Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren. Published in 2010.
Synopsis: Jillian Lauren was barely eighteen and an NYU dropout with a not-as-glamorous-as-planned semi-career blooming as an actress/stripper/call girl. At a ‘casting call’ she is offered the opportunity to go to Brunei for two weeks to serve as wallpaper/entertainment at nightly parties for the Sultan’s younger brother. Not only is this book a memoir of Lauren’s time as the prince’s concubine, but it is also a revealing story of the path that led her there and the journey that led her to discover her true self.
About the Author: Jillian Lauren grew up in Newark, New Jersey, later moving to New York to pursue an acting career. After her stint as high-class prostitute, she was a performance artist/actress, later moving to San Francisco and now Los Angeles. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. Some Girls, her first book, is a New York Times best-seller, and her first novel will be released in Spring 2011.
My Initial Reactions to the Book
Ok, so the Around the World Virtual Book Club memoirs on life-in-the-sex-work-industy continue. However, I felt that Some Girls was far better written than November’s Candy Girl book club read. I also was amazed by the tell-all nature of Lauren’s memoir. Not only was it a personal account of her life in a harem, but she also delved into her life as a call girl, high-class prostitute, theatre junkie, adoptee in search of her past and young woman trying to find herself.
More than anything, I found the first part of this book exciting for the mere fact that Lauren portrays herself as that wandering, soul-searching girl to whom I can identify. However, I don’t think I would ever find myself as concubine to some selfish, filthy-rich prince. I’ve never been one to wait for a prince charming to save me, but rather I have tried to save myself. I’d rather think of myself as the character of Delia, who only got her moment with the prince once, but rather decided to make the most of her stay in Brunei, to have fun and to turn the opportunity into the greatest success possible.
What is with the realm of girls who are seeking to become the geriatric Hugh Hefner’s Girl-Next-Door, or as in the case of several Some Girls concubines, estranged girlfried of Vince Neil? (On a semi-related side note, last night I was reading online about how Vince Neil was almost voted off Skating with the Stars. This prompted a Wikipedia search of Vince Neil, and after viewing his recent picture and reading about his sexual history, led me to declare to my husband, “I wouldn’t do him for $10 million, even though he basically lives down the street from us in Vegas.” I’m still trying to figure out the 80s/early 90s mystique behind that one.)
Since I’ve begun working with Girls on the Run, I’ve found msyelf ever-more aware of the ‘Girl Box.’ On page 138 of Some Girls, Lauren describes herself as:
Not cute enough, not smart enough, not popular enough, not talented enough, not special enough. I was just an average hustler who could sometimes talk my way into getting what I wanted. New eyershadow or not, I loathed myself in the mirror exactly as much as before.
Why is it that we girls also do that to ourselves? Is it because of the promise of fancy jewerly and tens of thousands of dollars – items monetarily worth more than our masters degrees in the social sciences could ever provide?
I found it interesting that previous reader reviews were mixed – from those who loved the book to those who hated it. So what did you think of the book? Did you love it or hate it? Were you just expecting a glimpse into the Brunei palace to find yourself disappointed or did you enjoy reading more about Lauren’s background as well? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Next up for Discussion: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Discussion begins December 16th.