Probably a 2-star. This is squarely in the commercial books category.
Following the thoughts of a teenager can be exasperating and especially mind-numb...moreProbably a 2-star. This is squarely in the commercial books category.
Following the thoughts of a teenager can be exasperating and especially mind-numbing. There's a lot of fluff before you get to Ch.19, when she thought she might be pregnant by Prince Jefri. Before then the flow was quite formulaic: my sob story justifies my actions, you just might have done the same in my situation, blah blah blah... To me her voice felt too coy & too full of self-serving pity. Ms. Lauren and her ghost writers had trudged out every infliction of early womanhood, in hopes that you would finally identify with her at some point ... you name it: low self-esteem, insecurity, weight issues, date rape, mean girls, depression, and clueless parents (& who didn't have those?) ..., on and on. I wouldn't consider this book a 100% memoir, some stuff was probably made up to sell books.
It is after Ch.19 that things moved at a faster pace. Just when I started to like her post-Brunei story (there were actually some substance in her decision-making), she WENT BACK!?? What-the-?? I threw up my hands! I give up!! She's either not remotely as sensitive as she claimed to be (w.r.t. the depression that made her leave Brunei the first time), or she's a much tougher cookie than she let on. You know, the kind with a mental toughness that rarely gets herself the short end of a bargain -- wherever she ends up. I suspect BOTH. She's not you, or I, she's a different breed altogether.
I didn't have any expectations when I first started reading this book. Ms. Lauren, on the other hand, aimed it to be more than a fun tale of her youthful indiscretions. Sadly, this book failed to achieve anything of note IMHO. She said that some sex workers do have hearts of gold, but she did not give one convincing example. She said that as a rule they do not kiss clients on the mouth, but she did not resist it with the Sultan. She played up her fragility & sensitivities before the end of her first Brunei experience, yet she had no qualms to return for more. She defined herself as a sex worker and an activist, yet she did not name the cause she supports. Perhaps most perplexing of all, speaking in the present-day, she forgives herself for what she did -- years ago. I don't get it: if she felt that what she did was unbecoming, then why write a book chronicling every detail? And what did she do to warrant her redemption? On the other hand, if she's a proud sex worker and an activist, then is really nothing to forgive, is there?
Which is it, Ms. Lauren?
ps. There's something to be said about the power of expectations. I noticed a number of reviewers here calling "Some Girls" a tale of "good girl gone bad" (as if she would otherwise turn into another hard working young woman tied to a desk churning out hourly wages); whereas in Breaking Trail A Climbing Life, numerous reviewers said they were miffed by Arlene Blum's promiscuity. I didn't think Ms. Blum was promiscuous -- not on the scale of Ms. Lauren, anyway.
======================================================= Added Mar 22, 2011 12:35am
More on Ms. Lauren's post-Brunei life, helpfully quoted by a fellow reader:
I found stark similarities between Meeink's story and DJ Morris's ("War of the Bloods in My Veins") in that neither had secure ties to parental figures nor a stable home in their young lives. Unlike "War of the Bloods" tho, I doubt that I will finish this book -- the chapter (p.85) that focused exclusively on his conquests stopped me cold. (less)
Petty and shallow, this work is several grades below "Dry", the first book i read by the same author. The only enlightening passage may be the one tit...morePetty and shallow, this work is several grades below "Dry", the first book i read by the same author. The only enlightening passage may be the one titled "i kid you not", when he mused on the adoption rules for gay couples.
ps. I don't know if listening to this in audiobook form diminished my appreciation for it in any way. This was my first experience using audiobooks.(less)
I'm thinking that I gave Ellen too much credit for being an intelligent woman, because ... well, she is not. Not in this book anyw...moreJun 13, 2011 02:41am
I'm thinking that I gave Ellen too much credit for being an intelligent woman, because ... well, she is not. Not in this book anyway. Makes me rethink if we all fell for her personal charm & not so much the substance of her material when she appears in stand-up. I mean, for a 45 year old to think of prison the way that she thinks of prison .. it's just not funny. And really immature (& uninformed). I don't blame her shallowness, it's our shallowness that brought her her success, don't you think? (less)
2014 july update: her tale will be made into a movie, oh shocking. Wonder why they didn't buy the rights to Nigel's account The Price of Life as well...more2014 july update: her tale will be made into a movie, oh shocking. Wonder why they didn't buy the rights to Nigel's account The Price of Life as well ..
--- Original notes
[after 130pp] Her "reporter" status was a bit tongue-in-cheek. I suspect a lot of tweaks & embellishments, I suspect only the main storyline is verifiable by independent sources. Hence the "commercial-pulp" label.
I picked up this book around the time I developed a fascination with midwest life (around US Great Lakes, roughly), and with the city of Chicago (depi...moreI picked up this book around the time I developed a fascination with midwest life (around US Great Lakes, roughly), and with the city of Chicago (depicted in Boss, Shameless -- tv).
"Cozy mystery" is how a fellow reader decribes it. The plot ambles along linearly without structure. Character development is scant (to be fair, I didn't read her prev 8 books in the series). A good actress can probably pull off "Mrs. Berns" as an elderly diva. But on the written page, she came across little more than sounds bites inserted here and there to prop up the protagonist. A slow read for me b/c it didn't hold much interest.
Bonus: the language is a bit more US colloquial than one finds in literature. I came across the "wife beater" (men's white underwear vest)!(less)