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IN POSING AS AN AUTHOR, ANDERSON GETS SHY

A little over a decade ago, the world's most notorious blonde unleashed a sensational collection of erotic photos, bound into a volume bearing the simple title "Sex." Twelve years (and hair colors) later, Madonna is still releasing books. But while the titles of her children's books remain equally suggestive ("Mr. Peabody's Apples," anybody?), the inner pages simply don't deliver.

Enter Pamela Anderson, whose roman a clef, "Star," hits the bookstands this month. Billed as, "What really happens when A-list meets D-cup," the book follows the ascendancy of Star Wood Leigh from a shapely tomboy juggling two jobs in the Florida Keys to a shapely centerfold model for Mann magazine and swimsuit model for the TV show "Lifeguards."

"Star" is the first of two books from the former "Baywatch" star and tabloid maven Anderson, who enlisted ghostwriter Eric Shaw Quinn (author of "Always Have, Always Will," adapted into Showtime's "Queer As Folk") to help her with the task. Anderson supplied him with the plot and her own personal flourishes over a weekly brunch, with Quinn doing the lion's share of writing.

The novel is everything you'd expect from Anderson. In it, Star finds herself in a bevy of scintillating situations, from innocent experimentation with hometown pal Brandi to full-blown sexual escapades when she reaches Los Angeles, where she has sex against everything from a bathroom stall to the "H" of the Hollywood sign.

When asked how many of these scenes were taken from her real life, Anderson told the New York Post: "I want to leave something to the imagination."

Anderson's book reads like a striptease, offering steamy glimpses into the life of the Hollywood elite but never bearing all. If you're looking for exposure, the closest you'll get is the book's cover, which features Anderson wearing nothing but a handful of white applique stars and a well-placed title box.

Between the covers, Anderson is the sexpot Cinderella. Her glass slipper is the tight-fitting beer T-shirt that catches the attention of the Jumbotron at a local football game, and her Prince Charming is the porn mogul who sweeps her off to California.

The book is inconsistent in its portrayal of Anderson's rise to fame, vaulting from irritating pieces of self-promotion (the first page contains the line, "There was just something about her") to more candid discussions of the role her body played in her success.

The underlying message, however, is that Anderson's wit has allowed her to stay one step ahead of the game.

Those seeking juicy bits of celebrity gossip and humiliation will be disappointed.

Reading "Star" is like reading all 957 pages of the Clinton memoir only to find that the chapter about his days in the doghouse has been replaced by his depiction as a stand-up husband. By refusing accountability, Anderson's book is about as satisfying as a Danielle Steel novel.

The most revealing passages in "Star" are not the dubious sex scenes but the pages in which Anderson discusses her role as a sex icon.

She is unapologetic about her decision to pose in the nude, describing it instead as "fun and liberating." Regarding her breast implants, Anderson writes that while she was happy with her body before, they gave an added boost of confidence for an important cover spread.

The novel actually packs a refreshing message of sexual libertinism: Star leaves behind a dead-end relationship with her high-school boyfriend to realize the depths of her emotional and physical appetite, holding her lovers to higher and higher standards as the book progresses until at last she is totally independent.

While Anderson may fancy herself as the poster girl for PETA (her passion for animal rights receives much attention in "Star"), this book may put her at the fore of a very different movement, one that is tearing down double standards and encouraging women to indulge their sexual desires.

Strike a pose, girlfriend.

"Star"

By Pamela Anderson

Atria Books

$24, 294 pages

e-mail: mbrendel@buffnews.com

Excerpt from "Star": It was one of those perfect Miami nights. A cool ocean breeze was blowing just enough to balance the tropical heat that made Miami, Miami. Star was exhilarated. It had been a great day for her. Meeting Skip and Billy had been a real break, and she let her mind wander through all the possibilities of where her life could take her. She imagined herself doing hair and makeup for the famous and celebrated. Maybe even Hollywood. The promise of something new infused her with excitement.