Driving the Saudis

Driving the Saudis

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

Book - 2012
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The true-to-life account of a female chauffeur hired to drive the Saudi royal family in Los Angeles.

After more than a decade of working in Hollywood, actress Jayne Amelia Larson found herself out of luck, out of work, and out of prospects.

When she got hired to drive for the Saudi royal family vaca­tioning in Beverly Hills, Larson thought she'd been handed the golden ticket. She'd heard stories of the Saudis bestowing $20,000 tips and Rolex watches on their drivers, but when the family arrived at LAX with twenty million dollars in cash, Larson realized that she might be in for the ride of her life.

With awestruck humor and deep compassion, Larson shares the incredible insights she gained as the lone female in a detail of more than forty chauffeurs assigned to drive a beautiful Saudi princess, her family, and their extensive entourage.

At its heart, this is an upstairs-downstairs, true-to-life fable for our global times; a story about the corruption that nearly infinite wealth causes, and about what we all do for money. Equal parts funny, surprising, and insightful, Driving the Saudis provides both entertainment and sharp social commentary on one of the world's most secretive families.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2012.
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781451640045
Characteristics: xi, 208 p. ; 24 cm.


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Aug 05, 2015

An out-of-work LA actress working as a chauffeur hears that the Saudis are big tippers, so when a call comes in for a woman chauffeur to be included among 40, Larson decides to go along for the ride. She's the one who gets taken for a ride, however, with a seven week stint, no days off, on call 24/7. She learns a great deal about the life of a Saudi princess, wherever she is in the pecking order. She learns, perhaps, even more, about what it's like to be the young servant to a Saudi princess. Her understanding, however, lacks depth, as when she expects the servants to understand her suffering for 7 weeks, when theirs continues the rest of their lives. I ended up learning a lot about the Saudis she served, but thinking she was a bit selfish. Interesting book, nonetheless. Oh, that big tip? Hers was $1,000, while her male compatriots got $5K and up. Or did they lie about that too?

Apr 23, 2015

Interesting take on super-rich royals, from the country whose lunchtime entertainment is beheading of people, especially women! As long as humanity has royals, no one will ever be safe!!! [Glad to see her ephiphany that America, and life, is not really a meritocracy!] The description claims that wealth is the cause of corruption - - seems like corrupt behavior frequently brings great wealth - - nice attempt at reframing, though. . .[During college, one of my many jobs was at a high-end fashion department, and once sold items to a Saudi Sheik whose credit card, listed as unlimited, was signed by Henry Kissinger.]

Oct 29, 2013

A very good insight into the royal Saudis' reckless display of wealth and money. With the amount the saudi women purchased they could have funded a small country. I liked the small twist of irony at the very end.

Aug 04, 2013

a glimpse of the wealth and contrast (from their life at home) in members of the Saudi royal family when they visit the US for a multi week stay in LA.

bookfanatic1979 Jun 11, 2013

A fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of what the Saudis are really all about. While I understand the feelings of desperation that led Larson to applying for and sticking with such a demanding job, I have a hard time sympathizing with anyone who frets over being able to afford the $18/lb organic ground beef. Necessities are differently defined by everyone, but I’m lucky if I can afford the Wal-Mart brand.

ChristchurchLib Mar 19, 2013

"An Ivy League-educated actress and film producer who worked as a chauffeur for members of the Saudi royal family during their visit to Beverly Hills describes her witness to their opulent lifestyle and the complications, contradictions, and corruptions that result from their wealth." March 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=613005


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