Driving the Saudis: A Chauffeur’s Tale of the World’s Richest Princesses (plus Their Servants, Nannies, and One Royal Hairdresser)

Jayne A Larson, Author
Jayne Amelia Larson. Free Press, $24 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4001-4
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4516-4004-5
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Larson earned her graduate degree at Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater Institute. For many years, she earned good reviews for a steady flow of New York City acting jobs. She then tried her luck in Los Angeles, but found herself out of work and money. Actor-friends told her limo-driving wasn’t bad, so she told herself, “after a few months, I would sell a script I’d been developing or land a great part in a film, and it would all be over.” After a couple of months on the job, big news: the imminent arrival of a Saudi royal family, known for glamorous excursions and large tips. In her chronicling of 50 days with Princess Zaahira and her entourage, Larson reveals herself to be an articulate, observant writer. She balances colorful tales of excess with musings on women’s roles, and accounts of bad behavior with considerations of the reasons behind it. There are lovely moments, too: she developed a bond with a nanny and a gaggle of servant-girls, and their kindness offers a counterpoint to Larson’s often disturbing realizations about money, power, and perspective. There’s plenty of fascinating insider info, too, about the job, her charges (Saudi and otherwise), and Los Angeles —altogether, an often thoroughly enjoyable read. (Oct.)
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