Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir is a new book from Los Angeles author Jillian Lauren, now available from Plume/Penguin (272p). It's a continuation of sorts of Lauren's first memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem (2010). To be honest I never read her first memoir, though I'm very curious about it now that I'm acquainted with her writing style a bit. From what I understand the first book was about her experiences as a troubled young adult turned concubine in—you guessed it—a harem. Not something you read about every day! In any case that's another book that should perhaps be discussed another time, but it's important to mention as Everything You Ever Wanted chronicles the next phase of the author's life.
When the book starts, Lauren is in what she describes as "midway between the before picture and the after picture." It begins with her meeting and marrying a guy named Scott, whom she seems to have a great relationship with. But of course life isn't perfect—the couple struggles with infertility, which leads to them adopting an Ethiopian boy named Tariku.
International adoption is a subject that's always been of interest to me. Not that it's something I've experienced myself, but I'm close with a family that adopted a couple of older girls (ages 5 and 7) from overseas. From the sidelines I've seen how challenging it can be to raise a child that's old enough to remember their life "before"—not to mention adjusting to cultural differences. In Jillian Lauren's case they started the adoption process while their son was still quite young, but there were still roadblocks ahead—Tariku was diagnosed with PTSD and Sensory Processing Disorder. Nobody said life was easy.
I don't want to give away too much of what actually happens in the book, but I will say this: I think it has greatly contributed to my understanding of both adoptive families and parents raising special needs children. And I find Lauren's story sort of relatable in the sense that I know what it's like to try to recover from the mistakes of youth and find one's "identity" in society. (Not that I was ever in a harem, but I did find myself needing a fresh start from something else many years ago.)
I think Everything You Ever Wanted would be of particular relevance to prospective adoptive parents and/or people who are caregivers to children with special needs, but the story is engaging enough to be interesting to folks whose life is experience is totally, totally different (like me). But what makes this book special is the fluid, brave and occasionally funny style that Lauren writes in—it's not an easy feat to address such emotional subject matter in a way that doesn't make you want to bawl your eyes out (well, at least not the whole time).
Sound like something you'd be interested in reading too? Everything You Ever Wanted is now available for purchase on Amazon, and even better—my readers have a chance to win a copy for themselves!
RULES AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION
- To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. Each entry method may be done once per person.
- The prize is one paperback copy of Everything You Ever Wanted, value $16.00.
- The giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, except where prohibited by law. The full Terms & Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter widget.
- The giveaway period closes at 11:59PM EST on May 18th, 2015.
- The winner will be contacted via e-mail and will 48 hours to respond in order to claim their prize, so make sure you log into the Rafflecopter widget with a valid e-mail address that you check frequently.
Thanks for reading and good luck!
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book for review purposes, however any opinions expressed above are honest and my own. I did not receive any other form of compensation. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.