[Book Review] Star

Star / Pamela Anderson & Eric Shaw Quinn (ghostwriter)

Star is the story of a lovely and optimistic ingénu from Florida with not much to her name but her smile, her dreams, and her... assets.  Her dreams are modest; save up enough from her two jobs to afford cosmetology school.  That all changes when she comes along as make-up artist to a friend's photoshoot, and connects instantly with the staff MUAs.  A few Polaroids taken while goofing around bring her to the attention of the search agents and they decide that she's exactly what they're looking for.  Paired with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to Star on a stadium jumbo-tron while she happened to be wearing a shirt emblazoned with a beer brand, her face (and body) become very much in demand.  Soon it's off to L.A., where her face, her breasts, and her naivete take celebrity culture like a storm.

I picked up Star as part of a buddy read.  None of us expected a huge amount from this, more of a "hey, why not?" with the bonus of if it's horrible, we had a support network.

For me, during the entire read I kept thinking "I really wish Carl Hiaasen wrote this."  Maybe it's the start in Florida, maybe it's his book Strip Tease, but I think that if everything in this book had been fed to him the result would be amazing.  As it was, I wasn't particularly bowled over by Star, but I've also read far worse.  There was a lot of what struck me as rather uninspired sex that varied from just something on the page to something that detracted from the story.  Some of the wording emphases annoyed me, like the repetition of referring to how many falls Star could take someone down, just general hammering of character details.  Probably my favorite characters were the make-up artists, though the dog was something of a sweetie.

Names and locations have been changed, but by and large this is the story of Pamela's start in show business.  Most of the obfuscation is so thin that it's impossible to not know who/what she's talking about.  Some times I know that out of a group one of them must refer to a specific person, but I'm just not sure (specifically, I wasn't sure which actor on "Lifeguards, Inc." was supposed to be Hasselhoff, then I pulled up his IMDB page and realized he was on "The Young and the Restless"... so that answers that one).  By and large, one could grasp most of the contents of the story simply by reading her Wikipedia and IMDB pages, pretty much everything that happens before she marries Tommie Lee.

Star herself is unbelievably naive.  I've met people as innocent of the world around them as she is, but generally that's paired with an incredibly sheltered upbringing.  With the explicit inclusion and revealing of sexual abuse and arguable physical abuse (as well as emotional), I really can't imagine that she's reached adulthood retaining such innocence.  The surrounding environments she finds herself in, and that she willingly enters, argues strongly that the only way she could stay such an ingénu is willful ignorance.  I don't particularly like using the label "Mary Sue," but considering this is a thinly-veiled memoir, Pamela is literally inserting herself into the story, I feel like it's fitting.


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