Review: Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson

Love, Pamela Book Cover Love, Pamela
Pamela Anderson
Memoir
Dey Street Books
January 31, 2023
Audiobook
256
Public Library
August 31 - September 11, 2023

My dreams often come true -- a curse, and a blessing.

Pamela Anderson's blond bombshell image was ubiquitous in the 1990s. Discovered in the stands during a Canadian football game, she was quickly launched into superstardom, becoming Playboy's favorite cover girl and an emblem of Hollywood glamour and sex appeal. Yet the Pamela Anderson we think we know was created through happenstance rather than careful cultivation. Love, Pamela brings forth her true story: that of a small-town girl getting tangled up in her own dream.

Growing up on Vancouver Island, the daughter of young, wild, and unwittingly stylish parents, Pamela lived a hardscrabble childhood but developed a deep love for nature, populating her world with misfits, apparitional friends, and injured animals. Eventually overcoming her natural shyness, Pamela's restless imagination propelled her into a life few can dream of, from the beaches of Malibu to the coveted scene at the Playboy Mansion. As her star rose, she found herself a fixture of tabloid fodder, at the height of an era when paparazzi tactics were bent on destroying a person's image and self-esteem.

Pamela forged ahead with grace, finding sanctuary in her love of art and literature, and emerged a devoted mother and activist. Now, having returned to the island of her childhood, after a memorable run starring as Roxie in Chicago on Broadway, Pamela is telling her story, a story of an irrepressible free spirit coming home and discovering herself anew at every turn. With vivid prose interspersed with bursts of original poetry, Love, Pamela is a pensive, layered, and unforgettable memoir.

Review

As an 80s baby, I grew up watching Baywatch. (The shark episodes were always my favorite!) so of course I knew who Pamela Anderson was. As a kid, she was just C. J. from Baywatch! As I grew older, I learned a little more about her, like the fact that she got her start modeling for Playboy. And of course, despite being too young to understand, I was well aware when the infamous stolen video of her and Tommy Lee blew up. All that to say, when I saw she had a memoir, I was eager to read it.

Now that I’ve read this (listened actually—always listen to memoirs when read by the author!) I can say that I wish Pamela was my friend. She has a beautiful soul to match her beautiful face. She is a woman who has experienced trauma throughout her life, starting as a young child. A woman who has been painted as a brainless “dumb blonde”. A woman who was torn apart by the media. But she’s so much more. 

Pamela Anderson has a kind heart, she’s generous to a fault, she loves her kids and sacrificed amazing career opportunities so that she could be there for them when they needed her. Sure she’s jumped from bad relationship to bad relationship, but I truly believe so much of that stems from her trauma and her ability to see the good in absolutely everyone. 

This book is surprisingly poetic and lyrical. I wish she’d delved a little deeper, but I’m not mad at what she did give us. This book is a keeper, even if you don’t necessarily care about Pamela Anderson, it’s worth it to read what the media did to her. 

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