Friday, July 20, 2012
Some Girls - Jillian Lauren - Book Review
Title: Some Girls: My Life in a Harem
Author: Jillian Lauren
Review: I enjoy reading memoirs about aspects of life I have no knowledge, part of the great autodidactic journey we all should be on. For instance, I have never been to a strip club (and I never plan to), but if I did I know via Diablo Cody you should always get a lap dance because that really is the only way the girls are making money (legitimately). I first heard of Jillian Lauren through Marc Maron’s excellent WTF podcast wherein he interviews mainly comedians, but it turns out Lauren is a neighbor and friend.
Lauren progresses from adopted daughter to a college student, from dancer to a B-movie actress, and eventually an escort. She comes across as very honest stating she was mainly in it for the money. Ultimately as a young, beautiful, unrepressed girl she caught the attention of a “talent” scout for the Sultan of Brunei’s brother. Now if you are like me you have probably heard about the harem’s these extremely wealthy men maintain but know nothing about them. Lauren opens this world for you.
While she did have sex with the Prince, this book is not about sex. It is about the relationships between the major players, the Prince and the women, and the pecking order of the women themselves. She details the life from the lavish spending and shopping sprees to the petty political jealousies among the girls.
It focuses on the inertia it takes to move beyond your comfort zones. Lauren was young and wanted for nothing temporal. The inner strength required to move on in life when things are generally okay is tremendous. How many of us are stuck in a life we are not truly satisfied with only because it is easier just to continue on rather than put forth the effort (and risk) to strive for something more.
Most of the criticisms of this book miss the point. Typically they name call Lauren as a common prostitute and proceed to dismiss all that she has to offer. We all have pasts, we all have secrets, and we all want to grow from our experiences (and remember John 8:7 you self-righteous types). We can learn from Lauren’s life, just because she didn’t learn the lessons you may have wanted her to is not a reason to condemn her. Her journey is what it is, and at the end of the day she is an interesting person with a tale to tell.
Quick Review: 3.5 Stars out of 5.
Why I Read it: I heard her interview on the great Marc Maron WTF podcast and both her and the subject matter were interesting
Where I Obtained the Book: My local library
Synopsis: A jaw-dropping story of how a girl from the suburbs ends up in a prince's harem, and emerges from the secret Xanadu both richer and wiser
At eighteen, Jillian Lauren was an NYU theater school dropout with a tip about an upcoming audition. The "casting director" told her that a rich businessman in Singapore would pay pretty American girls $20,000 if they stayed for two weeks to spice up his parties. Soon, Jillian was on a plane to Borneo, where she would spend the next eighteen months in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, youngest brother of the Sultan of Brunei, leaving behind her gritty East Village apartment for a palace with rugs laced with gold and trading her band of artist friends for a coterie of backstabbing beauties.
More than just a sexy read set in an exotic land, Some Girls is also the story of how a rebellious teen found herself-and the courage to meet her birth mother and eventually adopt a baby boy.
Author Biography: Author and performer Jillian Lauren grew up in suburban New Jersey and fled across the water to New York City. She attended New York University for three minutes before dropping out to work in downtown theater, where she performed with Richard Foreman’s Ontological Hysteric Theater, among others.
Her New York Times bestselling memoir, SOME GIRLS: My Life in a Harem, was published by Plume in April 2010. It has since been translated into fourteen different languages.
Her novel, PRETTY, will be released on August 30, 2011.
Jillian has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Flaunt Magazine, Opium Magazine, Society, Pale House: A Collective and in the anthology My First Time: A Collection of First Punk Show Stories.
She has read at spoken word events across the country and has been interviewed on such television programs as The View, Good Morning America and Howard Stern. She was a featured dancer with the infamous Velvet Hammer Burlesque. As a performer, she has recently worked with directors as diverse as Steve Balderson, Lynne Breedlove, Austin Young, Michelle Carr and Margaret Cho.
Jillian regularly blogs at TODAY Moms, The Nest and Jillianlauren.com.
She is married to musician Scott Shriner. They live in Los Angeles with their son.
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