Flunk. Start. by Sands Hall
Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology

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Frank and edifying information on Scientology from a woman who experienced it firsthand. A good complement to Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear (2013).


"I could not put down this book―it is a triumph, a work of great honesty and insight. It is a necessary book for our time." ―Karen E. Bender, author of Refund

In Flunk. Start., Sands Hall chronicles her slow yet willing absorption into the Church of Scientology. Her time in the Church, the 1980s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion―what she found intriguing and useful―and how she came to confront its darker sides.

As a young woman from a literary family striving to forge her own way as an artist, Hall ricochets between the worlds of Shakespeare, avant-garde theater, and soap opera, until her brilliant elder brother, playwright Oakley Hall III, falls from a bridge and suffers permanent brain damage. In the secluded canyons of Hollywood, she finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer.

In this candid and nuanced memoir, Hall recounts her spiritual and artistic journey with a visceral affection for language, delighting in the way words can create a shared world. However, as Hall begins to grasp how purposefully Hubbard has created the unique language of Scientology―in the process isolating and indoctrinating its practitioners―she confronts how language can also be used as a tool of authoritarianism.

Hall is a captivating guide, and Flunk. Start. explores how she has found meaning and purpose within that decade that for so long she thought of as lost; how she has faced the “flunk” represented by those years, and has embraced a way to “start” anew.


About Sands Hall

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Sands Hall received her B.A. in drama from the University of California, Irvine, and attended the Advanced Training Program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop and a second MFA in theatre arts from the University of Iowa. She has worked extensively as an actor, including seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the Old Globe Theatre, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and the Foothill Theatre Company, where she also writes and directs. She teaches in the University of California at Davis Extension Programs, for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and for the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.
Published March 1, 2018 by Counterpoint. 416 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Above average
on Jan 08 2018

Frank and edifying information on Scientology from a woman who experienced it firsthand. A good complement to Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear (2013).

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