Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jillian Lauren's "Some Girls: My Life in a Harem"

Author and performer Jillian Lauren grew up in suburban New Jersey and fled across the water to New York City. She attended New York University for three minutes but promptly dropped out to work with Richard Foreman's Ontological Hysteric Theater and with The Wooster Group, among others.

She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Flaunt Magazine, Opium Magazine, Society, Pale House: A Collective and in the anthology My First Time: A Collection of First Punk Show Stories, among others.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her recently released memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, and reported the following:
I feel compelled to take Ford's p.99 test because I have a lineage of mentors that actually stretches back to Ford himself. Ford Madox Ford mentored Caroline Gordon, who mentored Oakley Hall, who mentored Leonard Chang, who mentored lil' old me. So in a way, Ford's metaphysical fingers join me as I turn to p. 99 of my coming of age memoir Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, and land square on: disappointment. The second to last sentence of p. 99 is, "I was disappointed in Brunei and in myself."

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem is a book about identity, adoption, tattooing and the eighteen months I spent as a teenager in the harem of the Prince of Brunei. The rest of p.99 (prior to my statement of big fat disappointment) contains, well, more disappointment. In some ways this is emblematic of the restless spirit that led me so far afield in the first place. My perpetual dissatisfaction with the world I saw around me caused me to make a series of reckless choices that eventually dead ended in the bedroom of world richest man's youngest brother. At which point I was forced to entertain the concept that the world around me might not, in fact, be the problem.

In the end, I don't think that disappointment sums up the spirit of Some Girls, but I do think that the sentiment can be said to play a key role in the unfolding of the narrative.
Watch the trailer for Some Girls and read an excerpt; learn more about the book and author at Jillian Lauren's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue