I’ve been a fan of Britney Spears since I was able to talk. There are countless home videos of four-year-old me running around the house singing “Toxic,” and I’m pretty sure I had a stuffed yellow snake I would perform with. Spears was everything to me, along with every other girl I grew up with. Anyone who was on the internet in 2021 knew about the “Free Britney” movement. Since her conservatorship ended in 2021, I have been waiting for Spears to finally give us the truth, so as soon as her new memoir, The Woman in Me, was announced, I sprinted to the preorder page.
This book was nothing like I expected, but everything I wanted. It doesn’t feel like your run-of-the-mill autobiography, full of minor stories that everyone enjoys but no one really cares about. This memoir feels like you’re sitting down with an old friend, having a full debrief session over drinks. It’s like reading someone’s diary – intimate and beautifully unorganized. Spears is giving us her side of the story on so many of her iconic pop culture moments. And after reading her story, I find it hard to understand why we were listening to anyone else’s side.
The chapters about her relationship with Justin Timberlake were absolutely mind-blowing. It felt like I was talking to an older sister, warning me about the danger of boys. My heart ached for Spears when she talked about feeling “clinically in shock” from the sudden breakup with Timberlake. Spears was “pathetically in love” with him, and hearing how happy their crazy red carpet outfits and cute paparazzi photos made her feel made all the bad parts of their relationship that much harder to read about.
Finding out about Spears’ forced at-home abortion was not only heartbreaking but absolutely shell-shocking to the entire internet. She talks about the lengths Timberlake went to in order to keep the pregnancy a secret, through ordering at-home abortion pills to their house in Orlando. She recounts the moment of laying on her bathroom floor, sobbing and screaming in pain. Timberlake broke up with Spears two weeks later.
Spears gives us a new look into all of her iconic career moments, including the infamous shaved head. I remember when it happened, many parents used her picture as a cautionary tale about the misuse of drugs and alcohol. So, finding out that she did it as retaliation because someone took her kids away from her was eye-opening, to say the least. After knowing what had happened leading up to Spears shaving her head, I’m surprised that she didn’t do something more drastic. I loved the message from a friend of hers: “If someone took my baby away from me, I would have done a lot more than get a haircut. I would have burned the city to the ground.”
As a fan of Spears, this book has been a long time coming. I had been waiting to hear about her life in her own words, and this book gave me everything I wanted and more. I hope she can feel all the love and support surrounding this release, and I hope this book helps whoever needs it, including Spears herself, on the road to healing.