Cons: A grade school-type book with an airheaded protagonist that you can't help but hate
The Bottom Line: Pam Anderson is many things. A good author is not one of those things.
Did you ever drive by an accident scene and stop and watch whats happening even though you know its not going to be pleasant and you should just move along?
Well, I did a similar thing when I picked up Pamela Andersons first novel, Star. To be honest, I did it because I knew it was a very thinly veiled autobiography and, even though I dont keep up with Andersons life like many others, I know she certainly has and had a colorful one.
I am constantly amazed that celebrities take on the task of writing novels when they have absolutely no ability to do so. Andersons ghostwriter, Eric Shaw Quinn (author of Say Uncle), should be ashamed of himself. If he was writing down to whom he felt were Pams fans, I wonder what grade those fans are in?
The story itself is about Star Leigh Woods very sudden rise to fame through a series of coincidences which I will get into later. The problem with the book is that it goes way too fast. You cant sink your teeth into anything because it moves beyond the speed of light. One minute Star is a working girl in a rural Florida town and the next she is living in a 19 room mansion, courtesy of a Hollywood A-lister she met at the Mann Castle (Read: Playboy Mansion). The writing is so rudimentary that I was literally offended by the phrasing and word structure. If you have ever read magazines like True Experience, you will recognize the tone this book takes. The ironic thing about it is, this could have been a passable beach read if it were written in a less childish way. Here is a Playboy centerfold, one of the most talked about wild women in Hollywood, writing so carefully so as not to offend anyone, that she ends up failing everyone who reads her book.
The plot is a simple one based entirely on Andersons real life. It starts as young Star is working double duty at a diner and nail salon in a small town in Florida. Star is unbelievably innocent and naïve and remains that way throughout the book even though she has sex with several men she barely knows in the course of a couple months in Hollywood. But somehow, Anderson even manages to make those romps seem innocent because Star is just a simple girl with simple ideas. And a very simple mind.
Stars boyfriend Adam is an aspiring photographer who is cheating on her with one of his subjects. Hes abusive but Anderson makes that abuse seem playful rather than what it is abuse.
Star is discovered at a baseball game when the camera pans the crowd and spots her, displaying her likeness to everyone in the stadium and on TV. The crowd goes wild for this beautiful hometown girl and, within a page of the book, she is the new spokesperson for Zax beer.
Within a chapter, she is discovered, accidentally again, after she accompanies a friend to a photo shoot for Mann Magazine. As luck would have it, her friend didnt cut it but Stars unbelievably good looks, caught on film by two gay make up artists that she befriends at the shoot, do and she becomes a cover girl for the magazine. Life changes fast for Star who decides to move to Los Angeles and see what offers she can get from other agencies. But Star doesnt have to work for anything. It all comes easily to her. TOO easily. She is immediately a favorite of Jayne Jayne Hersfield, the executive editor of Mann Magazine, who hooks her up with Hollywoods finest producers, directors, and actors. One visit to Mann Castle and Star is offered a spacious mansion to live in, free of charge of course, along with a full staff of servants and garage full of expensive cars to choose from to drive.
After a quick romp with the resident mechanic in the backseat of a Bentley -- which is glossed over in two sentences -- Star moves on to accidentally being discovered once again, this time to act in a television show. As soon as that stint ends, she is asked to be a centerfold for Mann Magazine and then, once again accidentally, ends up being eye candy on Hammer Time, a weekly comedy show (which even I, a non Anderson follower recognized as Home Improvement). Within a chapter, she is having breast implants, paid for by the same generous Hollywood producer who offered up his mansion to her. And its on to yet another television series that hires her after just one look.
Star, amazingly naïve and devoid of any brains whatsoever, takes this all in stride as though making it in Hollywood happens like that for everyone. The problem is, Anderson is trying to tell a story of Hollywood debauchery and the sex and sin that happens there, but in a way that reads like a childrens book.
Star is supposed to come off as backwoods and simple, a wide-eyed virgin to the ways of Hollywood. But the attempt goes so overboard that any reader will roll their eyes at the dialog and the complete ridiculousness of what Star says and thinks. Anderson seems at odds as to whether to present Star as an intelligent go-getter or a complete buffoon. Her effort comes off as a confused blend of a woman going after she wants in this world and a stumbling, bumbling idiot who just happens to be in the right place at the right time for every break she has gotten.
There seems to be huge chunks of storyline missing within the book and there is no timeframe for one to rely on. Has a week passed? A month? A year? Does she ever get paid from all these jobs? She arrives in Hollywood with her life savings and seems to live off that and her Hollywood friends for the entire book.
The book is written so poorly that anyone could pick it up, start reading anywhere and be no less confused than if they started at the beginning and read straight to the end.
I didnt have high hopes for this book but I have read Andersons columns in Jane Magazine and she seems to have a head on her shoulders. Apparently I was wrong. Jane must do some heavy editing to make those columns comes off as readable.
Anderson is someone whom everyone knows. She is everywhere it seems and has a story to tell. I dont know why she chose to thinly veil her life in a novel rather than write an autobiography, but the effort is absolutely appalling even by celebrity standards. The idea was to like Star and to cheer her on as she went from a nobody to a famous Hollywood Star but Anderson manages to make readers do just the opposite. The dumb blond routine is so overdone that I wanted to see Star end up working for a pimp for $40 a trick at the end. I really dont think that was what Anderson was going for as far as emotions from her readers.
Speaking of readers, I am not quite sure who they would be. Men love Anderson but would never read past chapter one of this silly book. Women wont enjoy how completely idiotically dumb the lead character is and how easy she had things given to her without even realizing how lucky she is. There is nothing tantalizing to keep us reading. Although there is one very brief girl on girl sex scene in the beginning of the book which really had no bearing whatsoever on anything, and several sex scenes with Star and Hollywoods finest, they are glossed over to the point of sleep inducing. This from a woman who has been seen by millions on video having wild sex with her then husband Tommy Lee? This from a Playboy model who bared all many times? This from a woman who makes her living bouncing her ever-growing implants around? What a let down.
Anderson should have done it right or not at all.
Amazingly, a sequel to the book is coming out in August, 2005 called Star Struck which picks up where Star left off and, even more amazingly, I have preordered it. Why? Because its like that accident on the side of the road. I dont want to look, I really dont. But I just have to know if Anderson has grown at all as a writer since Star hit the stands.
To those who are curious about this book, I urge you to either get it on loan at the library if it is carried there or buy it used if you must. Its a grand waste of money that will leave you feeling unfulfilled and cheated out of a good read.
Star is available at most online book retailers and is now in paperback. You can buy it new for $9.00 or $10.00 and it is selling for a few bucks preowned. I am sure it is stocked at brick and mortar bookstores as well. Just look for the green cover with a nude Anderson on it with stars covering her moneymakers and youll know you have the right book. Then bypass it and save yourself the headache of reading it.
Atria Books ISN: 0-7434-9375-3
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About the reviewer
Patty Therre (PattyTherre)
I am a writer, editor, researcher, and reviewer as well as a fashion and beauty fanatic. I am into fitness and like to switch up things so that fitness is fun and not a big drag like it can often be. … more
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Beautiful, uninhibited, yet innocent Star Wood Leigh is trying to earn enough money for cosmetology school when favors for some friends bring her a modeling offer that leads her to Hollywood and new opportunities, both professional and erotic. Reprint.