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Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian…
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Some Girls: My Life in a Harem (edition 2010)

by Jillian Lauren

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3112435,843 (3.33)1 / 22
Member:TheKnittedSheep
Title:Some Girls: My Life in a Harem
Authors:Jillian Lauren
Info:Plume (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Library, Read But Need To Buy, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Non-Fiction, 2013

Work details

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren

Recently added byprivate library, cinfien1977, Kate.Good, tiffanyfawn, morganwhitman
  1. 00
    For A Dancer: The Memoir by Emma J Stephens (elizabeth.a.coates)
    elizabeth.a.coates: Both are true stories, both writers experience many barriers, same frank tone.
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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I love reading memoirs from sex workers, but I admit that I was disappointed with this book. It had trouble holding my attention, which is very rare for me.

Truthfully, it wasn't the topic matter that disappointed me, and I could even have looked over the bits I found boring such as the endless gossiping and listing of things she bought, but it just held no emotion. I'm not entirely sure when she penned the book, as the events take place in 1991 and this book was published in 2010, but it lacked a lot of emotion. It couldn't draw me in because it felt like it was a second hand retelling of what happened. This contrasted with the fact that there was a bunch of meaningless facts about her past that sought to show us what type of life she led but instead just fell flat.

I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't feel connected to the author. ( )
  jmkeep | Jul 27, 2013 |
I don’t like the ending. I don’t like how it is so happy and perfect and surreal. This book, to me, was – is – about the ugliness of this world, about the harsh realities some people have to go through every day, about the fact that everything becomes meaningless to a person after time. It was not about having a loving husband, or adopting a beautiful baby boy, or finding a happy ending.

The Summary

For those who haven’t yet read this book, this contains some mild spoilers.
For those who have read this book, this is slightly biased as it is coloured by my personal opinion

Jill is a stripper. A hooker. A prostitute – however you want to call her. She is constantly down on cash, is an aspiring actress whose only notable role is a cheerleader at a cheap porno flick. After joining an escort agency through one of the other actresses also playing a role in the movie, she is offered a chance to go to Brunei and party for two weeks and get an outrageous amount of money in exchange for entertaining his Royal Highness Prince Jefri Bolkiah.

Whilst there, she gets the prince’s attention and thus extends her stay by another week, another month, another two months. Then she realizes that she misses New York and makes up some excuse about her father being in a life threatening situation and flying home. Again, she extends her stay in New York constantly, and goes through an abortion, a tattoo, and the rest of her money whilst she is there.

Flying back to Brunei, she realizes that she no longer hold the prince’s affections and that, basically, a lot has changed. One of the other American girls there give her the name of an agency and she flies home to find her biological mother.

The Review
I was not that impressed with the story. The plot sounded interesting, yes, but there isn’t actually as much about Brunei as one might expect from the summary. This book is basically about Jillian whining about her life, how she sinks into depression if her scenery doesn’t change every two months and how her boyfriend didn’t care enough for her.



This book would’ve gotten two, three stars if everything in it weren’t true. The fact that she managed to find the courage within herself to write this book makes me add at least one star to my rating – after all, in fiction you can be endlessly creative, you can write about minuscule detail, but in non-fiction, or rather, in autobiographical memoirs, all you can write is what you know, what you remember.

I think is book is a good book – it is great if you look at it from the point of a memoir, but not so good if you look at it as a book you’re reading. It’s really brave of Jillian Lauren to lay her life bare before thousands, if not millions of readers about the globe, and, well, what can I say now except that I wish her husband, son and her a good life? ( )
  Joyce.Leung | May 24, 2013 |
At age eighteen Lauren dropped out of NYU, and went to Brunei to join the royal harem. Her duties were to look beautiful at nightly parties, and be sexually available to the sultan's younger brother. In return she received expensive clothes and gifts.

The world of the Brunei royal family is a strange one. Women from all over the world jockey, fight, and manipulate for position within the harem. They live together in communal houses that could rival the cattiest sorority. The women are not allowed to leave the compound unescorted.

Essentially this struck me as a case of adolescent rebellion on a grand scale. The Brunei harem was fairly grotesque. Still, I enjoyed this look into a totally bizarre life. It was disturbing how disposable the women in the harem were. Some lasted weeks, others months. All of them seemed to be chasing a completely unattainable goal- to become one of the royal wives. None of them would. ( )
  lahochstetler | May 11, 2013 |
Finished this yesterday. One word comes to mind about this book. That word is... Honest!

Wow That girl is so honest, In was sometimes shocked but loved it as well.

How she spoke about her father. That was the first thing that surprised me.

Quote: "In Great tradition of Jewish parents, his dearest belief is that when he is dead, I'll spend the rest of my life regretting my callous behaviour towards him"

Wow. I do not find that a very positive thing about Jewish parents if that is true.

She also wrote that her dad sometimes called her on the phone when he had heard a song and that reminded him of himself! He wanted her then to listen to that song and have the same sentiments, meaning listen to that song and think about HIM!. I think dad was very into himself ;)

Another thing I noticed was her love for difficult words. Well to me they were. ;)

Quote; My family is one of those old Jewish families whose octogenarians are sought out for interviews by ethnohistorians"

Loved that one. What I also loved was her telling about the weird thoughts she had. It turned out I had the same thoughts. lol. Wondering what you would do in a war lke ww2 or in a crisis situation. Everybody always thinks they would be the hero. ;)


Talking about how she loved to watch herself cry. "Sometimes I spent so much time acting the part that I forgot How I was really feeling"

Another sentence that struck a chord was "The diet part that worked out fine. It was the liking myself part that never happened"

"I stuffed any display of weakness or emotion and planned to have my feelings when I got somewhere else. But when I got home I couldn't find the feelings I'd put aside for later"

Okay I'll stop with the quotes.

Another thought after reading. Wondering how the relationship with her parents is now?
She told the whole word she used to be a prostitute! That is very brave but I could not help wondering about her parents.

I highly recommend this book because it is thought provoking and interesting.
( )
  Marlene-NL | Apr 12, 2013 |
The title is a misnomer—the author spent several months in a contemporary harem, but not her life. This is not a memoir about social justice or women’s rights, so although the author mentions the Asian women who may not have the option to leave, it is only in passing and without analysis.

Lauren is definitely a handful, and though her parents are not portrayed as stellar, neither does she seem particularly easy to have a relationship with. This is her self-report, but there was not enough emotional depth for me to tell whether the tone is intended to be matter of fact, proud, repentant, or something else. I experienced two commingling impressions throughout this fairly psychologically superficial book: First, that there were even more drugs involved than the narrative names; and second, that fairly early on, the author saw herself as writing a contemporary version of [b:The Happy Hooker|325930|The Happy Hooker My Own Story|Xaviera Hollander|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1173767400s/325930.jpg|520977]. Although there is a fair amount of detail, the “plot” of the story isn’t very compelling. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
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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.
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I spotted my fellow traveler Destiny from behind as she waited on a long check-in queue.  Her teased hair aspired to brush the skylights and she wore a spandex tube dress that shifted from neon pink to neon orange, like a tropical sunset.  The top of her dress smooshed her boobs into one amorphous form.  My mothers says tops like that make your bust look like a loaf of challah.  Destiny's loaf of challah would have fed a developing country.  I gave her a quick hug and noted that she reeked of Aqua Net and Amarige.  I was traveling with a superstripper.  So much for anonymity, for mystery and the fluid identity that travel allows.
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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)

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