THE WOMAN IN ME by Britney Spears

I picked up The Woman In Me expecting a celebrity memoir. I didn’t realize I was going to be getting dystopian horror as well. Wow.

Why I picked it up: I can’t resist a celebrity memoir.

This book may be one-sided, but it’s clear that Spears was treated terribly by her family and the men in her life. Not only did they profit greatly from her success, but they held her captive in her own home, gaslit her, forced her to take medicine, prevented her from having children and killed her joy in performing. The conservatorship felt like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale, or a Gothic horror novel. This poor woman – sexualized from an early age yet forced to live as a child, with no freedom or free will. It was all so infuriating and hopeless. Some people have suggested that Spears wrote this memoir too soon after her liberation, but it was probably close to impossible for her to stay silent once she was allowed to express herself.

Many people will read this memoir in search of gossip and tabloid fodder, but there is a deeper and much more disturbing story here about how easy it is for people to turn on women and take away their power – and get away with it. The justice system bowed immediately to her father’s demands, leaving her defenseless despite her money, talent and success. And the other men she trusted – Timberlake and Federline – were all too happy to sacrifice her for their own gain. I don’t blame her for churning this book out as soon as she could.

This book + election year + Roe v Wade anniversary = very stressful.

I listened to The Woman In Me on audio. It’s narrated not by Spears, but by Michelle Williams. At first I wondered how bad Spears’ narration could be for her not to perform her own book, but after listening to her read the prologue, I get it. She’s not a good narrator. Williams does a great job; there were many times when I forgot that I wasn’t actually listening to Spears.

The Woman In Me was the 1st book of 2024 and satisfies the Big Book of 2023 category of the 2024 EDIWTB Reading Challenge.