From New York to a Harem

One might assume that Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren would be filled with descriptions of unbridled sex and promiscuity. While those subjects are definitely present, there is much more to this memoir by a young American woman who seemed to be searching for an identity her entire life.

Lauren was adopted as a baby by a Jewish couple from New Jersey. At first glance, it appears that she lived a normal life with her parents and adopted brother. But, as her story unfolds, you find her mother to be a quiet but ineffective nurturer and her father both an occasionally loving father and a bully with violent tendencies.

The only information Lauren was given about her birth mother was that she had been a ballerina from Chicago. Lauren tried following that same path, but dropped out of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts six months after being accepted to the early-admission program at age 16.  At that time her family refused to continue to help her financially.  In order to support herself, she began a job as an exotic dancer/stripper, then as a paid escort before making her way to Brunei where she became a member of a Brunei prince’s harem.

Her description of living in the harem is reminiscent of a sexy sorority house with beautiful girls bickering and vying for favors of the prince. While there were shopping trips to Singapore to buy designer clothes, purses and jewelry, unfortunately, travelling was kept to a minimum, and Lauren did not have much opportunity to explore the kingdom of Brunei or other parts of the Middle East. Most of the girls’ days were occupied with sunbathing, exercising and watching television, not exactly the westerner’s idea of living in a palace.

If you are expecting romantic descriptions of the exotic Middle East and their distinctive cuisines, you may be disappointed. But, if you are in the mood to read a memoir of a young fearless woman who engages in activities that most people would steer away from while also continuing to search for the truth about her birth, give this one a try.

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