Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Lynne Spears/THROUGH THE STORM
Lynne Spears warns in the introduction of her book that it's not a "juicy tell-all," and the truth is that readers won't be privileged to much inside information on her famous daughters, Britney and Jamie Lynn. Instead, this memoir tells the story of a relatable woman dealing with both the ordinary and extrordinary challenges of raising her famous children.
The first half of the book paints a picture of a simple life in the South--complete with crawdad cookouts--punctuated by the grief of living with an alcoholic husband and keeping creditors at bay. Some of Britney's early experiences with audtions and talent shows are mentioned, and Spears often asserts that she never pushed her daughter into show business and never guessed at the level of fame Britney would attain. She spends much time alluding to the hardships that would come later, but most of the early chapters of the book focus on Lynne Spears' personal ups and downs dealing with ailing family members and the task of raising three children alongside an alcoholic husband.
The rest of the book discusses how Spears and her family have dealt with the whirlwind of fame. Spears touches on experiences with Britney's budding career, admitting her own naivete at handling her daughter's rise to fame. For example, she allowed Rolling Stone to do a photo shoot in Britney's bedroom and then was shocked to find that instead of taking pictures of Britney amid her stuffed animals and posters, the photographer was capturing shots of the then seventeen-year-old in a bra and hot pants. Spears also discusses younger daughter Jamie Lynn's rise and fall, which culminates in the teen's pregnancy.
While most of the book is surprisingly quiet, revealing no real shocking details, it reaches a page-turning climax with Spears' recounting of the flurry of events surrounding Britney's forced institutionalizations. Spears chronicles the disturbing influence of Sam Lutfi, a paparazzo who supposedly had Britney under lock and key and even want so far as to allegedly crush perscription pills and put them in Britney's food.
Overall, Spears comes across as a likeable women telling her story in a quaint, come-sit-on-the-porch-and-listen-a-while kind of way. She defends the role she has played in her daughters's careers but also admits her faults as a mother and emphasizes her faith. One of the appeals of the book is that Spears makes her story sound like it could have happened to anyone. Ultimately, the spirit of the book is captured in a suprising wish Spears has for daughter Britney: to throw off the "breathy, super-produced pop-voice given to her by record producers" and regain her "strong, true voice again, in more ways than one."
Read an excerpt here.