Title: Through the storm
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 16, 2008)
hmmm…what can I say about this book. Let’s start with what I already knew and what is it that I know now.
What the book is about: This book is an autobiography of Britney Spears mother, Lynne Spears. As the front cover put’s it, the book is ‘A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid’.
What I already knew: Whether you like Britney Spears or not, no one can deny that almost everyone knows her. I knew a little about her career graph, her breakup with Justin, her first marriage fiasco, her second marriage to Kevin and also that she has 2 sons. Recently I read that her younger sister Jamie was pregnant (I didn’t know she was in showbiz too) I had read a little on Sam Mufti but wasn’t too familiar with him and his relationship with Britney. I liked Britney and I do like her even now (I know). There is something about her that does not make me hate or dislike her. I just feel really bad about her life and what it has become.
My impressions on the book: When you read a memoir or an autobiography it is very difficult to separate the person from the book. Judging the book is judging the person writing it. I’ll try not to but it might be a little difficult here.
When I saw Britney’s shaved head splashing on the television all I could think was, ‘poor girl, why is she doing this? Where is her family?’ Specifically, ‘Where is her mother?’.
I knew absolutely nothing about her mother. This book is more about her life and how she faced the difficult times. She clears at the beginning of the book that this book does not contain any gossip. I did not start this book in intention of getting any inside scoop, I just wanted to know how an extremely successful pop star who had everything could throw away her life like this. As I said I really like Britney Spears.
Lynne Spears was born in a small town in Kentwood, Louisiana. She was very close to her mom who was a war bride from London. I think she had one sister Sandra and a brother Sonny. There is in fact a lot on Sandra in the book. Lynne married Jamie Spears and gave birth to Brian after a short time. After that she had Britney and 10 years later, an unplanned child Jamie Lynn(named after herself and her husband).
Jamie was an on-off alcoholic and Lynne had to struggle with managing the finances and also worrying about her relationship with her husband. Although I have read a lot of reviews which said she tried to blame Jamie for many things that went wrong, I don’t see it that way. Living with an alcoholic is very difficult and something that has permanent consequences on any family. I don’t think there was a blame game as far as Jamie was concerned.
Britney was very talented and loved performing since she was really young. Although the tabloids said she was a stage mom and wanted to gain fame and wealth through her daughter, Lynne Spears denies it. She says she never pushed her daughter into something she didn’t want to do. As she puts it, ‘doors opened and we just walked in’. As Britney became famous after her single ‘baby one more time’, she lost control of her daughter. She left everything to Britney’s managers and the record company.
After a while, she and Britney were estranged. She does not really go much into why and how. When Sam Mufti came into the picture she decided to take control of the situation with the help of her husband persuaded the court to put a restraining order on him. I felt really uncomfortable and sad after reading the section on Sam Mufti. I never liked him in the first place and reading the book has intensified my dislike.
Lynne does not give any more information on Britney than the tabloids did and that’s something I really liked about the book. She has also written some really disturbing incidents concerning the media which were really shocking. She says although she knew fame comes with a price, she didn’t know how big the price would be.
Conclusion: This book is a good reminder of what a perfectly normal, close knit family from a rural American town can go through when they are thrown into sudden fame and scrutiny. I think the real purpose in writing this book was to clear her side of the things (although Lynne says it isn’t), but that’s how the book comes across. From the way I see it, Lynne and her family was incapable of handling the package that fame comes in. The only accusation I’ll throw on her after reading the book is being too passive and naive. She trusted other people and even her daughters too much. I think she did her best with whatever she had and the only way she knew how to. I have a more compassion towards Britney and her family now and I really hope that Britney manages to come out of it.
P.S: The writing is bad but the book is an easy read, good to breeze through.