Why I read it: Salon reference
Podcasts: Blog Talk Radio
Brow: Feels pretty low to me.
Summary: Jillian Lauren drops out of college after 6 weeks to pursue her acting dream. When her parents cut her off, she turns to stripping and working as an escort to make ends meet. One day, one of her colleagues mentions a new, more lucrative opportunity: going to the far-away land of Brunei as one of the 'party girls' in Prince Jefri's harem. Lauren takes off on a whim and with the promise of $20 000 in cash for two weeks' work. Once there, she discovers that life as a caged bird is not all that it's cracked up to be, no matter how gilded the cage: when you put 40 women into a room and force them to compete for one man's attentions, things get pretty competitive, pretty fast. Nonetheless, our heroine prevails, eventually clawing her way up to number 2 girlfriend and winning fabulous shopping trips and jewellery for her pains. She returns after a year and a half and finds a nice husband and a happy life with dozens of gossipy stories to share.
What I like about it: I can't say I'm deeply read in the 'autobiography of a sex worker' genre, but most of them seem to be about girls who were sexually abused in their youth and eventually sold into virtual slavery, only to escape years later and write a memoir of survival despite the odds. Jillian Lauren is not that type of sex worker. She had a rocky relationship with her parents, yes, but she was not abused, nor was she coerced into her lifestyle. She also enjoys her time in Brunei and manages to use at least part of it productively to figure out what she wants to do next in life.
What I didn't like about it: Not enough details about Brunei! Lauren only describes one sexual encounter with the prince and one insane shopping trip to Singapore as a reward. C'mon girl! You spend a year and a half there, what else happened?