In her new memoir, Britney Spears revealed what was going on behind years of dazzling performances and worldwide fame — and it was certainly toxic.

Spears’ memoir, titled “The Woman in Me,” released Tuesday. In it, she describes the trauma she endured during her early life growing up in Louisiana and the years she spent in an abusive conservatorship controlled by her family. 

Spears’ circumstances were certainly not easy, and the combination of raw emotion and self-reflection in her new memoir makes it a disturbing, captivating read.  

While reading nearly every chapter of the 288-page book, my eyes went wide with shock or I gasped in reaction to the horrific ways Spears was treated throughout her life. Every time I felt like things were going in a positive direction, someone seemed to stab her deep in the back. 

First it was Justin Timberlake pressuring her to have an abortion, then her ex-husband Kevin Federline claiming she cheated on him and barring her from seeing her two young sons and then her family manipulated her for years like a doll on strings. The star just couldn’t catch a break.  

Spears recounts the way she felt trapped by fame and heavily sexualized by the media. Her physical beauty was everything to the press and became the focus of almost every interview she did for years. 

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The memoir’s main focus is the ridicule she experienced under her court-ordered conservatorship, which stripped her of basic human rights and placed her entire well-being in the hands of her father — the same alcoholic father she feared as a child. Spears spent 13 years under the conservatorship and lost all input on her financial, career or personal decisions during that time.

The abuse Spears was subjected to under the conservatorship is sickening. As I learned about it, I found myself constantly wishing she would fight back, even though it was clear she was both legally and emotionally trapped. 

While the language in the memoir is fairly simple, I think it adds to the story’s clarity. Reading the memoir felt like I was talking to Spears over a casual lunch as she rehashed the secrets of her life story to a close friend. This made the book feel fast-paced despite its heavy subject matter.

Spears not only explained details from her past, but also described how she has grown from the horrible experiences she’s faced and the lessons she learned along the way. It was interesting to see her thought process and the positive lessons she has taken from such dreadful situations.  It amazes me how hopeful she is despite the pain she endured for years. 

“I’m just being myself and trying to heal. I finally get to do what I want, when I want. And I don’t take a minute of it for granted,” Spears said in the last chapter of her book.

The star also makes her appreciation for her fans very clear by explaining how much the viral #FreeBritney movement meant to her. The movement united fans around the world in bringing awareness to the circumstances of Spears’ conservatorship.

I found it admirable that Spears doesn’t shy away from addressing her well-known sister, Jamie Lynn Spears. While she certainly does not hold back on highlighting the many negatives of their relationship, she also says she loves her and wishes the best for her family.

Towards the end, Spears explains what her newfound freedom means to her and addresses the odd social media posts that have had fans questioning her existence. Many fans have created

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theories that the posts on Spears’ Instagram is a deep fake or a body double. Other fans have speculated that her hand signals in certain dances are a call for help.

This worry from fans is understandable, as they have often tried to give Spears a voice when she was silenced. However, Spears explains that she enjoys posting goofy videos and “playing dress-up on Instagram” even if people think it’s weird. To me this makes perfect sense because while her page is certainly a bit abnormal, she is just working to rediscover her identity and love herself again after years of manipulation. 

This memoir was certainly an emotional rollercoaster and almost everyone I talked to about it asked me the same question: “Do you believe her?”

My answer is yes. The level of vulnerability Spears’ displayed in her memoir leaves me with no questions about her honesty. She admits to her wrongdoings, she explains everything about her life — even the controversial moments that have been blasted all over social media for years — and she unapologetically recounts the details of what she thought and felt during the time. 

I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to anyone who is even slightly interested in learning about the truth and the pain, behind Spears’ years in the public eye.