Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book 17: Some Girls My Life in a Harem

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren was an unusual memoir that spoke to me the moment I spotted it at the Borders going out of business sale that never let me down. Upon buying it, I bumped it to the top of my reading pile.

This memoir is about how a girl from New Jersey traded in her life as a struggling actress and a call-girl in order to be a kept woman for Prince Jefri of Brunei. The prince (who preferred to go by the Western name Robin) would have women host parties for him and they were expected to entertain in exchange for untold amounts of money and gifts. These party girls in all reality created a harem.

This book was interesting. Although you didn’t get the juicy details of the backstabbing and the political games other then hints at it. But at the same time, you understood what she was talking about even though it wasn’t greatly deep in detail. As it is so often with power struggles involving girls, the moves are subtle and hard to describe to an outsider.

There is a real bond that I developed with how Jillian presented herself. She loves music and has many layers to her even when she had a facade up. I really enjoyed how at different points, she would have a song lyrics listed or a song that caught her attention at that particular moment. It allowed me to really relate to her. But then again, who wouldn’t relate to listening to the Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime” while on the way to Burnei in adventure that she wasn’t even sure she understood. You can understand why she went back to Brunei for a second stay with the Prince.

One of the things about the book that i liked is how it largely focused on her time in Brunei and what lead up to led up to it. She glossed over her childhood and her actions after Brunei. At one point, I thought that the book was getting off track since it was talking about the year she left Burnei. Jillian was growing and changing but with about a 100 pages left in the book, you almost felt left down that there wasn’t more about being a mistress to a prince. But then you realize it was explaining how she changed in the year way from Burnei and she was going to return.

This is was a fun memoir for me. It gave me a glimpse into a world that is fascinating even though I’m know I’m unlikely to experience myself.

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