiated. This book, generous and penetrating, is a rather profound act of psychological inquiry.” —Northern California Book Awards “With its keen attention to the language and tactics of the church, Hall’s memoir is unique among the assortment of Scientology reports and exposés, offering insight into the certainties that its subjects gain . . . Hall’s focus on this 'cobweb' of intimate entanglement is what makes [this book] compelling—and different from other, more extraordinary accounts of abuse in Scientology’s upper echelons . . . most revealing in its depiction of Scientology as just one of many expressions that the American search for selfhood can manifest.” —Michael Friedrich, The Nation “It is no surprise when, after a few encounters with Scientology . . . Hall begins to feel its pull. And if it is Scientology's offer of a life with meaning that hauls her in, alongside pressure from her new Scientologist husband, it is its approach to meaning that keeps her . . . Those sections of the memoir with 'Study Tech' as their focus are some of the most interesting: a misunderstood word can be 'cleared' using a dictionary, often with focus on etymology, and Hall's fascination with this is palpable . . . Etymology lights a path deep into history, into the twists and turns of language, for both Sands Hall and the reader.” —Camille Ralphs, The Times Literary Supplement “An intriguing, beautifully written memoir . . . She toggles between her family and the church, digging deeply into the dynamics of power and control, love and compassion, before coming to a surprising resolution.” —Jane Ciabattari, Literary Hub “[Hall] uses her impressive writing skills to convey her experiences during what she had once shamefully viewed as a squandered decade in her life . . . What makes her memoir most enjoyable and understandable is her decision to be honest about all the personal doubts she had during this time.” —Andrea Geary, Winnipeg Free Press “As a memoir and a thoughtful exploration of faith and belief, I heartily recommend it.” —Kevin Coupe, MorningNewsBeat “Sands Hall is an experienced literary talent and writing teacher whose seven years in Scientology . . . provide some of the most penetrating, illuminating prose about how an educated and skeptical person could get so deeply into, and then struggle t

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