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Some Girls: My Life in a Harem Paperback – April 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452296315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452296312
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

At the age of 19, Lauren was trying to get a fledgling acting career off the ground while working as a stripper and call girl. When the opportunity arises for several girls to travel to the island of Borneo to be a part of the harem of the Sultan of Brunei’s youngest brother, Prince Jefri, for a few weeks, Lauren jumps at the opportunity. Telling her family she’s headed overseas for an acting job, she travels to Brunei for what she thinks will be a diverting and exciting two weeks. Once she arrives at the expansive estate, Lauren finds her only duty is to attend lavish parties each night and hope that she will be the one chosen to steal away from the party with the prince. Two weeks turns into a year, and Lauren finds herself increasingly involved in the vicious competition for the prince’s attention. While the surprising and exotic subject matter is sure to pique interest, Lauren’s graceful, introspective prose lifts her unusual memoir far above the level of mere titillation. --Kristine Huntley

Review

"Some Girls is 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

"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."
-Kirkus Reviews

"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

Jillian Lauren is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem and the novel, Pretty, both published by Plume/Penguin. Some Girls has been translated into seventeen different languages.

Jillian 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 and Salon.com among others and has been anthologized widely, including in The Moth Anthology, True Tales of Lust and Love and Best of Babble Blogs.

She has performed at spoken word and storytelling events across the country, including being a regular on The Moth mainstage, and has been interviewed on such television programs as The View, Good Morning America and Howard Stern.

She is a popular and sometimes controversial blogger at MSNBC, The Huffington Post and Jillianlauren.com, which was named a Top 100 Mom Blog of 2012 by Babble Magazine.

Jillian is married to Weezer bass player Scott Shriner. They live in Los Angeles with their son.


Customer Reviews

I highly recommend the book as an easy summer read.
Journalist reads
While the author shared a lot if personal details (albeit more so about other people than herself), the writing itself seemed really detached in an uneven way.
M. Garrison
I would have liked to have learned how much money these girls actually got.
belqis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

278 of 322 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on April 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This story bills itself as about one girl's life in a modern day harem.

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.
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47 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Gratitude on May 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I saw this book, SOME GIRLS: MY LIFE IN A HAREM by Jillian Lauren, I have to admit that it intrigued me..at a glance, one can't help but wonder if she was 'given' to a king or prince to join his harem? Was she abducted and forced to stay? Did she go willingly? Why and how did she end up there and how is it that she left that she came to write a book about it? Did she escape? Is this REALLY a true story?

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...
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Bucky VINE VOICE on April 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Reading SOME GIRLS, I felt like I was trapped in the cheesy 1970s song referenced in my title above. Jillian Lauren, like too many young women, went astray in her youth, and became a sex worker while still in her teens. Her good looks bring her to the attention of a procurer for the younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei and she is offered a position (no pun intended) as a "party girl" in his household. The remarkable thing is not that she accepts the offer, but that she doesn't end up dead. International trafficking in women is epidemic throughout the world, and countless other women have accepted far more innocuous offers of employment only to wind up as sex slaves in foreign countries far from home.

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.
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