A Tale of Bust and Boom
By William Booth
LOS ANGELES -- The turtlenecked gurus of the literary canon be damned, for it has come to pass that the first novel by Pamela Anderson has attained its rightful place on the bestseller lists.
"Can you believe it?" This is Anderson herself, the auteur and publicity-shy recluse speaking via cellular telephone from somewhere in the hills of Malibu. "So for the rest of my life, in addition to everything else they say about me, I can be called the New York Times best-selling author." Her "Star: A Novel" is No. 13, just behind Stephen King's latest.
As Gustave Flaubert brought forth his Emma Bovary and Edith Wharton her Lily Bart, women loved and lost in cruel worlds, so Anderson has created Esther Wood Leigh, the can-do naif from the trailer parks of Arcady Key in windblown South Florida. Humbly known as "Star," she journeys from the wait staff at Mother Pearl's Steak and Oyster Emporium (baby tee: SHUCK ME, SUCK ME, EAT ME RAW) and Zax Beer posters to the glossy pages of Mann magazine, and then to the pinnacle of fortune and fame on the hit TV show "Lifeguards Inc."
And all along, Star is accompanied by her faithful companion(s), "a pair of unruly and self-willed nipples."
Kafka had his fantastical cockroach, but that was kind of weird. Anderson employs similar technique, but better, bestowing upon Star's mammary glands an animate independence. They're aaaaalive! Her breasts, a character in themselves, make their first inauspicious appearance on Page 3 as mere "lumps," but that is just foreshadowing the adventures these two have. "Her breasts," Anderson writes in "Star," "came on suddenly and tenaciously, as if trying to make up for lost time."
Oh, the humanity. The breasts are ogled , massaged, tweaked, harassed and worshiped. But what they're really searching for is . . . love.
In one harrowing scene (which Anderson leavens with lots of "giggling"), the twins are surgically enhanced with silicone.
This was no easy decision to make. As Teresa, Star's best friend from her Arcady Key days, tells her, with that here-it-comes tone, "You know, you got a pretty great set. It took you long enough, but there they are. They got you the job at Mother's. They got you the standing ovation at the Dolphins game. They got you the job with Zax. And they got you the cover of Mann magazine. What makes you think you need more?'' But Star, willful filly, does need more. She gets the implants. Why? Oh, gentle reader, "for confidence," of course.
Pamela Anderson breaks new ground in other ways. For one, she didn't actually "write" her novel, in the traditional meaning of the term. Writing is so 20th century. What Anderson and publisher Simon & Schuster's Atria Books did was hire another writer to write the novel with her.
"I know how to write a column," Anderson says of her dots-and-dashes work for Jane magazine. "But a book? Like chapters, how many pages are in a chapter? How many chapters in a book? I needed some guidance."
Anderson explains, too, that she didn't want to be burdened by a lot of work. She's a busy mom. She's got a new clothing line. She's down with charities for PETA and Hepatitis C, which she suffers from. So every Friday, while little Brandon, 8, and Dylan, 6 (father: Tommy Lee), were at school, Eric Shaw Quinn (author of "Say Uncle," about a gay uncle who raises an orphan), would come by the house.
"He's fantastic," Anderson says. "Sometimes I feel like a gay man trapped in this body, and he said, well, that's the body a gay man would choose!"
The two, how they laughed and laughed. "Sometimes until we almost vomited," Anderson admits.
This kind of writing needed fuel, so Anderson hired a chef for their Friday noonish sessions. "He'd spoil us," she says. The novelist would dash off pages on her legal pad, with Quinn whipping the lash for more sexy scenes.
To wit: "Star, this is Bambina. We were just talking and she's got implants, too. But I don't think they feel the same as yours do. Here, feel, he said, taking her hand and placing it on Bambina's breast."
Anyway, then Quinn would go away for a week and type them up in his computer, adding things like structure, narrative, details, dialogue, commas and periods.
For seven whole months.
So, doing the math, seven months, every Friday, multiply seven times four -- that's a 294-page novel in 28 days. It is almost awesome to contemplate what could have been accomplished in 33 days.
But the roman à clef, Anderson stresses, is all Pamela. "If you read the book, you know he got my voice," she says. "He did a lot of work. Obviously, he typed the whole thing out, but you can tell these are my stories. It was a collaboration. But he really knew how to put it together with a beginning, middle and an end."
Anderson, 37, from British Columbia, was a waitress before being discovered by Playboy while wearing a tight tee on a Jumbotron at a football game, made a splash in the magazine, was hired as the Tool Time Girl on Tim Allen's TV show "Home Improvement," went on to "Baywatch," married rocker Tommy Lee and did a little video about their honeymoon.
Or, as her publicists put it, a novel "that goes well beyond the cliched air-kisses and casting couches of Hollywood to show what really happens when A-list meets D-cup."
Anderson is asked about her literary inspiration. "I don't read novels," she says. She prefers books about dreams, past lives and elves.
When asked about Joan Collins as a role model for the model-actress turned novelist, Anderson demurs. Not. Really. Sure. Who. What? It doesn't matter. Quinn put a Collins reference in the book.
Anyway, Anderson is "very happy. I don't get good reviews for anything. I'm getting a real kick out of it." The Internet bookseller Amazon.com called her novel "funny, sexy, utterly compelling."
As Anderson sees it, "you can either read it on the beach or the toilet. It's not like it's a difficult read."
Or is it?
Stay tuned, Anderson and Quinn are busy on the sequel, "Star Struck." They plan on writing this next one even faster.
Pamela Anderson, author. The actress' novel is not about her -- so she says.
Aidin Vaziri, Chronicle Pop Music Critic
Pamela Anderson didn't have to go on some inane reality show to become an overnight celebrity. She did it the old-school way -- by jumping into bed with Hollywood sleaze, stripping down for Playboy and even starring on a television show alongside David Hasselhoff, knowing full well his career was in the Dumpster without a talking black Trans Am by his side.
So it makes perfect sense that she has written a book about it. Not that Anderson is making any pretense of actually having come up with the words that produce her literary debut, "Star: A Novel" (That would be the work of the book's not-so-secret ghostwriter, Eric Shaw Quinn). Nor does she specifically say it is about her life, which is a little confusing.
Sitting with Quinn in a New York airport waiting for a cross-country flight, Anderson says by phone that the book is just the fictional story of a young girl named Star Wood Leigh who happens to go through a lot of the same things the 37-year-old Canadian-born actress did on her way to the top of the tabloid heap.
If some super genius computer expert took the time to scramble the letters around in their names, they might even spell the same thing. Or vice versa. Or not.
"I thought it would be more fun to write fiction," Anderson says, a glistening eruption of platinum blonde hair and pink lips. "I just thought it would give me license to be really creative and fun and do something really different. And this way, I don't hurt anybody's feelings."
Some of it is hopelessly transparent.
The shapely bombshell in the book is discovered on the Jumbotron at a Miami Dolphins game, poses for Mann magazine and gets her big break on a television show called "Lifeguards Inc."
The shapely bombshell in real life got discovered on the Jumbotron at a British Columbia Lions game, posed for Playboy magazine and got her break on a television show called "Baywatch."
But considering the genuine Anderson, whose most recent boyfriend was rocker Kid Rock, had genuine relationships with the Sunset Strip bottom- feeders like Tommy Lee, Poison singer Bret Michaels and former "Happy Days" star Scott Baio, it's easy to see why she didn't want to use any real names in print. No one in their right mind would want to immortalize sharing a bed with Chachi.
"I think this is even more revealing than writing a real biography because this way people get to know my personality better," she says.
To promote the book, Anderson is making several in-store appearances with Quinn at her side. She calls the shy author her new best friend. "Eric is really upset that he's getting spoilt this way," she says about her dumpy, decidedly un-rock 'n' roll writing partner.
The day before, the duo faced hundreds of fans at the Barnes & Noble store in Rockefeller Center. Quinn, whose previous writing credit is a book called "Say Uncle," a book about a gay man fighting for custody of his nephew,
could not stop smiling.
"This is not a usual book tour, is it?" she says to Quinn.
Beautiful and charming, Anderson undoubtedly has many talents. But even with everything she's been through, a novel like "Star" doesn't seem like the most obvious way to share her story.
An "E! Hollywood True Story"? Sure. A VH1 special interspersed with clips of the pornographic home movies? OK.
"Well, I like to live this way," she laughs. "I like to be spontaneous."
Anderson says most of the writing took place on Friday afternoons, after she dropped her two sons, Brandon and Dylan from her marriage to Lee, off at school. She would pull out a big yellow note pad and start scribbling down bits and pieces of the story, then handing off each page to Quinn so he could turn it into something readable. One suspects these original drafts are probably a thousand times more entertaining than the stuff that actually made it into the book.
Quinn, in fact, says his main job was to tone down whatever Anderson had written.
"I wanted it to be suggestive and sexy but not too sexual," Anderson says. "That was part of my thing because the editor definitely wanted more sex in the book. She said she was the only editor that had to include batteries on her expense report."
The provocative cover of the book, meanwhile, in which Anderson looks something like a discarded Barbie doll, was shot by famed photographer David LaChapelle months before the book's actual completion.
"We were talking about the cover, and I said, 'Didn't I just do a picture of me covered in stars lying on really bad shag carpet with terrible white shoes, looking out of my mind with a ghetto blaster?' " she recalls. "Because that's Star. That's me. So it worked out perfectly.
"This whole experience has been like that. Everything's fallen into place. "
Anderson says she had so much fun writing this novel that a second one is already on the way, tentatively titled "Star Struck."
"I loved it," she says. "I remember my first plane ride. I remember coming to L.A. for the first time. Reliving all that and seeing where I was and where I've come to was kind of nice. It was humbling, too. I remember being so overwhelmed by everything." She sighs.
"It was really good for me to do."
IT'S PAM'S TALE
By CHOIRE SICHA
22, 2004 --
THINLY disquised" doesn't begin to describe "Star," the first novel by the actress and breast-implant enthusiast Pamela Anderson. Try this on for size: A small-town girl in a tight T-shirt is discovered at a sports arena and jets off to Los Angeles to be photographed for a nudie magazine. She becomes a fag hag, gets a role on a television show as a lifeguard and sleeps with very nearly everyone she meets. That's our Pam!
Of course, the sex in the book comes fast and furious - sometimes so fast and furious that the sexual escapades of the plot are interrupted by even more sex. When our Pamela stand-in, Star, arrives in L.A., a horny big-shot producer gives her his extra mansion for a temporary residence. She arrives, explores the house, meets the mechanic in the garage and immediately does him in the backseat of the Bentley. This, of course, is totally awesome.
The book interestingly arrives on the heels of the paperback release of Traci Lords' memoir, "Underneath It All." Both "Star" and Traci include a bisexual orgy in a pool, for starters. Each battled with the after-effects of rape at an early age. Also, each put things on video she probably shouldn't have. The underage Lords, of course, had the oddity of having nearly all of her hard-core work confiscated by the federal government. Anderson, on the other hand, chose to proudly ride out the firestorm of starring in the biggest celebrity sex tape of our time.
And that's the essence of Pamela Anderson - she is the id of Hollywood. Star, her stand-in, even does it under the Hollywood sign.
At the end of "Star," our bouncing babe surprises her rock-star lover on tour in Dallas. Naturally, an all-out orgy is taking place in his hotel suite. She joins in the abandon but realizes that the scene is just too much for her: "She liked a la carte and he liked the buffet." She vows never to see him again.
What's so fantastic about Pamela Anderson is this: She's a blow-up doll, but an intelligent, funny, self-respecting one. And through this ghost-written novelization, she gets to explicate her philosophy of libidinous self-acceptance and self-esteem through commerce. She even gets to meditate on self-help through breast augmentation. With "Star," Pamela Anderson declares herself as the Jean-Paul Sartre of the tabloid generation
Choire Sicha is the editorial director of Gawker Media.
The New Zealand Herald
Pamela Anderson turns novelist
By SHOLTO BYRNES
It's noon outside the Barnes & Noble book store in the Rockefeller Centre, New York, and a queue stretches down 48th St from Fifth Avenue all the way to the Avenue of the Americas.
An elderly couple pause in front of the store. "What's going on?" asks the wife, a diminutive, myopic woman.
She spots the poster in the window nearest the door. "Is Tommy Franks here today?" The retired general smiling back at her is not on hand to sign copies of his autobiography. "It's Pamela Anderson," replies her husband, an ox of a man who's a good head and shoulders taller than his spouse.
His wife looks blank. "Pamela Anderson," he repeats, loud enough for passers-by to turn their heads. "She's got these breasts," he explains, his hands circling outwards as though to sketch the outline of two enormous watermelons. "She's famous."
Over in the press queue tempers are rising as a newcomer fails to respect the order already established. "Hey!" calls out one photographer to a visibly stressed co-ordinator. "Don't let him go to the front. We're here, we were first. Don't go there, buddy," he warns.
To be fair to Anderson, this is an important day for her. She is making her literary debut with Star: a novel, which the publicity material announces is, "a breathless romp through Tinseltown and tabloids" that "goes well beyond the cliched air-kisses and casting couches of Hollywood to show what really happens when A-list meets D-cup, when girl becomes goddess".
Those waiting for Anderson to turn up for the book-signing clutch their copies of Star, the title of which is framed by a pink star on the front cover. It, and other, smaller stars, also preserve the modesty of the author, whose full-length form, naked apart from a pair of tasteful white stilettos, adorns the dust jacket. The image is repeated inside with the main star omitted so the author's breasts can be admired in all their rock-hard glory.
Even an actress as respected as Anderson is for her versatility, her modesty, her outstanding interpretation of challenging roles, is entitled to worry about the critical reaction to her first book. Can she transfer the talents she displayed as CJ in Baywatch to a different artistic genre? Will the success of her film Barb Wire be matched in the literary field? Dare one mention the Pulitzer Prize? The Prix Goncourt?
Eventually a cheer goes up. Anderson has arrived at the 48th St entrance, and a crowd blocks traffic as she and her entourage step out of a limousine. Police push the crowd back as it surges toward the object of its fascination, who flashes a smile, and is gone in a cloud of platinum-blond hair.
Inside, when the press are finally allowed into the pen, staff keep strict order. Two lines of photographers get five minutes to snap the author in a hot-pink halter top, matching clutch purse (and toenail varnish), faded blue jeans, and, excitingly, what look like the same stilettos she's wearing on the dust jacket.
Her ghostwriter, Eric Shaw Quinn, sits behind the table next to her. But no one seems too interested in him. At one point, Anderson, by now standing, playfully holds a copy of the novel in front of Quinn's face. Twenty cameras instantly record a picture of the headless man, who takes it in good grace.
Larry, who works for a celebrity picture agency, tries to set up before his time. "Don't spoil it for the rest of us, Larry," calls one snapper. He doesn't have to worry. A staff member is on Larry's case. "If you try to take even one picture, you're outta here!" Larry puts his camera down.
Then there is a murmur from the photographers at the front. We can see another platinum-blond head. It is Victoria Gotti, daughter of John Gotti, the late Mafia boss known as "the Dapper Don". Gotti, who looks far more plastic even than Anderson - and rather scary, too - is starring in Growing Up Gotti, a new "real-life" series featuring her, her three sons and their Long Island mansion.
She is, appropriately enough given the title of Anderson's novel, the editor-at-large of a celebrity news journal called Star Magazine.
I am told firmly that Anderson is giving no interviews. With no chance to speak to her, I try to observe from as close up as I can. Her makeup is thick, her nose more snubbed than one imagines, a posed smile stuck rigidly to her lips. I can't help focusing rather more than is polite on her breasts. Actually, given the fame they have brought her, perhaps it's impolite not to examine them; it would be like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids, or Paris and not popping into the Louvre.
They are indeed wondrous, in size at any rate. But not particularly sexy. They look a little too hard, like the arches on an overinflated air bed, and possibly as uncomfortable to rest one's head on.
When we finally make our way into the inner sanctum we have our bags taken, and are told firmly not to ask the books to be personalised. She is busy talking to one of her people while she scrawls "Pamela" with a top-heavy "P" that encircles the rest of her name.
Outside, crowds are gathering again to catch Anderson on her way out. Her limo is late, but the celebrity bodyguard Chuck Zito strolls out and joshes with the crowd.
Afterwards, I read the novel. The main character, Star Wood Leigh, appears in a TV show about lifeguards, meets a rock star who introduces himself by licking her face (as Tommy Lee did), and sleeps with a procession of men - I count 12 in the book, not including "extras" in the orgy scenes.
It also features some memorable lines.
Early on, Star experiences, "a spider sense that something was missing, like that feeling you get when you stand looking into the refrigerator, not really hungry, but unable to stop looking. The feeling that this time it might be there, right behind the ketchup and the pickled beets". Star also displays an unusual lack of awareness of the world. When a blimp field is pointed out to her, she says: "Blimps grow in fields?"
To her fans, such prose borders on the genius. A fan who reviewed her book writes: "I was moved by her ability to aptly and with heartfelt emotion give the reader such an honest and inspiring message. Five out of five stars barely justifies the almost poetic merit that this piece delivers."
A star is born
in silicone valley
There's something fake about Star, Pamela Anderson's 'novelisation' of her own life, says Jamie Doward
Sunday November 7, 2004
by Pamela Anderson
Simon & Schuster £12.99, pp304
Star is described by the world's most recognised blonde as a 'novelisation' of her life and Pamela Anderson's first foray into literature certainly reads like her hastily sketched autobiography. It is big on Pammy's sanitised softer side: her pets; her gay friends; her favourite grandpa. It is short on the nastier bits you might want to read: the plastic surgery; the fights with bad boy rocker Tommy Lee; her battle with Hep C.
A waitress doing a second job in a hair salon to make ends meet, Star is discovered by talent scouts after appearing on a giant screen at a football match. Her rise is inexorable. Soon, she is on the front of every men's monthly, wearing little more than a smile.
Star becomes the pneumatic temptress of a popular TV series, Lifeguards Inc, where her offscreen dalliances with co-stars result in the film crew attaching a sign to her trailer: 'If this trailer's rocking, don't come knocking.'
Actually, there is not that much sex in Star, and some of it is stultifying: 'Then they changed places and she went down on Michael with the young man inside her'; some of it borders on the anatomical: 'The strange feel of his erection in her hand, flesh like velour wrapped around a bird bone.'
Star's social climb reads like a dark fairy tale, as if Cinderella hit the big time by working at a clip joint. Anyone can become ubiquitous, it appears. You just need dollops of silicone and a load of attitude from the wrong side of the tracks.
The Cinderella analogy works only so far. Star is more Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Star, like Tess, has succeeded due to her body and her mesmeric hold over men. The question is will Star/Pammy go the way of poor Tess? Unlikely. Anderson is cleverly cashing in until gravity does its worst.
given her commitments, Anderson didn't actually write the book. Eric Shaw Quinn
is credited on the inside of the jacket as the wordsmith. The woman with the
most famous fake breasts in the world is also a fake author. But should we
expect more? Synthetic, saccharine and sexualised, Star is more than a
novelisation of Pammy's life.
It is Pammy.
Last modified: August 14. 2004 5:14AM
Pamela Anderson publishes first novel with help from ghostwriter
DERRIK J. LANG
NEW YORK (AP) - Pamela Anderson has a new best friend: her ghostwriter.
The 37-year-old model-actress added novelist to her resume recently with the release of Star, published by Atria Books. But the former Baywatch babe didn't do it alone.
"The first meeting we knew it was magic," Anderson told The Associated Press about her not-so-invisible ghostwriter Eric Shaw Quinn.
Anderson and Quinn were introduced by Anderson's publisher after she decided not to write an autobiography, opting for a fictionalized version of her life filled with not-so-subtle coincidences.
A few examples: Anderson's textual counterpart Star Wood Leigh is discovered on the jumbotron at a Miami Dolphins game. Anderson -- originally from Ladysmith, B.C. -- was discovered on the jumbotron at a British Columbia Lions game.
Star posed for Mann magazine. Anderson took it off for Playboy. Star slept with rockers and Hollywood-types. Anderson did that, too.
Quinn sat side-by-side Monday with Anderson at a book signing at the Barnes and Noble store in New York's Rockefeller Center. Anderson twirled for dozens of photographers and signed books for hundreds of fans. Quinn seemed just happy to be there.
"This is my ghostwriter," Anderson yelled to the photographers. "Don't tell anybody!"
Anderson, who writes a column for Jane magazine, took seven months to create Star. The mother of two sons, Brandon and Dylan, from her marriage to former Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee, wrote the novel on a yellow legal pad while Quinn put everything together on a computer.
"We just had fun," Anderson said. "It was so natural. There wasn't one disagreement. Nothing. Now we're just two peas in a pod. Or two nuts in a shell."
How did the duo tackle the book's steamy sex scenes, based on Anderson's real-life flings with celebrities such as Scott Baio, Bret Michaels and Kid Rock?
"Eric would say, 'OK Pamela, write some sex,"' Anderson said. "Then, he'd look at what I wrote and we tried to keep it serious. But then we just laughed. He's not shy or modest."
Neither is Anderson. She appears on the novel's cover nude, with her Star logo covering her physical assets.
"I'm naked, covered in pink and stars ... looking like I'm out of my mind," she said.
Anderson and Quinn have already begun work on the sequel.
"What are we calling it?" she asked Quinn, who sat by her side in the back of limo en route to another a book signing.
"Star Struck," Anderson squealed.
Aug. 18, 2004. 06:41 AM
Only good when it's bad
Sex scenes redeem Anderson's book
Heroine should be nastier than this
By Pamela Anderson
Simon & Schuster, 294 pages, $35
Sooner or later, every blond bombshell decides to show the world she is more than the sum of her magnificent parts: Marilyn Monroe studied with Lee Strasberg; Jayne Mansfield recorded herself reading Shakespeare; Mamie Van Doren composed fierce feminist critiques about the film industry; and Farrah Fawcett slathered herself in battered-woman makeup and immolated her film husband in The Burning Bed.
And Pamela Anderson, Canada's greatest export, has recently published a novel that, according to her website, "book critics around the world are fawning over." Entitled Star and fantastically wrapped in a dust-jacket that doubles as a free pinup, the novel is allegedly a roman à clef, but only the most inept if not blind reader would require a key to this scantily disguised memoir.
The novel's protagonist, Star Wood Leigh, we determine in the first chapter, "Don't Stop Believing" one of the many gestures to horrible music throughout the book is not "the prettiest" girl around, but she "just naturally attract(s) extra attention."
Star is working at a Miami nail salon and a Hooters-like bar (where the waitresses promote oysters in skin-tight "SHUCK ME, SUCK ME, EAT ME RAW" T-shirts) while trying to earn enough money to study cosmetology, when she attracts the attention of Mann magazine. She is whisked off to L.A. and, before you can say "saline implants," is dating a former TV star (Scott Baio disguised as "Vince Piccolo") and appearing in TV shows entitled Hammer Time and Lifeguards, as well as gracing the cover of the Informer.
Although Star is being promoted as Anderson's book (her credentials include a recent spate of advice columns and a reading list on her website that ranges from Hemingway to Alice Miller), it was ghost-written by Eric Shaw Quinn, who appears with her in the author shot, looking more than a little thrilled at his good fortune.
As a diehard Pam devotee I envied Quinn's job, giving shape and structure to stacks of her late-night scribbling and even though Star is a truly awful book, reading it and imagining the ridiculous nature of its composition is still far greater fun than, well, Hemingway and Alice Miller.
Star fails as a novel because of its convoluted plot (absurdly, as the story is so familiar), its leaden prose, and, most critically, the forced adorableness of the heroine, who is meant to come off like one of Anita Loos' shrewd airheads (after her first plane trip, Star claims she cannot find the luggage carousel because there aren't any horses). This strategy fails, as Star a stray-mongrel-hugging, male-victimized beam of sunshine who dances through her passage from "girl to goddess" is, unfortunately, a likely projection of who Pam Anderson really is, and an unlikely representation of all the cunningly trampy things she represents.
I am sure that deep down, Anderson is a nice small-town girl whose heart bleeds for roadkill and who is able to laugh at her overblown public image. But there is no denying the steely will that made her an amateur-porn starlet and one of the very few women who is famous for being famous. More to the point, tarts-with-hearts-of-gold stories seem impossibly retro in this day and age: Under the aegis of fiction, Anderson and Quinn could have cooked up a riveting, haute Showgirls account of an innocent-yet-scheming babe who claws her way to the top by kicking others down on her way.
Star's guess-who? game is a bore for its obviousness (Home Improvement's Tim Allen, for example is named "Allen"), and because Anderson's taste in men has always been so deeply disturbing, one is not inclined to guess the identity of her various, pre-Tommy Lee paramours.
But if the Pollyanna-in-Hollywood story is banal, Star redeems itself by virtue of a few staggering sex scenes that are too lurid to repeat here, and which will cause many male readers to cross their legs while consuming the book. Epicene and obscene, these all-too-fleeting dirty bits recall the bad old days of commercial soft-core porn, those Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins books that made up for what they lacked in style for a substantial sequence of literary money-shots.
A colleague of mine asked to borrow my copy of the book, as all the straight men in her office absconded with their press copies, and I am sure they won't be disappointed by the grotto-side bacchanalia in the Playboy Mansion (or the "Mann Castle" as it referred to here); by the rock-star orgy sequence, described, accurately, as a scene of "complete and total abandon."
When Star Wood Leigh is sexual, the book sparks. Her bisexual experimentation, 9 1/2 Weeks-style role-play and skill with melted chocolate are recounted shamelessly, and it is this kind of carnal joy which has always defined Anderson that is woefully missing from the rest of the book. Star had a beloved grandfather and a mean boyfriend? Who cares? The entirety of the book should have been an artless return to the adventures of Little Annie Fanny, the book itself sealed in stain-proof plastic.
In one of the very few genuinely touching scenes in the novel, Star speaks to her mother who informs her that her dog Mutley, who pines for her, has taken to piling her clothes together and sleeping on them.
This scene is best viewed as an editorial note to Anderson and Quinn: Like the damned dog, all we want from Anderson is to curl up with the essence of who she is everything else is just noise and vacancy.
ends just as the bubble-bath-soaking
protagonist is contemplating going on a date with Tommy Lee, or "Jimi Deed," and
so a sequel is clearly in the making. If Anderson wises up and shoots us some
filthy context for her and her ex-husband's now-immortalized sordid times, it
will be worth waiting for. Should she decide that her hepatitis and motherhood
are of equal interest, readers are well advised to return to their collection of
Playboys and create their own narratives about our hottest living
By Daniel P. Finney
Of the Post-Dispatch
By Pamela Anderson
Published by Atria Books, 294 pages, $24
First of all, Pamela Anderson's
new novel, "Star," is not - repeat not - a picture book.
OK, there's a special foldout cover of the former "Baywatch" babe and 12-time Playboy magazine cover girl in which the naughty bits are covered by, of course, stars.
But, really, one could find something more racy on the Internet just by typing Pamela Anderson into Google. Or so we've heard. We wouldn't do such a thing - especially at the office - because it would be wrong.
Second, this review was assigned to this male reporter by his female boss. He's considering it an early Christmas bonus.
And, finally, the book isn't bad.
Oh, it's not great, either. Anderson, God bless her, doesn't take herself seriously as an author, admitting that much of it was penned by ghostwriter Eric Shaw Quinn. "Star" may be the first work of fiction written by a ghostwriter. Then again, this may be the first book published entirely because of the size of the author's chest.
"Star" is a roman de clef - a fiction book that bares a striking resemblance to reality. (Anderson has admitted that she doesn't know what that means.)
Star, the, ahem, star of "Star," is a young cocktail waitress at a Hooters-like restaurant in Miami who gets discovered by Mann Magazine after appearing on a giant stadium TV screen wearing a tight T-shirt advertising beer.
Anderson was a waitress from British Columbia who was discovered by Playboy magazine after appearing on a giant stadium TV screen at a football game while she wore a tight T-shirt advertising beer.
Star goes on to a recurring role on a hot new comedy called "Home Imp -," um, we mean "Hammer Time," and then a beach rescue show named "Baywa-" no, wait that's "Lifeguards, Inc." Along the way there are descriptions of orgies at the Playboy Mans - er, Mann Castle, that will cause eyeballs to sweat, and she even hooks up with a famous musician.
"Star" is essentially a Danielle Steel novel without all the silly stuff about feelings and relationships - a romance-sex book for men without the flowery metaphors for intercourse.
Just like watching a TV show staring Anderson, or "reading" a magazine with her on the cover, reading her novel is a delightful guilty pleasure.
July 24, 2002 Posted: 2:42 PM EDT (1842 GMT)
From "Baywatch" to Playboy, Pamela Anderson has gotten the kind of exposure most celebrities can only dream of. But the TV star has also battled demons in her personal life -- a potentially deadly disease, a child custody battle and troublesome romantic relationships.
She's taking on a new project, writing a column for Jane magazine called "Pam, Honestly." Her first column appears in the August issue.
In an interview Tuesday on CNN's "Larry King Live," Anderson said the column is her unedited "ramblings" about personal experiences. She also discussed some of her struggles and hopes for the future. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.
KING: Why are you going to [write the column for Jane]?
ANDERSON: Well, it kind of came out of I was upset a little bit about this article that came out. And so [editor Jane Pratt and I] were e-mailing each other back and forth, and she liked what we were saying. And ... she said, "What can I do to rectify this? We love you, everyone loves you, my readers love you." And I said, "You know what, I want my own column. I don't want to be taken out of context anymore."
KING: What did they write about you that ticked you off?
ANDERSON: Well, it just came off very harsh. It came off very harsh. It was about some of the custody things that were going on at the time.
KING: So, in your column -- is it your column? Are you answering letters?
ANDERSON: It's rambling. I'm rambling. It's my own words, and it's just -- we're talking about different subjects, and I'm just drawing from experience and personal history.
KING: A new phase of your life?
ANDERSON: I think so. This is definitely a new phase of my life. I'm going through a good, healthy transition.
KING: Did you want to be an actress?
ANDERSON: No, no, and I still don't. And I'm not an actress. I don't think I am an actress. I think I've created a brand and a business.
KING: What do you want to be when you grow up, Pam?
ANDERSON: I just keep saying I want to grow up and be a stripper. But that's probably not very good.
KING: You have a business though, right?
ANDERSON: Yes. I have a business that I've -- just exploiting a brand that I've created worldwide.
KING: I see. And that's your prime interest?
ANDERSON: And that is my prime interest -- besides my obviously dating Bob [musician Robert Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock].
KING: And we're going to get to motherhood. You never wanted to be an actress?
ANDERSON: No, I didn't.
KING: So the "Baywatch" thing was for laughs?
ANDERSON: Well, you know, it just fell into my lap really. It was a lot of hard work, and once I got into it, I liked really building a character and a persona. And I started having fun with it, and I realized this is really a business and the joke isn't on me anymore. The joke is kind of, ha-ha, on you. And that's how "VIP" came about, just poking fun at the image.
KING: How long were you on that show?
ANDERSON: I did five seasons of "Baywatch," and I did four seasons of "VIP." I've been around awhile.
KING: How serious is [your relationship] with Kid Rock?
ANDERSON: I could say right now we're in the trenches, right. We're just working on things.
KING: You care for each other a lot?
ANDERSON: Oh, yes. We love each other very much. But it's a difficult life, a difficult life. And I want what's best for my kids. And he has a son.
KING: Did your first experience, maybe, with Tommy Lee scare you off others?
ANDERSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm still scared to death. Are you kidding? And I need to resolve a lot of issues with that, I think, before I can really move on and have another serious commitment.
KING: Why do you think, Pamela, you were -- tend to be and have been victimized?
ANDERSON: Well, you know, I grew up in a very -- in an alcoholic home, and there was violence in my household. And I think it's just my model of a relationship. And when I've gotten into any kind of relationships, it just seems to -- you re-create the pattern even though you say you're never, ever going to do that, you're never going to have the same relationship.
My poor mom is -- she's still with my father. My father is a great grandfather. He's a wonderful grandfather, but he's a terrible husband. And my mom still suffers because she's -- it is verbal abuse. It used to be physical abuse. And it's just sad to see.
I came from that, and I've just somehow been re-creating that in my life but to a lesser degree. I think I'm doing better. I think there are issues obviously I need to resolve in myself before I can, you know, move into a real healthy ...
KING: How many relationships have you been in, would you say, where you have been abused?
ANDERSON: Well, one -- well, I mean, a couple. My first relationship was very violent.
KING: Why don't -- men don't understand this, so I'm going to ask it simply. The first time you're struck, why aren't you gone?
ANDERSON: Well, I think the first thing you lose in an abusive relationship is your self-worth. And I think it is really difficult to leave a relationship when you feel like nothing and you've already been so belittled because it starts with verbal abuse. It starts with really demeaning somebody.
And by the time it gets to physical abuse, you really have no strength to leave. You feel like this is the only person that's going to be with you because they keep telling you that you're ugly, you're not -- you're stupid. You're all these different things.
KING: Yes, but you can't look in the mirror and believe that?
ANDERSON: Yes, you can. Of course you can.
The only person you want to be admired by really is the person that you're in love with. I mean, you want admiration from other people, but, you know, it is so important and so destructive when you lose your self-esteem.
I eventually have gotten out of it. I have gotten out of it.
KING: But it's not easy.
ANDERSON: It's not easy. No. The hardest thing I ever had to do was go through [what] I went through. What gave me the strength really is my children.
KING: OK: hepatitis C. When were you diagnosed -- how do you deal with it?
ANDERSON: How do you deal with it? Well, when I first was diagnosed, I thought obviously I was dying. When I first -- well, actually, my doctor told me, "You know this little glitch in your blood work? You have hepatitis C." And I said, "OK, how do I get rid of it?" And he said, "You can't."
KING: How long ago was this?
ANDERSON: Just over a year ago.
KING: What symptoms did you have?
ANDERSON: I didn't really have any symptoms. That's the whole problem.
KING: It was just a checkup?
ANDERSON: Yes, it was just a checkup, the regular checkup. And I had all my blood work done. It was, you know, for a movie. And you had to get checkups when you do movies for insurance reasons. And that's, I think, how it came about.
And then I started reading about it and realized that there's no cure and that, you know, there's liver transplants, liver cancer, psoriasis, all this kind of stuff going on and it just scared me. I thought -- you start facing your own mortality, you start realizing that you might die. Now I realize that there's actually a cure for it.
KING: Which is?
ANDERSON: Interferon with these other [drugs] ...
KING: That's a tough drug, though -- side effects.
ANDERSON: There's lots of side effects. And I'm thinking of doing it in December. It's going to be a year of basically having the flu. Your hair falls out. It's a little kind of chemotherapy kind of -- throwing up.
KING: You've got to do it though.
ANDERSON: I want to do it for my kids because I don't want to die basically.
But I did have a liver biopsy. And a liver is rated from zero to four. Four is cirrhosis, cancer, you know, and liver transplant. My liver is -- and a healthy liver is zero. So I'm a one.
And they said it's a miracle that my liver is as healthy as it is. And they said keep doing what you're doing, you're taking good care of yourself. And I'm vegetarian. I look after myself. I don't drink that much. And definitely now my doctor said, "No drinking at all, as your doctor; but as your friend, you can have a glass of red wine every once in a while."
KING: Do you know what caused it?
ANDERSON: I do know what caused it. I know that when my doctor told me that when I was first married that we had a full physical -- Tommy and I had a physical when we came back from Cancun after we were married. And he had told Tommy that he has hepatitis C, and he has to disclose this to me. You know, it's the only thing he should do.
KING: He never told you?
ANDERSON: And he never told me, even though he told the doctor that he did tell me.
Then the only thing I can think of is when we shared a needle getting a tattoo. And then when I came back from there a while ago I talked to my doctor and my doctor said, "Well, you have this in your blood work, and you know how you got it."
And I said, no. And he goes, "Well, your husband didn't tell you that he has hepatitis C?" And I said, "No, he didn't tell me that." And he said, "Well, he told me that he told you that." So he felt like he could talk to me about it. And I said, "No, he never said it." So he never told me.
So that's how he believed that I got hepatitis C.
KING: Did you confront Tommy Lee about why he did not tell you?
KING: And what did he say?
ANDERSON: "I don't have it." He was in denial about it, even though my doctor tells me he does have it, and he has told people when we had our evaluation done, that he does have it. But it's just a public perception thing.
KING: So he's not being treated?
ANDERSON: No, he will not admit that he even has it hardly.
It's just -- you have to be treated. And the reason you have to be treated, or the reason you should be tested if you think you fall into any of the categories, any of the reasons you can get it, is because we want to stop the spread of the disease because there are simple things you can do: You don't share razors; you don't share toothbrushes; you don't share needles obviously.
KING: Are you writing about this?
ANDERSON: Yes, we're writing about all this. And there are simple ways that you cannot infect other people. And people that are living in denial about it or are not willing to get tested are spreading the disease. And it's just one in four -- one in 20 Americans have hepatitis C that we know about.
KING: Do you worry about future children?
ANDERSON: Yes, I do, and that's why I want to make sure that I've, you know, I've taken care of -- I'm going to go through the treatment.
You know who I actually saw on your show was Naomi Judd. And I called Naomi and I talked to her, and she's a wonderful mentor for me, and she's been wonderful.
She's a great lady. She's got a great heart, and she's been really helpful, and she's like, I can fight this now, and I'll win and I won't have it anymore, and then I'll think of other children. But I really do believe that it's not going to take me down. I'm too healthy.
KING: The interferon starts when?
ANDERSON: I think I'm going to start in December.
KING: Why not tomorrow?
ANDERSON: Well, right now, I mean, I'm at home with my kids, and I'm just me. I don't have a nanny. I don't have any help in my home. And I like to just be hands-on with my kids. And this is going to be a real blow. I need to really set up my life so I have help and, you know, when they're back in school, it's over the summer.
And I just want to figure out a way to make it easy on everybody. But I have to -- it takes planning. It takes planning.
KING: By the way, there is -- if you want information and a free test of hepatitis, whether you might have it, call 1-888-4HEPUSA. That's [1-888-443-7872]. Pamela is involved with that group, right?
Are you [a role model]?
ANDERSON: Well, I think unfortunately celebrities get thrown into role model situations, and you think about marriage, how marriage is 58 percent divorce rate right now, and we don't really have a lot of good family role models anymore. I think that's what's most important is our family and our parenting skills and keeping our families together.
That's where all of our problems start, and that's where all the solutions start, too. And I think when you're looking at a celebrity couple, when you're at -- I mean, it's even higher divorce rate, when it comes to high-profile people, because it's who knows, getting married for the wrong reasons, whatever it is.
So I feel like I can be a good role model as a mother because I love being a mom and I have great advice for everybody when it comes to mothering. I have terrible advice for relationships. I can't follow that myself.
But being a role model in that I'm a free spirit, and that I've done what I've wanted. I'm self-made. I've created my own career in my life, and I've had a lot of fun doing it. I think that's good.
190pp, Simon and Schuster, £12.99
Tommy get laid
Victoria Lane reviews Star Struck by Pamela Anderson.
This is the sizzling sequel to Pamela Anderson's first novel, Star, which told what happens when "A-list meets D-cup". Any resemblance to actual people living or dead is purely coincidental, but, reading Star Struck, it is hard not to squint and see Pammie in the role of her heroine, Star Wood Leigh, and her ex-spouse Tommy
Lee as Jimi Deed, Star's hellraiser husband. Star is the star of a beachside drama, Lifeguards, Inc, while Jimi is a hard-core rocker. And Anderson is on the cover, photographed in the buff by her friend David LaChappelle.
The novel starts as it means to go on: "Why do my nipples hurt? was Star's first thought as she woke from a strangely deep sleep, her hands gliding along her naked body to the tender nipples that had awakened her." Next she hits herself in the head with a gun she hadn't realised she was holding, even when her hands were gliding along her naked body. There are lines of cocaine on the table: "How odd, Star reflected. I don't do drugs."
All in her own good time, she notices that there is a man tied up in her bed. This is Jimi, whom it turns out she has married and who will now reveal to her, in omniscient flashback, the events of the last three days.
Much of the time the book seems to be a roman à clef about the celebrity couple Pammie and Tommy, who were always making headlines because of their brawls with paparazzi and their stolen home sex videos and, as far as this goes, it is a page-turner. But it is also a celebrity's revenge, with its subplot in which Star and Jimi kill off photographers who get too close.
It is the writer's greatest challenge to create a halfway sympathetic anti-hero, and Anderson isn't Patricia Highsmith. Nor is her ghost-writer, Eric Shaw Quinn. Star and Jimi are repellent exhibitionists - always rutting loudly in public, then getting righteous about media intrusion. But this isn't the kind of novel you read for its living, breathing characters, and I liked the (two) flashes of dumb humour: Star asks if a gun needs batteries, and at a restaurant tells a friend that oysters are "hypochondriac". On reflection, I am not sure if that is a joke or a genuine mistake, but either way