Tag Archive | Memoir

Review: Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson

Love, Pamela Book Cover Love, Pamela
Pamela Anderson
Dey Street Books
January 31, 2023
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.


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. 

Review: Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard by Tom Felton

Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard Book Cover Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard
Tom Felton
Grand Central Publishing
October 18, 2022
Public Library
July 24 - August 2, 2023

From the magical moments on set as Draco Malfoy to the challenges of growing up in the spotlight, get a backstage pass into Tom Felton’s life on and off the big screen in this #1 New York Times bestseller. Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame in beloved films like The Borrowers catapulted him into the limelight, but nothing could prepare him for what was to come after he landed the iconic role of the Draco Malfoy, the bleached blonde villain of the Harry Potter movies. For the next ten years, he was at the center of a huge pop culture phenomenon and yet, in between filming, he would go back to being a normal teenager trying to fit into a normal school. Speaking with great candor and his signature humor, Tom shares his experience growing up as part of the wizarding world while also trying to navigate the muggle world. He tells stories from his early days in the business like his first acting gig where he was mistaken for fellow blonde child actor Macaulay Culkin and his Harry Potter audition where, in a very Draco-like move, he fudged how well he knew the books the series was based on (not at all). He reflects on his experiences working with cinematic greats such as Alan Rickman, Sir Michael Gambon, Dame Maggie Smith, and Ralph Fiennes (including that awkward Voldemort hug). And, perhaps most poignantly, he discusses the lasting relationships he made over that decade of filming, including with Emma Watson, who started out as a pesky nine-year-old whom he mocked for not knowing what a boom mic was but who soon grew into one of his dearest friends. Then, of course, there are the highs and lows of fame and navigating life after such a momentous and life-changing experience. Tom Felton’s Beyond the Wand is an entertaining, funny, and poignant must-read for any Harry Potter fan. Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.


This is a must read for any Harry Potter fan. Scratch that, this is a must listen as any memoir read by the author should always be listened to rather than read. 

Tom Felton aka Draco Malfo was, apparently, cast in the role he’s become most famous for simply because as a child, he was a little shit. From the sounds of it, all of the children cast to play the roles because their personalities were similar enough to their characters. Tom and I would not have been friends back then, but maybe we’d get along now.

A lot of this book talks about how it was on set for both Harry Potter and Tom’s first big role in The Borrowers. It was fascinating to me to hear about how live on set is, especially for a child. The bits about Alan Rickman cracked me up. It sounds like he was a very intimidating man (RIP). 

This book also delves into Tom’s personal life, growing up with his brothers who kept him grounded. He wasn’t allowed to let his fame get to his head. It was also interesting to hear about how he was actually bullied for being in the Harry Potter films!

Felton also touches on mental health, both his family history and his own. On rehab. On a lot of personal issues. I also learned about what drove him to continue looking for acting jobs once Potter was in the past.

As far as memoirs go, this one is very entertaining and enlightening, one of the better ones I’ve read (er, listened to). 

REVIEW: Spare by Prince Harry

Spare Book Cover Spare
Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex
Random House
January 10, 2023
Public Library
February 2-22, 2023

It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is that story at last. Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness—and, because he blamed the press for his mother’s death, he struggled to accept life in the spotlight. At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn’t find true love. Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple’s cinematic romance and rejoiced in their fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother. . . . For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.


I was so excited to read Prince Harry’s book, Spare. And better yet, to listen to him narrate it. (Memoir’s are always so much better when read by the author!) But I’ve got to be honest… this book was excessively long and much of that was snooze-worthy.

I absolutely felt for Harry. He’s certainly the black sheep of his family and I realize there are two sides to every story, but he certainly made me feel for him.

Harry is a man still haunted by the death of his mother. Haunted by a family legacy of never displaying emotion. Haunted by the press.

Unless you’ve been living alone on a deserted island the past few years, there’s no doubt you’ve seen the headlines about Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, but his battle with the press goes so much further back. He’s never liked them, but after the role they played in his mothers death, he will never forgive them. 

Reading his story really did make me realize how awful the press treat those who are famous. Unlike actors and musicians though, Harry never chose that life. He was born into it. He can’t escape it. And while some may find that he spends the whole book “whining” about his lot in life, I disagree. Harry hates the system and wants to change it, and I respect that. 

What really slowed the book down for me though was his talk about life in the military. I get it, that was a big part of his life. It’s where he felt most himself and accepted. But I hate war and fighting and the fact that militaries have to exist, so that section really dragged for me. 

If you’ve seen the Netflix special or any of the interviews with Harry and Meghan, that section of the book will hold no surprises for you. It was very repetitive of has already been said by the couple time and time again.

I suppose I would recommend this book to anyone who is a die-hard fan of the royal family or…. no, that’s probably it. It’s not a bad book, it was just… a lot. And didn’t hold my interest as I anticipated it would. And was a reminder that some people are fortunate to be able to drop everything and spend months at a time in Africa doing charitable work, or hop on a plane and cross the globe without a worry about the financial hit that plane ticket will cost. 

I suppose what I’m saying is, I just couldn’t relate to Prince Harry. And why should I, he’s a prince and I’m just a random woman from America.

REVIEW: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

In case you missed it, JUNE IS HERE!

School is winding down for the kids, and I’m neck deep in JuNoWriMo (it’s like NaNoWriMo, but in June – the goal being to write 50K in just 30 days.) I’m making progress on the sequel to my labor of love, Blood & Magic, as well as starting a brand new novel.

On top of all that, I also started a new part time job.

So basically, I’m all over the place here!

It’ll probably be a while before I post a new review. Right now I’m making my way through A Clash of Kings, the second book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. (Better known as Game of Thrones.)

I do have an idea I’m toying with for the blog, which I may implement soon enough. You’ll have to wait and see. 😉

Annnndddd……. I’ve been meaning to share since FOREVER! I finally uploaded to YouTube the video I took of my favorite redhead Richelle Mead at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN last month. (Yay!) And, after the video, scroll down to read my review of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by my other favorite redhead, Felicia Day.



You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Read: May 26 – 29, 2016

Format: Hardcover

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: Memoir
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Felicia Day fan. She’s my girl crush. She’s my patronus. She’s me, but way cooler. In like, a super geeky way, or whatever.

Here are some similarities between myself and Felicia Day: We both enjoy the smell of gasoline, we’re both recovering WoW addicts, we’re both a little socially awkward but feel at home on the Internet, and we both want to please the people around us.

Okay, so if you have no clue who Felicia Day is, I’ll clue you in. She’s the writer/creator/star of ‘The Guild’ web series, founder of ‘Geek & Sundry’, starred alongside Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, and oh yeah, she also played a recurring character named Charlie on a little show you may know, Supernatural?

So yeah, Felicia Day is all around amazing. And this book gives the reader a glimpse into how she got there. Fun fact: Felicia was homeschooled (but not for religious reasons). She was raised very liberal in the deep south. Her mom had great intentions for homeschooling, but that sort of went out the window and Felicia and her brother were basically allowed to do whatever they want. And you know what? Even with that incredibly casual learning environment, girl went on to college (without even having her GED mind you!) and earned TWO degrees – in violin and mathematics, all on a violin scholarship.

I loved that this book gave a little glimpse into what it’s like to be an aspiring actor in Hollywood. And, how to make a TV pilot with a teeny-tiny budget.

What I loved the most, however, was seeing more of who Felicia is as a person. Her addiction story is crazy similar to mine. She got started with an old PC game called Ultima. My first gaming addiction was World of Warcraft (aka WoW), which was also the big one that nearly destroyed her life. WoW was also my last gaming addiction, because I just don’t allow myself the chance to get sucked in any more, because chances are I will be. She talks about how depression affected her and her relationships. She got deep at times. And it was awesome.

I wish this book was longer though. I want to know more. I loved the little stories, but I didn’t feel like we were getting a complete and clear picture. She jumped around to different points in her life, which is all good and well, but at times she wasn’t clear on what timeframe it took place in. Was she 7 or 17 when that happened, I just don’t know!

So, what I need from you Felicia, is a sequel – You’re Still Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) perhaps? I’d also like to read some fiction because you have a wonderful, quirky author voice.

End thoughts: If you’re a fan of Felicia Day, read this book. If you’ve never heard of her, but you’re curious to read about a funny woman and her unusual upbringing and her rise to (situational) fame via the Internet, read this book.



On Childhood:

Ballet, tap, jazz dance, youth orchestra, martial arts, watercolor at the local community college (me and a bunch of eighty-year-old rocking’ the stand of maple trees!), cross-stitch, poise class (held in the back of a department store, for REAL!), my mom basically trained me to become a geisha.

(From young Felicia’s diary)

“Do you know what I would like more than anything (except environmental and biological stability forever) in the world? I would like to travel in time like in Quantum Leap. It would be so wonderful.”


The only kid, in real proximity to me was Erin, a thirteen-year-old who lived next door. She taught me that owning a trampoline was the most glamours thing a girl could have, and that jelly shoes were haute couture. I learned all this through spying on her through my bedroom window, because she didn’t like me and wouldn’t spend any time with me, physically.


My weirdness turned into my greatest strength in life. It’s why I’m who I am today and have the career I have. It’s why I’m able to con someone into allowing me to write this book. (Hi, Mr. Simon and Mr. Schuster!)


On Addiction:

(If I did drugs, I would totally be a sniffer. Gasoline and Magic Markers, I gotta fight against getting my nose all up in there.)


I tend to obsess over things easily. Like eating oatmeal every morning for a year, wearing a pair of sneakers over and over again until my big toe pokes out, and having an unhealthy fixation on the martial arts personality Jean-Claude Van Damme.


On Her Career:

 With zero dollars and incredibly high standards, I had to look in creative places for set decorations.

Thus began my obsession with trash.


And that’s how we made four more seasons (of The Guild) with Xbox. Because I dug my heels in and was unreasonable, and got rewarded for it.


I love it when people tell me I’m doing the wrong thing, or that something isn’t possible, or just straight dismiss me. That lights my fire in a perverse way, like a two-year-old who deliberately touches a hot stove after you tell them not to. But compliment me or expect something big? That’s the perfect way to destroy my confidence.



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