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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Britney Inside The Dream, The Biography by Steve Dennis: Review

I have always been a huge fan of Britney Spears, ever since her first hit single 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' came out. But though I am fascinated with biographies, autobiographies and memoirs, I had never read any book on Britney (I realised this only now!). So when I saw a copy of Britney Inside The Dream, A Biography by Steve Dennis, I scanned through the first few pages and immediately knew that I wanted to read all of it.

Details About The Book:
Title: Britney Inside The Dream, A Biography
Genre: Biography
Author: Steve Dennis
Publishers: Harper Collins
Book Type: Paperback
No. Of Pages: 402

The book begins with a detailed look into Britney's hometown, Kentwood. As the author travels to the small town where Britney grew up with her family among a closely-knit social circle, the readeer gets a glimpse into the world that was Britney's as she was growing up. There is a detailed description of the place and its people, and the beliefs they have, and this actually helps in a better understanding of Britney as a person, and not just as a celebrity.

While most articles or news pieces I have read about Britney have only always been based around her performances and the many 'problems' she has faced, this is the first time I read about Britney the little girl, suddenly growing up into this child-woman who has been forced to lead this life of a 'celebrity', what with her success that came at a very young age. While many will argue or say that this was what Britney or her family had always wanted, that is not entirely true. If you read the book, you will understand the psyche of Britney and her family, the simple-mindedness of these people who originally come from very humble and middle-class backgrounds, and success for them was a completely different concept, not what it really turned out to be.

For Britney, her passion had always been singing and dancing. And it was in order to take this passion to a newer level that she tried her luck at the hugely-popular Mouseketeer audition. It is heart-warming to read about a shy and timid Britney being taken through the rounds of audition. And her natural talent shining the moment she would be on stage. Ever since she was a child, Britney had deep faith in God, so much so that she had a prayer diary, in which she used to write out her prayers each night before going to bed. Britney firmly believed that there was a God up there watching her, and that she could tell him all she wanted, and he would protect her. She was also of the belief that adults would always have her best interests in mind, and that she should always listen to her elders and respect them. This belief never really left her, as she continued to do what she was told, whether during her performances, during her rehearsals, or her many commercials and shoots. Even as the world was labeling her as this teenager who was trying hard to look all 'grown up' and seduce, and projecting this on-screen image on her 'real' self, in reality, Britney found it increasingly hard to understand why people couldn't differentiate between 'performance' and 'reality.'

Britney never really believed in promoting herself, her idea being that her performances would speak for themselves. She also did not believe in talking to the media and agreeing or disagreeing to what was being written or said about her. As much as I have loved Britney and the music she makes, it was heart-rending to see the media constantly harass this girl, this young woman, this heartbroken lover, this new bride, this young mother, and then the young single mother with two sons, and a divorcee. The constant media glare in her life and everything she did was a sad repeat of how the media and paparazzi can make even a 'normal' person into an aberration, something which they otherwise are not.

The disastrous 2007 comeback performance 

The comeback performance of 2007 was one that was going to bring Britney back into the limelight, in a way she was used to being, as the best performer ever. And her dedication till before the performance was nothing short of a 100%. The owner of Millennium, where she would practice her rehearsals, said that in late 2007, Britney would come in with no makeup and slip quietly into the back of the class, taking regular dance classes just like the other students. The students just couldn't believe it and kept asking each other 'is that really Britney?' Britney knew how important this concert was for her. After going through a shattering breakup, going through a messy divorce and being labelled a 'bad' mother, going through custody battles, the head-shaving incident, rehab and many other such 'incidents', she knew she had what it takes to be the best, and she wanted to prove it to the world all over again.

Britney with the awards after her 2008 comeback
Though the 2007 comeback performance ended in disaster, her comeback in 2008 was for all to see, with Britney sweeping away most of the awards.

It takes merely a few minutes to label someone, to judge a person, but what most people do not understand is that this constant criticism without really understanding any of the background or knowing what really happened, can hurt someone to an extent that we may not fully comprehend. Britney is what she is, she is still very much a young girl at heart, a girl looking for love, waiting to be loved, not judged, a girl who doesn't want to live her like a robot, but who wants friends to love her, to appreciate her, and most of all, she wants to be the simple Britney that she always was, and to just perform the way she loves, without the pressure of constantly having to prove herself.

Like she said in one of her interviews when asked that she seemed lonely: 'You know what. I am the loneliest person in the world.'    

My only disappointment with this book is that it doesn't have more personal and real pictures. All pictures are regular pictures of her performances and other media pictures that we have seen countless times, so there is nothing new in that at all.

I give this book 05 hearts. An awesome read. A MUST-READ!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

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