Compelling ... She’s well aware of her circumstances, and her memoir reads like a long exhale. As if by chronicling the trauma she’s experienced she is finally able to let it go, or perhaps burn it all down ... It’s not a particularly uplifting read, though relief and rebellion course through it ... Much has been made of the 'bombshell' revelations from this memoir...but vastly more interesting are the quiet revelations about herself ... The second half of The Woman in Me, which details Spears’ years in the conservatorship, reads like a feminist horror story — Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Goth classic The Yellow Wallpaper come to sinister life ... Deeply chilling.
What Spears fills in, in prose that is chatty and confiding and occasionally salty, is the ongoing thrum of family dysfunction and fear ... Throughout the book, Spears repeatedly portrays her relationship to creativity as a kind of pure soul connection, a private communion with godliness independent of outside forces and opinion. Details on the actual salient process of music-making, though, are scant ... The mostly linear narrative in “The Woman In Me” tends to treat these moments and many other well-documented highlights of her career as passing or ancillary, a distant cacophony muffled by the much louder noise of her personal struggles. Still, the facts of it are presented so cleanly and candidly that Woman seems designed to be read in one sitting. It’s nearly impossible to come out of it without empathy for and real outrage on behalf of Spears ... As freely confessional and often furious as it is, The Woman in Me isn’t quite the blazing feminist manifesto that some witnesses to history may have wanted Spears to write, nor the kind of granular, completist portrait-of-an-artist autobiography that others have dutifully supplied in the past. It could be argued, though, that she never stopped telling us who she was.
The buzzy memoir presents the facts of Spears' life in a strikingly straightforward manner, delivering even the most harrowing passages in a casual, conversational tone. By sharing her story in unemotional terms, Spears creates distance between herself and the childish, incapable image of her proliferated by her conservatorship ... Moving ... Moments of introspection are fleeting. The book leaves the reader with the sense that she hasn't yet totally figured out who she is. Ultimately, what is clear is that Britney Spears is a woman recovering from trauma. And we ought to give her the space to do so.