Being Britney, Jennifer Otter Bickerdike’s biography-cum-social-history of the world’s biggest pop star, was coincidentally published just as news broke that its subject had been freed from her draconian decade-long conservatorship.
It’s the good-news headline we all needed in 2021, but as Otter Bickerdike was writing before it broke, her book actually contains very little about it. So, if that’s the story you’re looking for, you’re going to need to find a different book.
Luckily, when I opened up my copy (kindly sent to me by the team at Nine Eight Books via Allen & Unwin), I was hoping for a nuanced analysis of Britney’s key career milestones, contextualising her career – in the vein of Sarah Smarsh’s She Come By It Natural, which did the same for Dolly Parton. That’s exactly what I got.
Otter Bickerdike reflects on Britney as “both a creator and a creation”, looking at the collective pressures that formed a diamond.
This was a quick and fascinating read that I would recommend to anyone interested in the current shifts in celebrity culture.