Everything You Ever Wanted

“A punk rock Scheherazade.” (Margaret Cho)

Jillian Lauren 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 every mother and everyone who has ever hoped for a second act in life.

Praise for Everything You Ever Wanted

Everything You Ever Wanted is wonderful... broad reaching and introspective


—The NY Times

While she skewers the celebrity-driven and consumerist Southern California culture she indulges in, Lauren also writes darkly and beautifully... Lauren cracked me — cracked me up and cracked me open... Part of the many joys and sorrows of reading “Everything You Ever Wanted” is this generous and funny and intelligent writer knows that, despite the many hardships, it is in fact she who is the lucky one.


—LA Times

In her beautiful, heart-wrenching, brilliant, and profoundly human second memoir, we meet Lauren a decade later in a strikingly different milieu. She’s stepping over lines in stages again, but now moving toward things she’s always dreamed of: becoming a good wife, a good mother, a tattooed, pierced, upstanding member of the PTA.


—Boston Globe

If there is a message in this wry and honest parenting memoir, it’s to toss unrealistic hopes, to stop parenting with such intention, or, as Lauren puts it: “Sometimes, you have to be content.”


—Washington Post

Lauren again demonstrates her keen ability to transform unusual experiences into brave writerly fodder.


—Publisher’s Weekly

Everything You Ever Wanted is a transformative, unflinching account of the creation of an adoptive family. Jillian and Scott and their son Tariku show us, painful, frustrating and joyful step by step how to attach, heal, listen, trust and then let go. A testament to the fierce and fallible journey of any mother. Reads like a novel, moves you like any great story of survival would, to tears of joy and triumph.


—Jamie Lee Curtis

Everything You Ever Wanted is an irreverent, deeply honest love letter from a fascinating mother to an exceptional, inspiring child.


—Ayelet Waldman, Nationally bestselling author of
Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace

As a foster child, I related so deeply to this story. Jillian Lauren is giving her son the greatest gift any child can have: to be wanted and loved unconditionally. This is a book about belonging. It's a book about parenting as a spiritual practice -- of learning how to love another human being right where they are, right where you are. A really beautiful story of family.


—Tracy McMillan, bestselling author of Why You're Not Married...Yet

In this ferociously brave, funny, and heartwarming memoir, Jillian Lauren parses the challenges and rewards of motherhood with true grace and humility. No other parenting book has ever made me feel so validated about the big, messy, beautiful picture of what it means to care for another human being. I closed the cover in awe of both the author, and of parenthood itself.


— Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance and After This

Jillian Lauren’s writing will take your breath away. Writing with heartbreaking clarity, she deftly unrfurls a story of becoming an adoptive mother and coming terms with her own childhood with a wining candor and grace.


— Annabelle Gurwitch, NY Times bestselling author of I See You Made an Effort

Lauren’s writing is brave and honest, and she calls out hypocrisy wherever she sees it…


—Kirkus Reviews

With astonishing candor and grace, Jillian chronicles how her first difficult years as a mother allowed her to shine a more empathetic and compassionate light on her relationship her own estranged father. She is the most relatable of narrators, even though as the former lover of a prince, now married to a real life rock star, she has lived a life about which most women only fantasize. In Everything you Ever Wanted, Jillian Lauren proves once again that she is above all else a master storyteller.


— Catherine Burns, Artistic Director, The Moth

Candid, hilarious, searing, and poetic, Jillian Lauren is Everything You Ever Wanted in a memoirist.


—Sandra Tsing Loh, author of The Madwoman in the Volvo

With humor and poignancy, Jillian interweaves her struggle to become a mother with her own story of being adopted as an infant. It's a love story - between Jillian and her rockstar husband, and also between a couple and their new son. Like all great love stories, the beauty is in the struggle.



— Kristen Howerton, founder of Rage Against the Minivan