Wednesday, November 02, 2011

You read what?




Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren

As I start to post this review I'm wondering about how many people are going to be thinking you read what?!? 

Yeah, and it was good.

My hesitation comes from the fact that (strangely) it seems like it's socially acceptable to read about sex workers when they're from other countries, but I'm not sure if the same allowance includes real stories about Americans who choose this kind of life for themselves.  I remember Memoirs of a Geisha being a big thing--first the book, then the movie--but that seemed very distant in geography and time. Reading about a modern American girl who drops out of college to become a New York stripper and escort and eventually ends up in the harem of a price of Brunei?  I'm not sure that's as okay of a thing to do.  I could use the excuse that I had to read this for my nonfiction class--because I did--but honestly I really liked it.  I could not put it down.

Don't worry, there are no plans to go on any mysterious interviews (or basically to do anything in this book at all); not everything you read in life needs to be your instruction manual.  But it reminded me of something I've known about books since I was very small.  Books are a special kind of magic, and they let you peek into someone else's life--in another world--that is entirely different from your own.  That's why I like blogs, and books.  I'm totally nosy.  Ain't no shame in my game.  This was a crazy peek into a life that I would otherwise never know about, and it was a good read.

This is a memoir.  It happened.  I just finished it and I still kind of can't believe it was real because it's so strange and unfamiliar.  Jillian Lauren was a sixteen year old dropout of NYU's theater program who found her way into a role as a professional party guest and sometime-lover for a prince.  It's filled with exactly the kind of stuff (and language) you would imagine a book about a sex worker would be.  There are drugs.  And anorexia.  And abuse issues.  And self-esteem issues.  And abortions.  Parts of it were salacious.  Parts were really sad.  This is a story written by and about a very damaged person.  THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. Don't read it if you're going to be offended by the language or the subject matter.  But it is written really well, and I'm glad I read it because of how it was written and what it had to say.

My recommendation: A really good, really interesting read.  I definitely recommend it.


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