Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Review: Pamela Anderson's "Star Struck"

Pamela Anderson's recent tome, Star Struck is unlikely to toll any bells in the halls of academia. It has possibly seen many people pick it up from the shelf solely because of the provocative cover and the stellar name of the author. It is worth reading for other aspects though.


For one, a roman a clef with vignettes of the love life between Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson is hard to avoid, despite the multiplicity of visual images and leaked Internet videos. Furthermore, this could be titled 'In which Star gives those paparazzi what they deserve' - much blood is shed in the name of privacy. Even more ink is spilt detailing thinly what Jackie Collins and others did with much mirth - the lifestyles of the rich and famous are less about glamour and more about ducking the public scrutiny, near-permanent narcissistic states and obsessive hangers-on, stereotypical entourage members and frothy interludes with sex, drugs & rock'n'roll.

The story, as it were, describes the movement through marriage of Star and her ardent rock star lover-turned husband, Jimi. Their desire for privacy leads them to cut off a few persistent followers, while the pressures of fame and media drive subtle wedges into their relationship. They neglect to look closely for serpents in the grass, culminating in a rambunctious climax, pun intended, and perhaps wish-fulfilment for Pamela in re Tommy Lee.

The writing is sometimes unconsciously satirical, often deliberately sleazy. The characters are not expressive of more than a couple of shades of the rainbow, mostly the vibrant ones. Ludicruous sub-plots serve to set up tense moments which fizzle out with little bang. As is par for the course, there is a focus on homoeroticism expressed as stereotypical bit parts.

Other reasons to read the book include Ms. Anderson's undeniable charisma. Authors often complain that poor book sales are because of low public awareness of the author. Not in this case - her career as a model and star has provided her more than enough mindshare in the fickle public mind. One wishes she had pulled back the curtain and given us a feckless perspective on a life richly lived, or is that lived richly? Instead one has to settle for trite platitudes and numerous passionate moments. The microcosm of society in question is richly detailed. Star goes through much tumultuous experiences in the book, yet there is no catharsis.

Cultivating the image can be tiresome, and Pamela knows it is an image, as evidenced by her role as Skylar in "Stacked", which has unfortunately not yet returned to our screens. Star is a very different character - still based on the Pamela Anderson image, yet with little depth. There is very little exposition of the character's perspective or startling revelations, if one was hankering for some.

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