Jillian Lauren

At 18, Jillian Lauren dropped out of NYU and entered the world of high-class prostitution. Her memoir Some Girls: My Life in a Harem (Plume, $15) details the year-plus she spent in a prince’s palace in Brunei, navigating a haze of sex, parties, and expensive gifts. Admittedly, the good-girl-gone-bad-and-back memoir has been published countless times before. But Lauren steers clear of phony sentiment and redemption. She doesn’t demonize or glamorize sex work. Instead, she writes like a journalist, making candid and often wry observations. (“Hookers in bare feet and evening gowns playing badminton is a sight to see.”) Lauren, who has contributed to Vanity Fair, exudes that same frankness off the page as well. “To tell this story was frightening,” she by phone from Los Angeles, where she’s now a married suburbanite. “It feels like my skirt is pulled up over my head; I don’t have any secrets anymore.” The hardest part about airing her controversial past? “Telling my neighbors! I throw block parties that their children attend! I wanted them to hear it from me before they read it in the book.” ERIKA HOBART

Wed., May 12, 7 p.m., 2010

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