Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren

Everything You Ever Wanted

Jillian Lauren

Exploring complex ideas of identity and reinvention, Everything You Ever Wanted is a must-read for everyone, especially every mother, who has ever hoped for a second act in life.

Start Reading….

Read Excerpt Now


Sign me up to receive news about Jillian Lauren.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!

A Best Memoir of 2015, “This memoir is compulsively readable and full of humor and heart.”—AdoptiveFamilies.com 

“A punk rock Scheherazade” (Margaret Cho) shares the zigzagging path that took her from harem member to PTA member…

In her younger years, Jillian Lauren was a college dropout, a drug addict, and an international concubine in the Prince of Brunei’s harem, an experience she immortalized in in her bestselling memoir, SOME GIRLS. In her thirties, Jillian's most radical act was learning the steadying power of love when she and her rock star husband adopt an Ethiopian child with special needs.  After Jillian loses a close friend to drugs, she herself is saved by her fierce, bold love for her son as she fights to make him—and herself—feel safe and at home in the world.

Exploring complex ideas of identity and reinvention, Everything You Ever Wanted is a must-read for everyone, especially every mother, who has ever hoped for a second act in life.

Advance Galley Reviews

I really wanted to like this book. I was very excited to get the opportunity to read it with Penguin First to Read program but ultimately did not even finish it. The beginning was very slow and I could not get into it. Maybe it was being unsympathetic to the main character; I found myself disliking her and finding reasons not to keep reading. I myself am a mother and was drawn to the fact that this was a story about a mother hoping for "a second act in life" but I couldn't connect with the character, found her choices frustrating and could not make myself interested in where her journey would take her. It just wasn't for me.

This book is amazing. I loved Lauren's first book and her second does not disappoint. Lauren has a gift for writing memoirs that read like fiction, so smoothly and captivating that I'm entranced. She doesn't pull her punches, especially with her own failings and struggles, and it makes me love her writing even more. Lauren is so frank and her writing at the sentence level is so amazing that her book is a joy to read on every level. I highly recommend this book, especially to anyone who's interested in adoption or trauma care. The beginning can be a little slow, but once you get in Lauren's rhythm it's captivating. I received a copy of this book from the First to Read Program.

I received a copy of this book from the Penguin First to Read program for my review. I had a hard time getting into this book, but in the end I'm glad I read it. It was an open and honest look at one woman's journey from college dropout and drug addict to wife and mother of an adopted special needs child. There were parts that were hard to read but, as any mother knows, it's not always easy. This book is proof positive that people can change and to never lose hope. I've never read anything by Jillian Lauren before but I will make it a point to seek out her other books.

To a certain extent, the experience of the early part of this book was affected by the fact that I just finished another book about a baby-crazy lady trying to get pregnant and questioning herself and her marriage at every turn for that. So the early part of this book, about trying to get pregnant and failing and then deciding to adopt, was slow and annoying for me. Not that I think that adoptions are annoying -- just that all the agony she's going through didn't inspire sympathy in me. And there were some traits of the author that bothered me because she's so different than I am -- she's impetuous, jumping on bandwagons without thinking it through. I found myself wanting to yell at her to slow down and think. She does lots and lots of reading and research, but that doesn't translate into measured decisions somehow. I'm not a mother, so maybe mothers will recognize her thought processes more, but there were times that I could honestly say "okay, even I know it'll drive you crazy if you follow through on that one". So... let's just take her kinda crazy as it is and talk about the book. At first, it's a memoir of how to get a baby. Then it becomes a kind of confusing adoption horror story, since her child is inexplicably violent. Then it gets explicable: trauma, sensory issues. Then, ultimately, after a few years of tears and confusion and frustration, it becomes a success story. And I think all of that comes very honestly, in way that we feel what she felt as she felt it, not with the wisdom of looking back and evaluating it in light of the end. That's a good way to tell a story. But the level of emotional agitation is overwhelming. Only read it if you're feeling pretty stable yourself, because if I were anywhere near some kind of stress/panic, I wouldn't have been able to finish this book. And the only stress release in the whole book is at the end, so it's important to get there to have the full experience. I wouldn't say it's an enjoyable read -- it's exhausting. But it's a good story told honestly, which makes it worth the effort. I got a free copy of this from the First to Read program.

I received an early copy of this book through the Penguin First to Read program. This story of a family adopting an Ethiopian child starts off slow, but builds to a wonderful ending, not quite "happily ever after", but more "merrily we go along" that brought me great joy. Jillian and Scott tried to have children on their own, but decided to go the adoption route and had to travel half way across the world to pick their child up in Africa. Neither of them are the "ideal couple" for adoption, she was once in a harem and had a drug problem and he is a bass guitar player for Weezer. They are both determined to be the best parents they can be. Isn't that what is really necessary? Tariku is not an easy child to raise, but they never give up on him and I was really pulling for them to make it past all their hurdles. I have six natural children of my own and could identify with all the individual problems you can have with a child. Tariku likes to bite and hit and they have a difficult time finding a school that will work with them to get him better adjusted. Finally things do come together and it seems that the hazardous journey will come to an end with a big Tariku sandwich hug. He puts his arms around my waist and stands there beside me. He holds my hand and kisses it. He whispers in my ear, “I love you to the moon and back two thousand hundred times.” This is a remarkably truthful story of a family coming together and growing stronger every day. I highly recommend it.

Easy to read memoir about a woman's re-invention of herself and finding a cause in caring for an adopted disabled child. The book moved quickly. It is a great resource for anyone considering adoption and the impact it can have on a person's life and the life of the child. Books like this would also be great resources in a college English or Education curriculum because they teach about life and about social responsibility for every child regardless of their background.

I really liked this book. She was so honest and as a mother myself I know how it is that I'd do anything for my kids. Life is rough at times for all of us in different ways and yet we can find it in ourselves and those around us to get us through. I'm so glad her husband was always there for her and supported her for wanting a child so bad. This was a really good read in so many ways. I am recommending it to a few family and friends who have also gone through the adoption process. I know it's not an easy road for many. Great book. So glad I was able to find out about it through this site.

Quite surprising and readable. Not exactly what I expected. I admire Jillian Lauren for the guts she possess to talk of her life as it was. More detailed review to follow on Amazon an Goodreads.


More to Explore

  • Some Girls
  • Pretty

Copy the following link