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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Britney Spears’s “The Woman in Me” offers up a collection of fragmentary thoughts that, despite their lack of emotional depth, hook the reader

The+cover+of+Spearss+autobiography%2C+The+Woman+in+Me.
The cover of Spears’s autobiography, “The Woman in Me.”

Britney Spears’s autobiography, The Woman in Me, was an amateurly compiled collection of thoughts.

Though I wasn’t initially planning on reading Spears’s self-written story, after stumbling across it on a thrift store’s shelf, I decided to give the book a try. The topic had interested me since first hearing about her infamous conservatorship from a car ride podcast three years ago, so I figured her book would offer up an interesting first-person account of the scandal. 

For those unfamiliar, Spears lived under a conservatorship controlled by her family in which she had many of her basic rights stripped away from her for 13 years. Her father initiated the situation in the name of Spears being “unable to handle her personal and financial affairs,” though she was lucid and independent at the time. 

I found reading Spears’s perspective on her tragedy to be intriguing; the personal account unquestionably evokes feelings of sympathy in the reader. Solely reading about her afflictions, I became angry with Spears’s family and the way they treated her. Throughout the book, Spears portrays her father as abusive and power-hungry and her mother as exploitative of her pop-star daughter, showing how she didn’t always have a family she could rely on.

Even though Spears defended her actions regarding the conservatorship situation by emphasizing the horrible behavior of her family and her past trauma, I couldn’t help but be a bit frustrated with the pop star herself. In no way would I consider her mistreatment to be her fault, but I think that, at times, she seemed to be a bit too passive about her prisoner status. Upon reading, I couldn’t help wondering, why didn’t she fight harder to escape the conservatorship?

Spears wrote about her people-pleasing tendencies and social anxiety—part of the reason why she was, initially, more complacent with her stripped-away rights. I did sympathize with Spears, yet, this surprised me, because one wouldn’t think that a global music phenomenon would have as intense of a dislike for social settings as Spears does. 

One of the main reasons her book was intriguing was undoubtedly due to the abundance of family drama and withheld grudges she dished out. Upon scrolling through Goodreads after finishing the book, one user pointed out that it seemed like the book was written too close to the end of her conservatorship in 2021—that the events were too fresh in her mind to offer a book of carefully composed perspective

Perhaps, if she had written it after having a few more years of reflection, the book would have offered a more detached point of view, one not as bitter. Although, of course, Spears is perfectly entitled to her anger, I think the book could have benefitted from being written from a more composed perspective. 

Although the autobiography’s content offered substantial entertainment, I have few positive remarks concerning the actual writing craft itself. 

Upon reading, I couldn’t help wondering, why didn’t she fight harder to escape the conservatorship?

I understand that Spears’s specialty is being a performer and that she never received a formal education to become a writer, but, nonetheless, the book was poorly crafted. Even with a ghostwriter, the story often lacked organization or logical structure. 

A major issue I noticed across chapters was the plethora of random anecdotes from her personal life or childhood that had no apparent connection to the overall story. The most clear in my memory comes from one of the earliest chapters when she discusses a crush she had on a basketball player in her high school, and then proceeds to never mention him again or explain any relevance he had in her life.

It seemed to me that if her anecdotes weren’t random, then they attempted to create metaphors to relate to her conservatorship in a way that felt extremely unnatural. Metaphors that, put most kindly, a middle school student likely could have constructed themselves. I recognize that Spears was trying to pull from some of her early memories and create an insightful work of literature, but the story would’ve benefitted from only a few well-constructed metaphors, rather than a copious amount of subpar ones. 

Spears, in addition, seemed to have a particular affinity for hyperboles, as it seemed that every page was frequented with sentences like, “it was my favorite place in the entire world” or “I was always there.” While they may have been true, with how much she used absolute statements, they lost their impact and believability. 

Perhaps my biggest grievance with the book, however, was its rudimentary design. Again, I understand that Spears is not a professional writer, but the vast majority of the book was composed of basic sentences and surface-level content. Her unadorned vocabulary, mixed with the content’s lack of emotional depth, made for an unchallenging read, one that I didn’t feel like I gained much from. 

Altogether, The Woman in Me was not a thought-provoking or groundbreaking piece of literature that I would read again. However, it was a light read that offered a personal account of Spears’s conservatorship scandal, keeping me entertained throughout the story’s course. I hope that, should Spears choose to write another book, she will allow adequate time to reflect on her life’s events and practice her writing craft, and, only then, begin to tell her story.

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About the Contributor
Elle Manning
Elle Manning, Staff Writer
Elle is a sophomore beginning her first year on The Central Trend. She loves to read novels, create extravagant Pinterest boards, and journal in her seemingly scarce free time. Her biggest passions include writing and fashion, and she hopes to one day be able to combine the two into a future career. She has been a cheerleader since fourth grade and continues to spend her time on the sidelines every football season. In the spring, she enjoys playing tennis, even though she is still learning. She is often found with Spotify open; she loves to listen to music from a variety of different genres and decades. Most recent musical fixation: Weyes Blood Dream school: Columbia University Favorite book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Favorite comfort films: All of The Twilight Saga (primarily the first two movies)

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