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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Britney Spears’ ‘The Woman in Me’ speaks louder than headlines

Illustration by Shveta Shah
Britney Spears shares vulnerable story behind career and conservatorship battle in her new memoir, “The Woman in Me”

For maybe the first time in her life, Britney Spears gets to be the main character in her own story.

One of the most influential pop stars of the ‘90s and early 2000s, Britney Spears’ name precedes her –– conjuring up images of her draped in a seven-foot yellow snake, strutting through a school hallway or twinning with Justin Timberlake in denim on denim.

Most of us know the broad strokes of the icon’s life, including a conservatorship that gave her family control of her and her story for 13 years.

Many might expect a detailed account of her time in the spotlight from her recent biography “The Woman in Me” — a summary of what people have gleaned from tabloids, documentaries and social media for decades. But, Spears wastes no time on what we already know, skimming over the Britney that the public has unapologetically observed, criticized, sympathized with and analyzed for too long.

Instead, for maybe the first time in her life, Spears tells her story on her own terms. And, she succeeds. The biography, released in October, feels like sitting down with the enigmatic celebrity herself.

While one might define the 288-page book as a “quick read,” it is by no means an easy one. It dives deep into the vulnerable feelings and personal trauma behind Britney’s tragic story, retelling details of her conservatorship where she was “locked up against (her) will for months,” facing emotional manipulation from family members.

Spears herself has described the story as something so difficult to relive, she opted not to read the audiobook herself, having actress Michelle Williams read it. So, it is not shocking that she also had a helping hand in writing the biography too, with recent reports saying “Broken People” author Sam Lansky helped bring her story to life.

As far as ghostwriting goes, Spears’ biography is possibly the most convincing I have read. The book’s prose is simple and conversational in a way that had me almost believing the celebrity penned the entire memoir herself.

While it is not the most eloquently written memoir I have ever read, maybe uncomplicated is exactly what Britney needs right now. Lansky doesn’t clutter Spears’ story with complicated sentences or over-explanation. He lets her difficult experiences speak for themselves.

The result is powerful and heart wrenching. Britney is entirely vulnerable. Despite her reiterated love for performing throughout the memoir, Spears (with the help of Lansky, of course) isn’t performing here. It is refreshing to see a celebrity who has been silenced for so long get her voice back.

What shines through in all of her honesty is hope.

She ends her biography by bittersweetly, describing this time in her life as a rebirth, despite battling struggles that resulted from her conservatorship. She writes, “(It’s) been a while since I truly felt present in my own life, in my own power, in my own womanhood. But I am here now.”

These are reassuring words to hear. Many have waited for the rebirth of Britney Spears, sometimes doubting it would ever come. The ending isn’t the perfect, happily ever after people root for as they read her story.

But, this memoir does signal what is hopefully a new era for the star, leaving the reader not only with a new appreciation for her past but also with a glimmer of hope for her future.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @emilymlichty

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