Book Review: Being Britney by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike

It’s Britney, bitch.

Blurb

With her canon of best-selling singles, electrifying stage performances and iconic music videos, Britney Spears is undoubtedly a modern pop superstar. But her story has long been clouded by society’s dark obsession with beauty, youth and fame – a relentless glare that has threatened to eclipse her musical success.

A mother, an entrepreneur; a victim, a fighter; an entertainer, an enigma – Britney’s life is as multi-faceted as the very contradictions, pressures and expectations that helped create her. Yet, beyond the eye-catching headlines and front-page fodder, an almost indecipherable question remains: who is the real Britney? 

Part biography, part social history, Being Britneypieces together a collage of vignettes, stories, interviews, legends and fan experiences to construct a definitive portrait of the artist and her complex, far-reaching orbit. Written by acclaimed music author Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, this unique narrative is the first to provide a sympathetic yet objective re-examination of Britney’s cultural impact in the wake of major collective shifts surrounding feminism, celebrity and mental health.

Being Britney book cover

Review

I got caught up in the #FreeBritney hype and the new documentaries released about her struggle, and therefore thought this book was the next logical step in my consumption. At most I was expecting a rehash of what was in the documentaries and a nice audiobook to fall asleep to. Being Britney was so much more.

For one, I loved that the author wasn’t biased. She discussed when Britney was hard done by, and also when Britney herself was possibly manipulating the media. She sticks to the facts and doesn’t allow personal bias to skew the flow of the book. The author also doesn’t stick to the conservatorship element of Britney’s life.

What I enjoyed most about this book was how it opened my eyes more to the world of Britney Spears. I have always been a big fan but I was just a child at the peak of Britney’s fame. Until I read this book I never realised how huge a superstar she was/is. I also wasn’t aware of much she was scrutinised as an artists and a person, and pitted against the other pop princesses of the time (often unfairly and untruly) to sell more papers. Therefore, the blurb of this book is 100% accurate. This isn’t just the story of Britney Spears but the story of society at the time, especially in regards to the treatment of women.

Being Britney was a shock read for me; way better than I had ever expected. If you have any interest in the star at all, I recommend picking up a copy of the book here.

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