July 09, 2023
You may have seen her in Baywatch during the original run or reruns, but there is more to the star of the show Pamela Anderson, than meets the eye. From being a nobody in the industry to becoming someone influential, and then quitting the show that made her a household name for her children, Anderson has done it all. Love, Pamela is her love letter to her fans who have wanted to know her side of the story and she does well by giving them exactly what they wanted.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t find a single photograph of the once stunning Baywatch Babe inside the book, because there isn’t any photograph except the one on the cover. As a writer with a natural flare for drama, Anderson might believe that her words are good enough to tell her story and pictures would have distracted the readers from that. She may have a point because by not wasting space on images, she has come up with a perfect book that connects with the readers and makes them believe everything written in it.
For some, the preceding poetry that is followed by prose might seem like a distraction, considering Anderson was a TV and film star, not a poet. You can skip that part if you aren’t interested in poetry like me or read it to enjoy it, if you are. However, one thing the book does for the readers is change the way they had perceived Anderson, since her point of view would make you want to think of her as a person, not as a sex symbol with a controversial career.
The book begins with Anderson talking about her life as a kid in Canada, and how she was in the limelight since birth ― she was Canada’s Centennial Baby ― and her photograph was everywhere, according to her. From talking about her young parents (an angry father, a beautiful mother) and their struggles to manage their home to her father’s aggressive behaviour towards her mother, the actress pens it all in the initial chapters. From her father’s obsession with drink and cars to his act of drowning newborn kittens in front of young Pamela, everything is here in these pages. If you want to know how she felt when her mother left her home to live with relatives and how she was instrumental in their reconciliation, you will have to read the book to ‘hear’ what Pam has to say.
However, the book becomes more interesting when she mentions Hugh “Playboy” Hefner for the first time, because not only did the magazine mogul give her the first break, he helped her become famous in no time, despite not having any modelling or acting experience. From there, there was no stopping her as she first attempted acting on TV and after making it big, moved on to films, some of which were more anticipated because of her sex appeal than her acting. Whatever the reasons and the outcome of these films, she describes it all in the next chapters before moving on to the destructive parts of her life.
By destructive parts, I mean her relationships which began first with producer Jon Peters and then saw many men enter her life including Mario Van Pebbles who literally saved her by advising her to move out from Peter’s lavish house. After Mario, there were others, but when Pamela met her first husband and the father of her two children Tommy Lee, a drummer in a heavy metal band, she finally felt complete, in her own words. She explains her reasons for marrying him despite knowing him for just four days, and why she thought that he was the man she wanted to spend her life with and have kids with. As the book progresses, one gets to know the reasons behind their divorce, and if you think that it had something to do with the sex tape that became viral in the early-Internet days, you are absolutely right.
Although Anderson says that she left Tommy Lee after he was violent towards her, the reason behind the split was the videotape that allegedly was stolen from their safe when their house was getting renovated. At least that’s what Pamela believes because in the 90s when the video became viral, everyone thought that her husband was behind it and wanted to make money from the tape where they were seen having a good time. Despite the allegations of foul play, and the fact that Tommy Lee was violent when under the influence of drugs, Pam explains why she tried to reconcile with her ex after his release from jail, but without any luck.
She then goes on to mention her other relationships and marriages to another musician Kid Rock (who wasn’t happy with her cameo in Borat) and poker player Rick Salomon (twice, once annulled, once divorced) and why she was unable to provide a stable home to her kids despite trying hard. She even mentions her pre-Playboy boyfriends Billy (who was in a gang and used nunchakus), Jack (who tried to run her over in his car), and Michael (who threw a tray of silverware at her head) and why she couldn’t stay with either of them. However, there is no mention of her marriage to Jon Peters though which allegedly took place in 2020, but that’s because Pamela has never acknowledged that marriage in her interviews.
What she did acknowledge was the sad act of being sexually abused (by a female babysitter) and being raped on multiple occasions, first as a child by a 25-year-old man, and later by her boyfriend and his gang of friends when she was 14. She mentions these incidents to tell the readers that these were the reasons why she decided to leave her home and take control of her life. Not only does she mention Playboy as her saviour, but explains that it taught her to live her life by her rules, and not to fulfill the needs or fantasies of others.
You will also find in these pages how much she loved her mother and how she was the sole reason why Pam wanted to succeed. The brother Gerry also gets mentioned and the readers would laugh on reading his reaction to finding out that he had a brother-in-law! She also explains her reason for not completing college, why she chose to increase her bust size on multiple occasions, and how she feels about doing more Playboy covers than any other model. One must also commend the way the Baywatch hottie from yesteryears has penned her thoughts in the book, she doesn’t let the readers get bored even if he or she isn’t interested in the poetry that disrupts the proceedings time and again. Her choice of words is as good as any ghostwriter would have provided, but the feel with which they are written is all Anderson.
Some of the readers might even be surprised to read about Pam’s activism which has seen her raise her voice for the environment, as well as animal and political causes. She describes her friendship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and her belief in his innocence and freedom. Her reaction to then Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comments on their meeting is also mentioned in these pages where his offer to ‘meet her if he could bring a few buddies’ was bashed around the globe.
Anderson dedicates the latter half of the book to her kids and how she had to struggle to be there for them as well as be the man of the house. She not only mentions the random Tom Hanks sightings near her place, but also why she chose to pole-dance behind Elton John, assist a magician in Las Vegas as well as go to Broadway late in life. While some readers might like the way she described her short film career including films like Barb Wire and Scary Movie 3, there is more in these pages about her TV work which has kept her in the limelight despite leaving Baywatch a long time back.
If you are looking to read about Anderson’s stint in Big Boss, or if you want to get your hands on this autobiography to take a sneak peek into her photographs, then this book isn’t for you since it doesn’t cover the unimportant aspects of her life or features her pictures which still are valued bigger than this book. What it does tell the readers is that Anderson isn’t just a dumb blonde as perceived by many, but a responsible mother of two who has stood up for what she believes is right and raised her two kids to the best of her abilities despite having a sex symbol tag to shrug off.
In short, Love, Pamela is an excellent memoir for a yesteryear actress who has seen the highs and lows of life, and her career. Before the readers pick the book, Anderson is a sex symbol, but by the time they put it down, she is no more human than those reading about her. She handles the controversial aspects of her career without getting emotional and her mature response to the villains shows that she has forgotten the ugly parts of her life. Despite the book’s release coinciding with her Netflix documentary Pamela: A Love Story, there is a lot about her that readers don’t know, and this book can provide the missing links without taking you away from your couch.
Omair Alavi is a freelance contributor who writes about film, television, and popular culture. All facts and information are the sole responsibility of the writer
POST AUTHOR: Omair Alavi