I became a fan of Pam Grier’s movies as a teenager in the 1970s. I was old enough to see R-rated movies and I was fascinated by a female, militant-type actress. My friends and I spent many Saturdays watching her movies, then coming home and talking about how ‘bad’ she was. My friends even called me ‘Coffy’ due to our shared height, slight tooth gap, brown skin and yards of curly hair. So, of course, I was delighted to be asked to review her memoir. FOXY: My Life in Three Acts.
I absolutely enjoyed the honest, talkative way in which Ms. Grier wrote her memoirs. The first act focused on her childhood and the relationships she had with the people in her life. Particularly influential was the work ethic and strength of her mother, and the fiery, fighting spirit of her aunt, Mennon. I could literally visualize Pam’s mother working on a degree in nursing and purchasing a home while her father was away in the Air Force. This act also covered the molestation Pam suffered at age six by her cousins. I could feel her pain emanating from the pages but also she made it clear why she never told anyone. It really brought out how the act of molestation is not ‘new’ and that children should be able to tell someone.
Act Two discussed her life as young adult and her work ethic and how she became an actress. Also discussed was her relationship with Kareem Abdul Jabar and how his becoming a member of the Nation of Islam came between them. She also had relationships with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Richard Pryor that ended due to their drug usage. Grier was very honest about her relationships without being salacious or telling every dirty detail. I really admired that component of the book. It proved it is not necessary to drag anyone through the mud to tell your story.
The Final Act discussed the actress’ battle with cancer and how she continued to take her life into her own hands and never allowed anyone to tell her how to live. She wrote with honesty, expressing little regret for the life she lived. More importantly, she painted herself as more than an actress, but as a well-rounded woman. I recommend this memoir to all who love memoirs and biographies that allow them to see inside famous people they thought they knew.