Synopses & Reviews
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.
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."
"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
Praise for Everything You Ever Wanted:
“An irreverent, deeply honest love letter from a fascinating mother to an exceptional, inspiring child.”
--Ayelet Waldman, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Mother
“Jillian Laurens writing will take your breath away. With heartbreaking clarity, she deftly unfurls a story of becoming an adoptive mother and coming terms with her own childhood with candor and grace.”
-Annabelle Gurwitch, author of I See You Made an Effort
Praise for Some Girls:
"SOME GIRLS would have been riveting even if Lauren had merely illuminated the murky world of high-class prostitution. The fact that she does so with humor, candor, and a reporter's gimlet eye is an added delight. But Lauren also reveals how and why a middle-class kid found herself in such a line of work--and how she got out."—Jennifer Egan, author of Look at Me and The Keep
“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
“SOME GIRLS takes you into a world so dramatic, it seems almost too outrageous to be true. Lauren lifts the veil on harem life and shows us the gritty truth of life in fantasy-land.”—Lily Burana, author of Strip City
“Catfights, mad cash, priceless jewels -- welcome to the sultans harem. What starts out juicy quickly turns soulful in this elegantly crafted, multi-layered stunner of a memoir. A spell-binding tale of one womans exotic search for identity and true love.”-- Rachel Resnick, author of Love Junkie
“Lauren tells the story straight, without much moralizing, but the corruption of the aristocrats, the powerlessness of the women and the destitution of the life outside the harem speaks for itself.”—LA Times
“[Lauren] is a deft storyteller and not afraid to provide candid descriptions of her life. A tight, sleek narrative. Whats astounding is that Lauren writes without shame, confronting every hard truth. [Some Girls is] too good to read just once.”—Miami Herald
“Laurens story is not one of perpetual gullibility and woman done wrong incidents, but rather an entertaining…and hopeful tale about one young womans endless quest to find herself. A beautiful, sweeping epic.”—Bookslut
“Lauren is a gifted writer. Compelling.”—Library Journal
“Lauren is a natural storyteller. She has a gift for metaphor, an eye for the odd detail.”—LA Weekly
“Lauren lifts the veil off her secret harem life, sharing vivid and explosive details.”—The New York Post
Praise for PRETTY:
"Jillian Lauren writes with stunning, furious authenticity about self-destruction and the bitter road toward redemption. "Pretty" will knock the breath right out of you."—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
“PRETTY is the real deal, a harrowing journey from darkness to light to real life. Bebes unflinching, street-level search for salvation absolutely floored me, and Jillian Laurens writing shimmers throughout with wit and authenticity.”—Antoine Wilson, author of The Interloper
“Pretty is the not-so-pretty, utterly riveting, non-stop frantic and compulsively readable saga of Bebe Baker, a heroine who knows her way around a serious binge. Jillian Lauren renders the taste and feel of wretched excess - be it sex, drugs, food, or Los Angeles - with a savage veracity and style all her own. The prose, at times, drives with such ferocious urgency that the words seem not so much written as willed onto the page. Pretty stands out as a triumph of survival testimony. The author, plainly, is lucky to have survived - but the reader is luckier. Jillian Lauren is the real deal.”—Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight
“BeBe Baker knows the ugliness of the world, yet finds plain truths in the multicultural pageantry of eastern Los Angeles. She is the kid you want to protect, the girl youd definitely be friends with, the obliviously fetching female that all the boys love—an unlikely, unforgettable hero with a forever-searching soul. Prettys true beauty, however, is the authors ability to lovingly capture lifes microscopic details—right down to the cuticles—and offer them back up to us as communion.”—Shawna Kenney, author of I Was a Teenage Dominatrix and Imposters
A punk rock Scheherazade” (Margaret Cho) shares the zigzagging path that took her from being a member of a harem to motherhood
Jillian Lauren is not your typical mom. In Everything You Ever Wanted, she recounts her journey of starting a family after a radically untraditional beginning that was fraught with sex, drugs and rock and roll and immortalized in the internationally bestselling memoir Some Girls.
With the same unflinching honesty displayed in Some Girls, Lauren chronicles how, after she loses her best friend to an overdose and her parents disown her, she is saved by her love for her adopted son with special needs. Exploring complex ideas of identity and reinvention, Everything You Ever Wanted is a must-read for everyone, especially every mother, who has ever hoped for a second act in life.
About 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.