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Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir Paperback – Deckle Edge, May 5, 2015

4.8 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Everything You Ever Wanted:
Everything You Ever Wanted is wonderful...broad reaching and introspective"—New York Times

While she skewers the celebrity-driven and consumerist Southern California culture she indulges in, Lauren also writes darkly and beautifully...Lauren cracked me — cracked me up and cracked me open... Part of the many joys and sorrows of reading "Everything I Ever Wanted" is this generous and funny and intelligent writer knows that, despite the many hardships, it is in fact she who is the lucky one.
—LA Times

In her beautiful, heart-wrenching, brilliant, and profoundly human second memoir, we meet Lauren a decade later in a strikingly different milieu. She’s stepping over lines in stages again, but now moving toward things she’s always dreamed of: becoming a good wife, a good mother, a tattooed, pierced, upstanding member of the PTA.
—Boston Globe

If there is a message in this wry and honest parenting memoir, it’s to toss unrealistic hopes, to stop parenting with such intention, or, as Lauren puts it: “Sometimes, you have to be content.”
—Washington Post

“A transformative, unflinching account of the creation of an adoptive family. Jillian and Scott and their son Tariku show us, painful, frustrating and joyful step by step how to attach, heal, listen, trust and then let go. A testament to the fierce and fallible journey of any mother. Reads like a novel, moves you like any great story of survival would, tears of joy and triumph.”—Jamie Lee Curtis
 
“An irreverent, deeply honest love letter from a fascinating mother to an exceptional, inspiring child.   
—Ayelet Waldman, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Mother

As a foster child, I related so deeply to this story. Jillian Lauren is giving her son the greatest gift any child can have: to be wanted and loved unconditionally. This is a book about belonging. It's a book about parenting as a spiritual practice -- of learning how to love another human being right where they are, right where you are. A really beautiful story of family.
—Tracy McMillan, bestselling author of Why You're Not Married...Yet

“Ferociously brave, funny, and heartwarming. No other parenting book has ever made me feel so validated about the big, messy, beautiful picture of what it means to care for another human being."
—Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance
 
“[This] will take your breath away. Jillian Lauren deftly unfurls a story of becoming an adoptive mother and coming terms with her own childhood.” —Annabelle Gurwitch, author of I See You Made an Effort
 
“Lauren's writing is brave and honest, and she calls out hypocrisy wherever she sees it.”—Kirkus
 
“Jillian Lauren proves she is a master storyteller.”—Catherine Burns, Artistic Director, The Moth
 
“Candid, hilarious, searing, and poetic, Jillian Lauren is Everything You Ever Wanted in a memoirist.”
—Sandra Tsing Loh, author of The Madwoman in the Volvo
 
“[This is] a love story - between Jillian and her rock star husband and also between a couple and their new son. Like all great love stories, the beauty is in the struggle.”—Kristen Howerton, founder of Rage Against the Minivan

Praise for Some Girls:
"SOME GIRLS would have been riveting even if Lauren had merely illuminated the murky world of high-class prostitution.  The fact that she does so with humor, candor, and a reporter's gimlet eye is an added delight.  But Lauren also reveals how and why a middle-class kid found herself in such a line of work--and how she got out."—Jennifer Egan, author of Look at Me and The Keep
 
“A heart-stoppingly thrilling story told by a punk rock Scheherazade, Lauren writes with such lyrical ease - the book is almost musical, an enduring melody of what it is to be a woman."—Margaret Cho
 
“SOME GIRLS takes you into a world so dramatic, it seems almost too outrageous to be true. Lauren lifts the veil on harem life and shows us the gritty truth of life in fantasy-land.”—Lily Burana, author of Strip City
 
“Catfights, mad cash, priceless jewels -- welcome to the sultan’s harem. What starts out juicy quickly turns soulful in this elegantly crafted, multi-layered stunner of a memoir. A spell-binding tale of one woman’s exotic search for identity and true love.”-- Rachel Resnick, author of Love Junkie
 
“Lauren tells the story straight, without much moralizing, but the corruption of the aristocrats, the powerlessness of the women and the destitution of the life outside the harem speaks for itself.”—LA Times
 
“[Lauren] is a deft storyteller and not afraid to provide candid descriptions of her life. A tight, sleek narrative. What’s astounding is that Lauren writes without shame, confronting every hard truth. [Some Girls is] too good to read just once.”—Miami Herald

“Lauren’s story is not one of perpetual gullibility and woman done wrong incidents, but rather an entertaining…and hopeful tale about one young woman’s endless quest to find herself. A beautiful, sweeping epic.”—Bookslut
 
“Lauren is a gifted writer. Compelling.”—Library Journal

“Lauren is a natural storyteller. She has a gift for metaphor, an eye for the odd detail.”—LA Weekly
 
“Lauren lifts the veil off her secret harem life, sharing vivid and explosive details.”—The New York Post
 
 Praise for PRETTY:
"Jillian Lauren writes with stunning, furious authenticity about self-destruction and the bitter road toward redemption. "Pretty" will knock the breath right out of you."—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
 
“PRETTY is the real deal, a harrowing journey from darkness to light  to real life. Bebe’s unflinching, street-level search for salvation absolutely floored me, and Jillian Lauren’s writing shimmers throughout with wit and authenticity.”—Antoine Wilson, author of The Interloper
 
“Pretty is the not-so-pretty, utterly riveting, non-stop frantic and compulsively readable saga of Bebe Baker, a heroine who knows her way around a serious binge. Jillian Lauren renders the taste and feel of wretched excess - be it sex, drugs, food, or Los Angeles - with a savage veracity and style all her own.  The prose, at times, drives with such ferocious urgency that the words seem not so much written as willed  onto the page. Pretty stands out as a triumph of survival testimony. The author, plainly, is lucky to have survived - but the reader is luckier.  Jillian Lauren is the real deal.”—Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight
 
“BeBe Baker knows the ugliness of the world, yet finds plain truths in the multicultural pageantry of eastern Los Angeles. She is the kid you want to protect, the girl you’d definitely be friends with, the obliviously fetching female that all the boys love—an unlikely, unforgettable hero with a forever-searching soul. Pretty’s true beauty, however, is the author’s ability to lovingly capture life’s microscopic details—right down to the cuticles—and offer them back up to us as communion.”—Shawna Kenney, author of I Was a Teenage Dominatrix and Imposters

About the Author

Jillian Lauren lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Weezer bass player, Scott Shriner, and their son, Tariku.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (May 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142181633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142181638
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jillian is a writer with guts. This book is more than a memoir of adopting her son Tariku, it's about the human condition. Jillian dug deep for her third book and it shows. I can't recommend it highly enough.

If you read her first book about her experience in a harem, you know that her life experience is deep. This memoir strips the layers back even more.

I'm not a guy who runs out and searches for memoirs on adoption....yet this book is a punch in the gut and a warm embrace all at once.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Such a fantastic book. I knew Jillian Lauren could write beautifully from reading Some Girls, Pretty and her great blog, but in this new memoir she really knocked it out of the ballpark. Such gutsy honesty and deadpan humor rolled into one moving story of adoption, accepting yourself, healing, living with determination, plus I loved the Maori healers hanging out in LA.

There isn't one word out of place. Not one sentence that doesn't ferret out the truth of what it is to be alive, a mother, a wife and a writer.

I got this as an e-book but now I'm going to have to buy the paperback to be part of my Xmas book tree....!
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Format: Paperback
I had never heard of Jillian Lauren before reading Everything You Ever Wanted, even though she is a new York Times bestselling author of two other books. So, I was not sure what the book would be about or her for that fact.

Everything You Ever Wanted is her journey of infertility and adoption. She is brutally honest about her life, her struggles and the journey she and her husband Scott, a member of the band Weezer, went through to adopt their son from Ethiopia. What I love about her writing is that she is not afraid to put it all out there for everyone to know and learn from. So many of us are so concerned about what others will think of us that we miss the opportunity to really be ourselves, connect with others and be an inspiration by sharing it all, the good and the bad. She has done an amazing job of that in this book and even if you have not had to walk your own journey of infertility or adoption it is a book that pulls you in and you become invested in her life and walk.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Memoirs are not generally the type of book I'm drawn to. I have a, perhaps unfounded, perception that most are dry and, well, boring.

Picking up this book was happenstance. I've been a couple-decade-long fan of Weezer and in browsing through social media updates saw they'd posted about this book being released. Curious, but doubtful, I clicked over to amazon. Intrigued, I ended up buying it, deciding to give it a shot.

I laughed. I cried. I felt my chest constrict. I cheered. I sympathized. I emphasized. And I was was awed by someone willing to just lay it all out there; this is what is in my past, this is what happened, this is who I am, judge me, I don't care. That takes courage I don't have and my own experiences are pretty damn tame and un-noteworthy. She shared her heartbreak, struggles, mistakes and a whole hell of a lot of love, persistence and perseverance. Most parents would agree, it's the job, but not all of us have had circumstances such as theirs. Would I have done all the same things in her situation to try to conceive? No. Do I have the same parenting style, thoughts or opinions? No. But that does not matter. This book is a great testament of a parent's love and how it truly doesn't matter if the child is biologically yours or not, you'd do anything for them no matter your approach, trials and tribulations. You keep trying. You keep going. You keep loving. No matter what. That is what matters and what the book outlines.

I found the book though my being a fan of the band Weezer but by the end of the book I found I had become a fan of Jillian's(and Scott's) as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Excellent, honest book. Tariku is a challenging child. They did not give up. Instead they sought assistance of professionals and their internal wisdom. Throughout his early years, this couple stayed on course and supported each other. Helpful for all parents. I honor and support the preserverence and internal maternal instinct of the author. Love permeates the pages. The author's background has given her the strength to look beyond ... and see the treasures we all are.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I received an early copy of this book through the Penguin First to Read program.

This story of a family adopting an Ethiopian child starts off slow, but builds to a wonderful ending, not quite "happily ever after", but more "merrily we go along" that brought me great joy.

Jillian and Scott tried to have children on their own, but decided to go the adoption route and had to travel half way across the world to pick their child up in Africa. Neither of them are the "ideal couple" for adoption, she was once in a harem and had a drug problem and he is a bass guitar player for Weezer. They are both determined to be the best parents they can be. Isn't that what is really necessary?

Tariku is not an easy child to raise, but they never give up on him and I was really pulling for them to make it past all their hurdles. I have six natural children of my own and could identify with all the individual problems you can have with a child. Tariku likes to bite and hit and they have a difficult time finding a school that will work with them to get him better adjusted.

Finally things do come together and it seems that the hazardous journey will come to an end with a big Tariku sandwich hug.

"He puts his arms around my waist and stands there beside me. He holds my hand and kisses it. He whispers in my ear, “I love you to the moon and back two thousand hundred times.”

This is a remarkably truthful story of a family coming together and growing stronger every day. I highly recommend it.
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