NJ.com November 3rd 2010

If you suspect your boyfriend of cheating, throw on a disguise and stalk him.

A claim of urgent diarrhea may get you out of a speeding ticket.

And don't be a "bad girl," a "bitch," a "shrinking violet" or a "people-pleaser" be a "badass."

Well, you don't expect Emily Post from a book titled "Badass: A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life With Style and (the Right) Attitude," under the authorship of Shannen Doherty.

The former Hollywood hellraiser and "Beverly Hills 90210" star says she is only doing what friends and family have urged for years.

"My friends were constantly calling me for advice," Doherty says in a recent call."

One was starting a business, a few had boyfriend issues. So I was 'that girl.' People would say, 'Always listen to Shannen's advice.' But I didn't always take my own advice. I do now."

Tennessee native Doherty, 39, has dealt with the perks and pitfalls of celebrity since age 11, when she landed the role of pigtailed Jenny in "Little House on the Prairie."

"When you're little and you first get recognized and someone asks for your autograph, you're like, 'What was that?'?" the actress says. "But my parents are such down-to-earth people. They kept me down-to-earth."

Her breakthrough role was the hissable Brenda Walsh in "90210." Unfortunately, Doherty admits, Brenda took a toll.

"She entered into my life in multiple ways," Doherty says.

"People sort of stopped realizing that she was a character, and I was an actress playing that character. As much as everyone hated Brenda, it was still me who was playing her. I was as opposite of Brenda as you can get."

The phrase "Hard-Earned" in the title of Doherty's book may be a sly reference to her years as a Hollywood "bad girl." Among many tabloid-reported misadventures, Doherty once pleaded no contest to a drunk-driving charge and has a history of contentious relationships, including two marriages that never reached the one-year mark.

You won't read about any of that in the 256-page "Badass" (just out from Clarkson Potter). Doherty wasn't interested in writing a tell-all.

"I think of memoirs as people telling stories about other people that they have absolutely no right to tell," she says.

"Badass" lays out Doherty's brassy personal philosophy, mixing platitudes don't be a victim, don't fear success, trust your intuition, respect yourself with lifestyle and homemaking advice.

A chapter titled "The Fine Art of Stalking" in which Doherty recommends tailing a boyfriend suspected of cheating has raised some eyebrows.

"That chapter has already gotten people saying, 'What do you mean, stalk?'?" Doherty says. "Maybe a better title would have been 'drive-by.' But that's less honest, and I am an honest person.

"I can honestly say that a lot of my friends even guy friends have done drive-bys in their lives. Whether you're 18 or 39, we've all done it. I'm very specific on this point. If your partner is giving you reason to be suspicious, don't sit at home. Be proactive. But if you do a drive-by, never go by yourself. Bring a friend who is calm and rational."

What advice does Doherty have for the "bad girls" of today, such as Lindsay Lohan?

"I would give them the same advice that I give in my book," Doherty says, "which is self-awareness, self-reflection and self-discovery. Everyone has the opportunity to turn their mistakes around. Everyone has the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. And to succeed."

Signing copies of "Badass: A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life With Style and (the Right) Attitude"
Where: Barnes & Noble, 3981 Route 9, Freehold
When: Wednesday at 7 p.m.
How much: Free. Call (732) 409-2929