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Some Girls: My Life in a Harem Paperback – April 27, 2010
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"Brave Enough" by Cheryl Strayed
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"Lauren... is a deft storyteller, imparting equal parts poignant reflection and wisdom into her enlightening book. A gritty, melancholy memoir leavened by the author's amiable, engrossing narrative tenor."
"Some Girls would have been riveting even if Jillian Lauren had merely illuminated the murky world of high-class prostitution for the general reader. The fact that she does so with humor, candor, and a reporter's gimlet eye is an added delight. But Some Girls also undertakes the deepest challenge: it reveals how and why a middle-class kid like Lauren found herself in such a line of work--and how she got out."
-Jennifer Egan, author of The Keep
"Wow, what a story! Jillian Lauren's Some Girls is the most exotic sex worker memoir I've ever read. Imagine being paid to play with the richest men in the world? Few women dare to speak of their youthful sexual adventures with such honesty and clarity. I can't wait for the movie."
-Annie Sprinkle, Ph.D
Catfights, mad cash, priceless jewels -- what's a young girl from Jersey to do? Welcome to the sultan's harem, a secret world filled with artful seduction and parties that never end. What starts out juicy quickly turns soulful in this elegantly crafted, multi-layered stunner of a memoir. Lauren strikes the perfect balance between light and shadow in her spellbinding tale of one woman's exotic search for identity and true love."
-Rachel Resnick, author of Love Junkie
"Lauren is a gifted and lyrical writer whose coming-of-age tale has the reader firmly under its spell by the end of the first paragraph. Her emotional insight is deeply penetrating, allowing us to feel kinship with her even as we marvel at her rarefied adventures. Lauren generously brings us along for an amazing ride as she seeks, and then finds, meaning and connection in her life. I couldn't put it down."
-Nina Hartley, author of Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex
"Jillian Lauren's Some Girls takes readers into a world so dramatic, it seems almost too far out to be true. But the bracing realism that infuses her storytelling lifts the veil of harem life and shows us the gritty truth of life in fantasy-land. Her transformation from dream girl-for-hire to rock-n-roll mama proves that resilience and reinvention, more than diamonds, are a girl's best friend.
-Lily Burana, author of Strip City
"Some Girls reads like a swiftly-paced novel, but gets under your skin in a way fiction can't. This is a striptease of a book, sexy and mesmerizing at first, but at the end a very real woman stands in front of you, exposed and vulnerable. I couldn't put it down, and when I was done, I couldn't stop thinking about it."
-Claire LaZebnik, author of Knitting Under the Influence
More About the Author
She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Magazine, Flaunt Magazine, The Rumpus, and Salon, among others. Her work has also been widely anthologized, including in The Moth Anthology and True Tales of Lust and Love.
Jillian is a regular storyteller with The Moth and has performed at numerous spoken word and storytelling events across the country. She has been interviewed on such television programs as The View, Good Morning America and Howard Stern.
She regularly blogs at MSNBC TODAY Moms, The Huffington Post and Jillianlauren.com, which was named a top 100 mom blog of 2012 by Babble Magazine.
Jillian is married to musician Scott Shriner. They live in Los Angeles with their son.
Top Customer Reviews
It is, tangentially, about that.
More than that it is a story about a troubled young woman, who was on drugs, who became a prostitute, who had a falling out with her parents and ran away to become an "actress". But she was a terrible actress so she stayed a prostitute.
The first quarter of the book is that story.
Suddenly, a mysterious person promises this girl a lot of money if she is willing to "work" abroad. She takes the job.
She ends up in the "harem" - if you want to call it that - with a number of other prostitutes.
The story discusses the politics of life in a harem, how other women are not your friend, how they stab you in the back when you're not looking, etc. etc. The story also discusses in detail how absolutely dull it is to live in a harem. The prince they are waiting on features very minimally in this story.
The end of the story is the young woman's redemption, how she sees that she has moved past the harem, and now has a family of her own and is happy and normal, etc. etc. If that seems abrupt, it is. The "normalization" of the drug addicted prostitute is not discussed - it is simply a "and five years later, she was sitting in her living room with her children and her husband, and she saw a news report about her prince, and she wondered..." Lame.
The story wasn't particularly well written, especially in the beginning, and that seemed to be on purpose - to highlight the transition from the stupid young prostitute to the smug world weary married woman. I don't feel that this technique was effective.Read more ›
In short order, Jillian finds herself installed in quarters in a fabulous palace in Brunei, lavished with clothing, jewelry and money, in sexual service to a prince. Along with Lord knows how many other young women, all of whom are competing ferociously for the attentions of this man in the hope that he will see something special in them and fall head over heels in love. It's like being trapped in a gilded cage with a bunch of cobras for company.
Like the singer of the 1970s hit, Jillian eventually realizes that life in Prince Robin's harem is empty and meaningless, so she packs up all her loot and returns home. Where she promptly runs through all her money, so she decides to go back to the well one more time. And resolves to be less starry-eyed and more business-like in her dealing with the Playboy Prince.
SOME GIRLS is competently written, but, ultimately, as empty and meaningless as the glamorous life led by the singer in the trite 70s song. I shudder to think how many young women might, inspired by the author's lucrative experience, try to hook up with prince who has a harem, only to find themselves in the hands of pimps and traffickers.
It turns out that it is a true (and believable I might add) story about a young aspiring actress who answered to a casting call that ended up being a 'casting call' for fresh new girls to join a harem belonging to a prince of Brunei. As dramatic as it sounds, I could see how easily an eager, young, naive girl who was struggling financially could lose her morals and judgement to keep her self safe could get involved in something like this. Think of all of the young girls flocking to Hollywood or attending some audition or photo shoot by some sleazy creep with alterior motives? Lucky for Jillian, she went willingly, wasn't abused and was allowed to leave (the harem) willingly - when her time was up that is. Regardless of being paid hoards of money and receiving expensive gifts of jewelry and designer clothing shopping sprees, she WAS expected to stay within the palace compound and at times, even in a particular room and expected to be available whenever the prince 'wanted' her OR when he wanted his brother, the Saultan to have her as a gift for an afternoon.
As interesting as the basis of her book, I felt her whole experience and sharing her story with us was wasted on mediocre writing talent...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book left a bad taste in my mouth. From what I had heard of this book I had believed the author was kidnapped and forced into sex slavery, when in reality, she goes away of... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Nicole
This is a terrific book, a fascinating look into a very different world few outsiders will ever see. The writing is vivid and engaging and the story is absolutely unique. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Ernest Greene
GREAT book!! Definitely a book I have all ready recommended to a handful of people. Can't wait to read some of her other things👍Published 20 days ago by Mayday2rsq
Just devoured 3 of Jillian Lauren's books on vacation. Started with this one and kept on trucking. Great author, fascinating story.Published 2 months ago by Danielle Gsoell
Just a fun, fascinating read. Not groundbreaking, but certainly not boring! Jillian's choices would not have been for everyone, but they absolutely resulted in a story worth... Read morePublished 3 months ago by butterfliegel