cover image The Woman in Me

The Woman in Me

Britney Spears. Gallery, $32.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-66800-904-8

Pop star Spears recounts her rise to superstardom and the suffering she endured during her 13-year conservatorship in this chatty and sometimes searing debut memoir. The time frame spans from Spears’s childhood in Louisiana in the 1980s to the final stages of the “Free Britney” movement in 2021, with stops in Vegas and at the VMAs in between, and the focus remains squarely on Spears’s lack of control—over her fraying family of origin, her public image, and eventually, her own life. Key revelations include the at-home abortion Spears underwent at the urging of then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, the casual drinking she engaged in with her mother as a young teen (even as her father was gripped by alcoholism), and the sordid details of the rehab stints she endured at the behest of her father, who insisted she wasn’t mentally well enough to drink coffee or drive a car even as he profited from the Las Vegas residencies he signed her up for. There’s plenty of standard-issue celeb memoir name dropping—meetings with Madonna, parties with Lenny Kravitz—but the prevailing tone is more shell-shocked than glamorous. Spears recalls hiding in cupboards when she felt overwhelmed as a child and a debilitating bout of social anxiety at the height of her career, coming across more often as a fun-loving lost lamb than a remote cultural titan. The result is affecting, infuriating, and easy to gulp down in a single sitting. (Oct.)