Jill was not your typical teenage girl. She finished high school early, and started college at sixteen. She quit college, and continued living on her own in New York City, pursuing an acting career while supporting herself as a waitress, then later as a stripper. In an odd turn of events, she became an international escort, and landed in a harem for the Prince of Brunei before she was even twenty. Her may involve a prince, but it is far from a fairy tale.
This story was gripping from the first pages. You knew you were going to get frankness without crassness. The intent was not to titillate, but to inform the reader of the realities of the international sex trade. For many girls, they have no real choice about working in the sex industry, but for girls who have even some semblance of a choice, we often wonder how they came to that choice. Lauren does an excellent job of explaining how she came to her choice, without making herself out to seem like a victim. She makes it seem as though she took control of her choice, even though it did in fact victimize her, and hurt her.
The book is an unbelievable tale, and it draws you in at your very core. What little girl does not dream of a prince? What little girl does not want money, gowns, jewels lavished upon her? But oh the price that girl pays. I was unable to put this book down, and somewhat saddened when it was over. I wanted to hear more of Lauren's story, more about the other girls in the Harem, more of the downfall of the Prince.
A memoir like this is never easy to read, one where the writer has suffered some form of damage, but I commend Lauren for writing it. I commend her for taking back control of her life, for healing and moving on. The book will be especially interesting to readers interested in feminism and women's issues, particularly issues involving sex abuse or the sex industry. While the subject matter is intense and adult, it is handled in an appropriate manner.
A touring review copy of this book made available by Crazy Book Tours.