Review by Rob Williamson
The main difference between this book and a recent slew of Scientology tell-all books written by Scientology Ex Sea Org members, is, there’s no make-wrong, bad-mouth or criticalness, any effort to get something off her chest or change your mind. It’s about Janis’s life. It’s an uncommon adventure. And quite a remarkable individual.
It’s a true story about a little girl, 11 years old, when she was ostracized from her parents and arrived on “The Royal Scotman/Apollo”; a 350 ft Twin Screw Motor Yacht, and sailed around the Mediterranean, Portugal, North Africa and various islands in the Atlantic.
Adventure? Nothing less. Uncommon? Unlike most of you reading this, she didn’t have a home and a bedroom, nor routines like waiting for a school bus. Her own living space was a bunk bed, with a rack and a duffel to keep what belongings she could, and maybe being lulled to sleep by the sound of big diesel engines or a fog horn while at anchor.
There were hundreds of staff, crew, students and clients on the ship and that number changed as land lubbers came and went. Ron; The Commodore, and his staff occupied A-Deck, above B Deck Forward. Public and crew were busy on C-Deck and below where there were course rooms and Mission Operations in the holds. The Messengers, like The Commodore in Spirit, were everywhere.
The Commodore had a hand in everything, hardly ever leaving A-Deck. That’s what the Messengers were for. The Commodore would have the Messenger on duty find out about this or that, validate someone and chew another out, and yes, even stir the crews soup. For all intensive purposes, the Messengers WERE the Commodore and carried just as much authority in the eyes of all aboard. You can imagine a Messenger running down stairs and ladders from A-Deck to C-Deck, or maybe all the way down to the keel and engine room and back up, back and forth they went, all the time, except when Ron slept.
That’s where the Name and authority came from; The Commodore’s Messenger.
Uncommon and Adventurous? Every week sailing into a new port, for years. Taking “Libs” (Liberty, usually 24 hours off) losing one’s self in a kasbah (Ghetto) of Morocco that intoxicated one with the smells of smoke and leather or real stinky French cigarettes. Walking down winding streets made of cobblestones or getting a Ginger Beer in a bar in Lisbon. Sailing through hurricanes in the lee of an Azore island. Getting expelled from countries and going on the run.
This is not a story about Scientology. It’s a story about Janis. If you’ve never met her and read this book, you’ll never forget her. If you have met her, this book will remind you of who she is.