Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, recently had a post on his blog dealing with his decision to publish Through The Storm, a non-fiction book by the mother of Britney Spears. I’ll admit that I was somewhat surprised that a Christian publisher would do this, but since I hadn’t read the book I was willing to withhold judgment. Then Michael made an offer I couldn’t refuse. If I agreed to read the book, then post a review on my blog and on Amazon, he’d send me a copy. I did, he did, and this is the result.
If you’re planning to read this book to learn more about Britney Spears, you’ll be disappointed. The majority of the material deals with Lynne Spears, her own upbringing and background, her troubled marriage, the way she tried to bring up her children only to be alternately thrilled and disappointed. This isn’t a look inside the life of Britney Spears, nor a revelation of the factors that account for her substance abuse, weird behavior, and marital break-up. Rather, it’s about the roller coaster of emotions a mother goes through dealing with all these things along with the dissolution of her marriage to an alcoholic husband and the loss of her beloved sister.
Some parts of the book struck me as attempts on Lynne’s part to justify her behavior or that of her daughter. Some of the reasons assigned for their actions seemed to be a stretch. And a few of the passages meant to demonstrate Lynne’s faith appeared to me to be a bit forced. But that’s just my opinion. Maybe that’s just the way it came out.
The writing could be better. The book is laden with clichés, including, for example, several uses of the phrase “little did we know.” I have no idea how much of the book writer Lorilee Craker actually wrote and how many of the words are Lynne’s, but I can’t imagine a professional writer penning the words, “When Britney left home for the first time, I felt a deep pit in my stomach.”
The chronology was a bit difficult to follow. For instance, it was sometimes hard for me to know whether Lynne and her husband Jamie were divorced or together at any particular time in the story. Then again, they had an on-again, off-again relationship so maybe that’s the way it lived out.
I’m not a Britney Spears fan, so this book held no attraction for me in that regard. Would I have bought it? Probably not. Should you buy it? Depends on your circumstances. For instance, if you’re a parent whose children have disappointed you in some way or another, perhaps this book will encourage you as it says, “See, someone else has suffered the way you’re suffering—suffered even more publicly.” If it does that, and if it imparts a Christian message to some of the readers, I suspect it will have done what Michael Hyatt and the folks at Nelson hoped it would.
Michael, thank you for making the book available to me and for inviting reviews, even if they're lukewarm, such as this one.
To my regular readers, come back on Thursday, when I'll be interviewing Brandilyn Collins about a number of things: what she took away from this year's ACFW, her latest novel, the YA series she co-authored with her daughter, Amberly, and the infamous ski-mobile ankle injury.