Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

3.2 160
by Jillian Lauren
     
 

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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

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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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452296312
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
230,215
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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What People are saying about this

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

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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Some Girls 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 159 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
SherpaShazz More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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AT_STL More than 1 year ago
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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KPShrewsbury More than 1 year ago
Jillian Lauren is quite a good writer however, the story itself is lacking........