Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

( 159 )

Overview

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 ...

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Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

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Overview

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.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Some Girls is a heart-stoppingly thrilling story told by a punk rock Scheherazade.... The book is almost musical, an enduring melody of what it is to be a woman." —-Margaret Cho
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452296312
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 448,211
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Author and performer Jillian Lauren grew up in suburban New Jersey and fled across the water to New York City. Her memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, was published by Plume on April 27 2010.

Her novel, Pretty, will be published by Plume in May 2011.

Jillian has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, Flaunt Magazine, Pindeldyboz Magazine and Opium Magazine, among others.

She has read at spoken word events across the country and has recently worked with directors as diverse as Steve Balderson, Lynne Breedlove and Margaret Cho.

She is married to musician Scott Shriner. They live in Los Angeles with their son.

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Read an Excerpt

The Shah’s wife was unfaithful to him, so he cut off her head and summarily declared all women to be evil and thereby deserving of punishment. Every night the Shah’s grand vizier brought him a new virgin to marry and every morning the Shah had the woman executed. After too many of these bloody sunrises, the vizier’s eldest and favorite daughter asked to be brought to the Shah as that night’s offering. The grand vizier protested, but his daughter insisted, and this daughter was known throughout the kingdom for her powers of persuasion. At the end of the day, the Shah married the vizier’s daughter while the vizier wept in his chambers, unable to watch.

At first, the daughter’s wedding night was indistinguishable from the wedding nights of the other ill-fated virgins who had married the Shah before her, but as morning approached, the Shah’s newest wife began to tell him a story. The story had not yet reached its conclusion when the pink light of dawn crept around the edges of the curtains. The Shah agreed to let the woman live for just one more day, because he couldn’t bear to kill her before he learned the story’s end.

The next night the woman finished that story, but before the sun rose over the dome of the palace mosque, she began another, equally as compelling as the last. The following one thousand and one nights each concluded with an unfinished story. By the end of this time, the Shah had fallen in love with the woman, and he spared her life, his heart mended and his faith in women restored.

This is, of course, the story of Scheherazade. It’s the story of the storyteller. We lay our heads on the block and hope that you’ll spare us, that you’ll want another tale, that you’ll love us in the end. We’re looking for the story that will save our lives.

One thousand and one nights—nearly three years. That’s about the span of this story. Will you listen? It’s almost morning.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 159 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(39)

3 Star

(44)

2 Star

(29)

1 Star

(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 160 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 7, 2011

    It makes no sense

    Why is the nook version higher than the paperback version. This makes no sense at all! The cost of publishing ebooks is so much less than for publishing traditional hardback and paperback books. Ridiculous, Barnes and Noble, just ridiculous!

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    A Must Read-Great Themes, and Intriguing Story

    Some Girls-My Life in a Harem Some Girls-My Life in a Harem, written by Jillian Lauren is a provocative, thought-provoking story of how an average, adopted teenage girl from the suburbs of New Jersey ends up in the exotic country of Brunei, in the harem of the Sultan's manipulative brother. The story begins with Jillian recalling her memories of the day she left for Brunei, and her visit to her ill father in the hospital. Overridden with guilt for leaving her family, Jillian, an NYU theater dropout leaves for Brunei, on an "acting job," and becomes hopelessly intertwined in Prince Jefri's harem. Quickly, Jillian finds herself becoming one of the prince's favorite girlfriends, and begins to spiral into a deep obsession with her own perfection, and the disgusting amount of riches she was gaining in such an immoral way. This depression leads Jillian back to New York, and to a healthier state of mind, which brings her to find her birth mother and adopt her own child. Many different themes, that all reflect on the dark side of human nature are portrayed in this intriguing biography. One of the major themes displayed in this story is how much of a price you will pay for your own wealth, and how your conscience can be so easily ignored in the face of great wealth and security. Another theme that this provocative tale examines is how easily the human heart can become desperate for affection, even if it is false love. All of the themes shown in this raw biography lead us to examine our ethics and consciences if we were to be put in Jillian's situation. One of the best aspects of this biography is the way that Jillian Lauren intertwines her wisdom and faults of her tainted past in Brunei, and her much healthier and loving present. Lauren reflects on her mistakes and experiences not with a hint of regret, but with a sense of progression and learning. Another great aspect of this biography was Lauren's ability to make the reader believe what Lauren felt about the Prince and the harem. The only true flaw that Lauren has in Some Girls is her brief description of her departure of Brunei, and what she was feeling exactly in the events preceding it. I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone I know, as it is an interesting story, that forces you to examine your faults, and ethics, and consider what you would do in a compromising situation. I find this biography to be a great story that keeps you interested from start to finish, while giving you time to reflect upon your beliefs and values, and how to forgive yourself and progress from your mistakes from the past. Jillian Lauren currently does not have any other books published, but after reading Some Girls, I would be intrigued to read anything else about her complex life. As a whole, I would give Some Girls four out of five stars, as it is an intriguing, exotic story, that you can still relate to, no matter how unorthodox Lauren's story becomes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2010

    Couldn't put it down!

    I'm a big historical fiction fan and rarely read biographies, but this book was quite fascinating. Jillina Lauren spins a story that draws in the reader from the beginning. It seems as if she is sitting beside you, casually recounting her life story. Who wouldn't love to know what goes on in a modern-day harem! We get a glimpse of what happens when male Muslims are fantastically wealthy, and how their lifestyles affect the young women they so thoughtlessly, casually discard.

    What a story!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Jillian Lauren is a great story teller and a gifted writer. I love how she bares her soul in this memoir. I highly recommend this story.

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  • Posted November 7, 2012

    The book was good because I love bio's, but if i bought the book

    The book was good because I love bio's, but if i bought the book purely for the name of it (my life in a harem) i would be disappointed. Literally half the book isnt even about her life in a harem, i think she should have written this book 15 years before she did when she still remembered what went on in Brunei.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    I was disappointed in this book. It was suggested for a book club read and it was all I could do to finish it.

    The writing was not the best or the story was not written well, I'm not sure what the problem was but I was glad to be done with it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Not as Advertised

    I wish I'd read reviews first, usually try to...just finished this book and am disappointed. From the title AND description, I was looking for a story about the harem. Some of that is there, but there is a lot about this woman's upbringing, life, friends, family, etc. that I just didn't care about. So beware...I found myself skipping full pages just to get to an interesting part.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    So - So

    Not Enough About The Harem & Too Vague!! I Wish It Had MORE Insight! Alot Of Boring Details About The Author!

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    Good writing; boring story

    Jillian Lauren is quite a good writer however, the story itself is lacking........

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    Not as exciting as I thought

    I was disappointed, the front page says my life in a harem,but only short parts were really about the harem, it should have been an autobiography bc it discusses more about things that happened to the author before the harem and after, instead of during. I actually lost interest and it took me another week to read the last 30 or so pages. I do not recommend to buy this,especially on nook,wait until someone else you know buys it in paperback and borrow it, or look in the thrift stores bc it will be there soon!

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  • Posted April 23, 2011

    Recommended!

    From the beginning, I was entranced by what Lauren wrote of her life and her time within the harem. Not at all what I had imagined. Just from people that I had spoke to who had worked for the Sultan or his brothers, I had learned a lot. I learned even more from Jillian Lauren. Interested, fast read! I wished at times she had enclosed more detail.

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  • Posted March 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Readable

    I recommend this book. First, for learning about a modern day harem. Secondly, for understanding modern young adult women and how they get to the places they do. There are adult scenes in this book and I woulnd't let my daughter read it, but the author wisely included sex scenes that were important to the plot. It wasn't a story of sex, but rather a story about a girl's life. An easy, interesting read and a statement on today's society.

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    highly recommend

    Great easy read good vacation on a beach book ! Crazy story cant believe its true !!

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    This took guts!

    I picked up this book having never heard of Jillian Lauren before and I couldn't put it down. I really think this took some guts for her to lay everything out like she did. She is a great storyteller!

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    gripping tale of personal growth

    A fascinating view of how our choices can lead us in directions that we never imagined and which most people would find hard to believe even exist, and would find all but impossible to refuse

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  • Posted November 4, 2010

    Interesting reading!

    I really enjoyed this book. Something very different!

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  • Posted August 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book

    Thanks for letting me borrow this book Patsy! It was really good!! :)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2010

    Not Nearly as Intriguing as the cover or title

    To put it bluntly, I was bored. And I didn't care or relate to/for any of the characters in the book.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    Fascinating, I Loved It

    This book was incredibly interesting to me. Life in a Harem was obviously a complete mystery, so it is just incredible to get a look inside. The author is completely honest, and answers many of the questions I have along the way. And I really "get" how she turned from a suburban girl into a prostitute. Somehow she managed to convince me that this could happen to anyone. And I do not think less of her for it. You can see the growth/change of the character, particularly when she got the first tattoo. However, I wonder how she spent all of that cash so fast! I hope to read more by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2010

    So So

    The topic was intresting. I enjoyed reading about everything she went through in Brunei. But everything else was boring. I was constantly skimming & skipping pages. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

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