Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World

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Overview

We all want our children to succeed. What happens when they do?

Britney Spears wanted to sing ever since she was a little girl. But the years of sacrifices, auditions, performances, albums, fame, and paparazzi left the little Louisiana family swept up and spun around, and nothing turned out the way anyone ever imagined or wanted. Now Lynne shares the inside story of the Spears family as only a mother can.

Through the Storm takes readers outside...

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Overview

We all want our children to succeed. What happens when they do?

Britney Spears wanted to sing ever since she was a little girl. But the years of sacrifices, auditions, performances, albums, fame, and paparazzi left the little Louisiana family swept up and spun around, and nothing turned out the way anyone ever imagined or wanted. Now Lynne shares the inside story of the Spears family as only a mother can.

Through the Storm takes readers outside the narrow orbit of the Hollywood glitterati. Lynne shares how fame forever changed their family; her regrets letting managers, agents, and record companies direct the lives of her children; the challenges that shaped Lynne and Jamie’s failed marriage and how they affected Bryan, Britney, and Jamie Lynn; the startling events that led to Britney’s breakdown; the aftermath of Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy; and how the family has tried pulling together to recapture a sense of hope and purpose.

Through the Storm, says Lynne, is "the story of one simple Southern woman whose family got caught in a tornado called fame, and who is still trying to sort through the debris scattered all over her life in the aftermath. It’s who I am, warts and all, with some true confessions that took a long time to get up the nerve to discuss."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595551566
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/16/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 9.04 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Irene Bridges Spears has a degree in elementary education from Southeastern Louisiana University. Shehas three children: Bryan James, Britney Jean, and Jamie Lynn. Spears coauthored the novel A Mother's Gift with her daughter, Britney.

Lorilee Craker is the author of11 books, including the New York Times best seller Through the Storm with Lynne Spears. When not shuttling her three children to hockey, gymnastics, and everywhere in between,Lorileemoonlights asan entertainment and features writer for the Grand Rapids Press in Grand Rapids,MI,and has written for magazines such as Parents and Parent and Child.

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Read an Excerpt

THROUGH the STORM

A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World
By LYNNE SPEARS LORILEE CRAKER

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2008 Lynne Spears
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-6735-4


Chapter One

From There to Here

I remember one night in 2000, when Britney was on stage, wearing a beautiful, glittery costume and singing to the rafters of a packed-out arena. Thousands of lighters were flickering all over the room, held by music fans who we re swaying and singing along to every lyric of every song.

Something about that scene reminded me, somehow, of the first time Britney was ever on any kind of a stage, as a shy little girl of four, with her head cocked to the side and her hands clasped. It was at the Christmas program of the day care I owned and operated, and she was singing "What Child Is This?" in her tiny angel voice.

How did we ever get from there to here?

Her dreams had come true, beyond her wildest imagination, and now she was up on this huge stage, sharing her gift with so many people. It was such a golden time. My heart swelled with pride, not only for her, but for her siblings as well. Jamie Lynn was just nine years old, doing well in school and thriving with her social life with her friends. Bryan, my oldest, was in New York City, proving himself as a businessman, making new friends, and becoming the man I knew he could be.

My children's dreams were coming true, and so, in a way, were mine. My marriage had ended, and with it years of pain and shame. I was free of all that for the first time in twenty-four years, and it felt amazing. Britney was building me a big, beautiful home, prettier and more grandiose than anything I ever imagined I would have. The two of us had traveled to some fantastic, exotic locations and had such wonderful times together.

I was on top of the world.

And then things came tumbling down.

It's hard to believe things can change so drastically in seven short years. In January 2007, my sister died, and two weeks later, I got a call that would irrevocably change my life forever. The caller told me something so shocking, so disturbing, I could barely believe that it was true. But soon enough, I was to see the evidence with my own two eyes. I wanted to be in denial, but I couldn't deny the video footage unfolding in front of me. It was Britney, and she was shaving off her beautiful hair. All I could think of was, How can this be? She used to be the happiest little girl in the world.

To see that girl, with such despondency in her eyes ... it broke my heart in a million pieces. My world was crumbling around me. And once again, I wondered, How did we ever get from there to here?

Chapter Two

Kentwood

My sister, Sandra, did not have her official driver's license when we used to go driving together, she at the wheel and me riding shotgun, cracking gum and letting the wind blow through my hair. We were country girls, through and through. In those days in rural places it was common to have twelve-, thirteen-, and fourteen-year-olds tooling around back roads and even town streets in their daddies' cars.

When Sandra was about fifteen, Mama sent her to Kentwood to get some groceries, and as usual, I was her wing woman. Sandra was quite responsible and a good driver-for a fifteen-year-old!-but that day she hit another car, and not just any car either, a gleaming Cadillac with a boat hooked up to the back of it. Neither of us was hurt, but when Daddy found out, he was livid.

"You couldn't have hit a beat-up old Ford pickup, could you?" He stormed and sputtered. "Nooo. You had to go and hit a Cadillac with a boat hookup!"

Sandra was in the doghouse forever.

Daddy never forgot that wreck. Countless times before Sandra was about to step out the door and go someplace, he would throw in his two cents: "Sandra, be careful. Watch what you're doing. I don't want you to go hitting another Cadillac, now. You take care of yourself, because I don't want to lose you!"

With everything that happened in my life after I became an adult and a mother, I'm grateful my heart was not hardened to those beautiful times, although I doubt beautiful is the word my daddy would have used at the time. Expensive was more like it. Now that Sandra is gone, these memories bring healing and comfort, tears and laughter. I can still see her face when she hit that Cadillac!

When the hard moments and hours of grief threaten to overtake me, these snapshots from our lives together give me strength.

From Malta to Louisiana

Kentwood, Louisiana, is not exactly an exotic destination. There's basically the Kentwood Café, Connie's Jewelers, a bunch of dollar stores, and a Sonic Drive-In, the hub of the community. Everybody knows everybody for generations, and my daddy's people have been in that area as far back as anyone can remember.

But on my mama's side, the family tree is a little more colorful and glamorous. Her father, my grandfather, was Anthony Portelli, who came from the island of Malta. Malta is a small, densely populated nation consisting of seven islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Sicily, east of Tunisia, and north of Libya, in case you were curious. Now you'll know the answer next time you're on a TV quiz show.

Anthony Portelli came to England in the 1920s, married a British girl, and changed his name to Portell. The Portells had two daughters: Joan, my aunt, and Lillian, my mother.

Mama grew up in London, a city she loved and missed until the day she died. I can remember her telling me stories of how she and her family survived the Blitz. In September 1940, the Nazis began their sustained bombing of the United Kingdom by blasting my mother's hometown for fifty-seven nights in a row.

She had a bit of a stubborn streak, and one night during the Blitz, she didn't want to go to the air raid shelter across the street from her house. It was a nasty, dirty, smelly place, she said, and she refused to join her parents and sister, despite their pleading with her to come. It wasn't a good night to test fate, as it turned out. The shelling was so close, the roof of their house was blown right off.

Mama grabbed her beloved dog and ran screaming across the street, with her father yelling, "Run, Lil, run!" She cut her feet running on the broken glass all over the ground, but she made it to the air raid shelter, safe and sound.

It must have been soon after that when my parents met. Daddy was in the United States Army, serving his country overseas during World War II. There were dances in London for the soldiers, and at one such dance, Barney Bridges and Lillian Portell first laid eyes on each other. Mama was lovely, with her father's dark Maltese coloring, and she just sparkled with fun. Daddy was very handsome, too, but he also had an advantage over the other American soldiers: as a driver for the U.S. generals, he had access to some goodies that must have seemed very appealing during the heavy rationing of the day. Essentially, he wooed my mother with candy and cheese, which was apparently effective, because she agreed to marry him.

In Kentwood, a local paper ran a photo of my mother, with her glossy, brown hair and her stylish London clothes. It was notable on the home front that a local dairyman was bringing home a foreign beauty from across the ocean. Thousands of young brides from Europe and Asia streamed into America after the war ended, but in rural Louisiana this was a bit of a first.

Some of those brides arrived on these shores pregnant, and their new American husbands were no-shows. But Barney Bridges was waiting in New Orleans for his bride to fly in from New York City. He was eager to bring his Lillian home. Daddy had bragged to Mama about all the land his family owned, hundreds of acres of Louisiana soil, but as she was to discover in short order, a landowner in England is a far sight from a Southern farmer. There were no lush, manicured lawns in Tangipahoa Parrish, and there certainly was no genteel country estate. There were, however, dirt roads, snakes, and unrelenting heat.

The new Mrs. Lillian Bridges had some adjusting to do, starting immediately. Mama and Daddy drove more than an hour through dark, swampy terrain on their way home from the airport. "Where are all the lights?" she wondered out loud. A city girl to her core, Mama mourned the life she had in London, where she could walk down the street every day for fresh bread and produce. Southern cooking, on the other hand, mandates that everything-and I do mean everything-is fried within an inch of its life. She recalled with a shudder once how her in-laws would cook beans outside in a huge vat, adding chunks of lard by the slotted spoonful.

To Mama, she may as well have been a million miles from all that was comfortable and dear. She was homesick for her parents, her sister, and her country. The poor thing cried every night, and Daddy was at his wit's end trying to make her happy. Inside, she was always the fashionable London lady, yet outwardly she had to play the role of a farmer's wife, stuck in the sticks. But she made it. Mama was married, in love, and resilient, and eventually she was able to walk in step with the strange rhythms of life in her new surroundings. She even enjoyed some aspects of her rural existence, such as feeding the adorable calves. Of course, she always wore the most attractive Wellingtons-what the English call rubber boots-money could buy! Homesick or not, she was determined to make this new life work. And in 1947, she had another reason to sink her roots more deeply into American earth: my sister, Sandra, was born; followed four years later by my brother, Barry; and then, after four more years, me, the baby of the family.

Years later, when I was in high school, our family traveled to England to visit relatives there. During that trip, I met Aunt Joan and Uncle Archie Woolmore for the first time and stayed at their lovely home. I think it was also the first time that I began to grasp just what my mama was missing so dearly on the other side of the ocean.

I remember being full of admiration of the British way of life. Sitting in the Woolmore garden, having tea with my relatives, I gathered that the English valued education and travel, and they felt travel was indeed an integral part of one's education.

Some of my mother's relatives were accomplished musicians, and one great-uncle owned a book-binding company. Engraved in my mind is how quaint and beautiful the great-uncle's garden was as we had tea amid his flowers and shrubbery. Years later, I would pattern the garden of my home based on my memory of that afternoon with the charming English book binder, my mother's uncle.

Someone to Watch Over Me

When Sandra was twelve, and I was just four, I would jump on her back and we would head down to the woods and this wonderful creek that was like something out of a Mark Twain novel. Well, maybe the creek was a little smaller and less grand than the Mississippi, but in my childhood imagination it was just as magnificent.

We'd be joined by a dozen or so of our cousins, who were all more or less Sandra's age. They built rafts with hammers and nails, and I would help in my own little way. There was a huge tree with massive, gnarled limbs that bridged across the water, and we would climb all over it, back and forth. There were snakes everywhere, but Sandra kept a close eye out for them and a close watch on me. Until the day she died, Sandra was someone to watch over me.

Many of you may feel this way about your sisters, but I think that Sandra and I had a singular bond of closeness. One of my earliest memories is Sandra playing dolls with her friends; I was her living doll to dress and boss, and they had to make do with plain plastic dolls.

My big sister was so devoted she even brought me along on a number of her dates. She was a beautiful teenager with hazel eyes and a heart-melting smile, and she had her share of suitors, some of whom were none too pleased with having to share Sandra with the likes of me!

"I just want Lynne to come along with us tonight, that's all," I heard her plead in a whisper to one young man as I sat in the backseat of his car. Who knows, maybe she needed a chaperone on those nights, and I was certainly a less daunting guardian than Mama or Daddy would have been. But I truly think she just wanted me nearby, because we were two peas in a pod.

Family Matters

The dairy was a wonderful place to raise children. Daddy got up at 3:30 or 4:30 a.m. to milk the cows, and by 6:45 there was a big country breakfast on the table, with everyone sitting down to homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon, and cream from the top of the milk pail for coffee. There was no variation to this morning ritual.

In the summer we would run outside and build rafts for the creek and play in tree houses. There were moccasins and rattlesnakes galore, but do you think my parents ever told us to wear shoes? Huck Finn had nothing on us.

There were black widow spiders too. My Grandpa Bridges was bitten once, but I don't want to tell you where! Let's just say it's a piece of family lore that is best left to the imagination.

I loved riding horses. My favorite horse was called Wishbone, because my brother-whom we all call Sonny-wished on a turkey bone at Christmas for a horse. Sonny was just four years older than me, so he and I spent hours together, playing and riding Wishbone. After a good, hard day of play, we'd come in for supper and watch The Andy Griffith Show together.

Mama was the heartbeat of our home. It was immaculate, though we felt comfortable enough to put our feet up, so to speak. But the woman did vacuum every single day. We would tease her about her fastidiousness, because she even had a habit of clearing off the table before we were all finished eating.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I don't mean to rush you," she would say so sweetly in her British accent. "Can I get you something else?" She liked things to be pretty but orderly. Everything was in its place. When she was in housework mode, she could give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money.

My friends oohed and aahed at how she spoke and how pretty she was. Mama had thick, dark-brown hair, and she always kept it styled and lovely, no small feat for a fifties farmwife in rural Louisiana. I always wished I had picked up her elegant accent. She would laugh at me when I'd imitate her speech, and do you know she even had a ladylike laugh? My laugh is so awful it could peel paint.

One thing I did adopt from my mother was her love of books. Mama adored reading. History books, biographies, mysteries-she would check them out of the library a pile at a time. Like my mother, I often turn the pages late into the night. It helps me sleep, just as reading always soothed Mama at night too.

Daddy would rather visit with his fellow farmers than poke his nose in a book. He always wished he had a college education, but he had signed up for the army instead. All three of us kids attended college, Sandra for three years and Sonny and I for four. My brother and I both received bachelor's degrees-he in agriculture, and I in education-and in no small measure the credit goes to Daddy for gently pushing us toward college and instilling in us the value of learning.

Born Barnett Bridges, Daddy changed his name legally to Barney Oldfield Bridges, in honor of the race car driver and pioneer, Bern "Barney" Eli Oldfield, who died in 1946 and was the first man to drive a car at sixty miles per hour. In the thirties, when Daddy was coming of age, apparently there was a saying going around. If you were behind the wheel, zooming around like a speed demon, people had a comeback for you: "Who do you think you are, Barney Oldfield?"

"Daddy, do you know how silly that is?" I would tease him about appropriating his idol's name.

He would blush a little, look away, and smile. But secretly, he probably daydreamed about taking the corners at Daytona with a gleaming, souped-up Fiat or Blitzen Benz, just as his hero-namesake did.

We always had new cars, and Daddy loved to drive. He bragged about never having had a wreck and got such a kick out of telling stories about how his family-Mama, Sandra, Sonny, and me-wreaked havoc on the community by being let loose on the streets. When I play cars with my grandson Preston, who is obsessed with anything motorized, I like to think that boy got his zeal for automobiles from his great-grandfather, Barney O. Bridges.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THROUGH the STORM by LYNNE SPEARS LORILEE CRAKER Copyright © 2008 by Lynne Spears. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................ix
ONE From There to Here....................1
TWO Kentwood....................3
THREE Good-Looking Southern Man....................14
FOUR Close Call....................19
five Wrecking Balls....................23
six Sweet and Bitter....................29
seven Witnessing a Miracle....................34
eight Friendships....................40
nine The Other Woman....................48
ten Britney Starts Singing....................54
eleven Here Comes Jamie Lynn....................61
twelve Teaching....................67
thirteen Why Did I Say Yes?....................72
fourteen Mama....................78
fifteen Mouseketeer Days....................83
sixteen First Taste of Fame....................92
seventeen The Touch of Time....................98
eighteen Rude Awakening....................103
nineteen Calling It Quits....................112
twenty Jamie Lynn's Turn....................118
twenty-one Britney and Kevin....................124
twenty-two Sandra Leaves....................128
twenty-three The Breakdown....................134
twenty-four The Paparazzi....................137
twenty-five My Grandbabies....................149
twenty-six "Mama, I'm Pregnant"....................159
twenty-seven Jerked Around....................165
twenty-eight The General....................172
twenty-nine Breaking the Stranglehold....................181
thirty A Mother's Heart....................186
Epilogue: Sandra's Legacy....................203
Acknowledgments....................207
About the Authors....................211
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Customer Reviews

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( 42 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2010

    Whole New Respect

    I have a whole new respect for Lynne Spears. I'm so glad she shared her story and I took the time to read it. I think sometimes we forget that we are all human as Lynne tries to remind us. She shares her mistakes as a mother of a child growing up in showbiz, mistakes any one of us could make. A foreigner in an industy that is cut-throat, she treads through, trying to appease her daughters and do what she thinks is right. Thanks for telling your story Lynne.

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Book Review of "Through the Storm" by: Lynne Spears & Lorilee Cracker By: Amanda Bradbury

    This is not a tell all book behind Britney Spears' life, but it does offer a lot of insight into her world and her families world and how she journeyed to where she currently is in life. This book was very enlightening and informative about family, friends and life. You will learn a lot more than you think by reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the motherly advice from Lynne Spears. By reading this book you can gain a better understanding of her and her whole family. You get the full story behind her life from beginning up until now. You can see that they are real people, rather than what the media and paparazzi make them out to be. You'll read about their trials and tribulations, hard times and difficult situations and come to realize that they too are not perfect people and that they are in fact just as real as you and me. The overall message of the book is to convey the message of their story and Lynne wrote this book as a tribute and gift for her family, both children and grandchildren. In this book you notice that she is a very spiritual and strong willed southern Christian woman and you can tell that she clearly wants to convey her beliefs and faith to her children and grandchildren. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper look at the real and genuine people of Lynne's family. I am a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson Publishing Company. If you would like to become a book review blogger too go to the following site: brb.thomasnelson.com Also, check out the prodcut page for "Through the Storm" at http://www.brb.thomasnelson.com/blogger/resources/9781595551566

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    hmmm...what can I say about this book. Let's start with what I already knew and what is it that I know now.

    When you read a memoir or an autobiography it is very difficult to separate the person from the book. Judging the book is judging the person writing it. I'll try not to but it might be a little difficult here.

    I knew absolutely nothing about her mother. This book is more about her life and how she faced the difficult times. She clears at the beginning of the book that this book does not contain any gossip. I did not start this book in intention of getting any inside scoop, I just wanted to know how an extremely successful pop star who had everything could throw away her life like this. As I said I really like Britney Spears.

    Lynne Spears was born in a small town in Kentucky, Louisiana. She was very close to her mom who was a war bride from London. I think she had one sister Sandra and a brother Sonny. There is in fact a lot on Sandra in the book. Lynne married Jamie Spears and gave birth to Brian after a short time. After that she had Britney and 10 years later, an unplanned child Jamie Lynn(named after herself and her husband). Jamie was an on-off alcoholic and Lynne had to struggle with managing the finances and also worrying about her relationship with her husband. Although I have read a lot of reviews which said she tried to blame Jamie for many things that went wrong, I don't see it that way. Living with an alcoholic is very difficult and something that has permanent consequences on any family. I don't think there was a blame game as far as Jamie was concerned.

    Britney was very talented and loved performing since she was really young. Although the tabloids said she was a stage mom and wanted to gain fame and wealth through her daughter, Lynne Spears denies it. She says she never pushed her daughter into something she didn't want to do. As she puts it, 'doors opened and we just walked in'. As Britney became famous after her single 'baby one more time', she lost control of her daughter. She left everything to Britney's managers and the record company.

    After a while, she and Britney were estranged. She does not really go much into why and how. When Sam Mufti came into the picture she decided to take control of the situation with the help of her husband persuaded the court to put a restraining order on him. I felt really uncomfortable and sad after reading the section on Sam Mufti. I never liked him in the first place and reading the book has intensified my dislike.

    Lynne does not give any more information on Britney than the tabloids did and that's something I really liked about the book. She has also written some really disturbing incidents concerning the media which were really shocking. She says although she knew fame comes with a price, she didn't know how big the price would be.

    Conclusion: This book is a good reminder of how a perfectly normal, close knit family from a rural American town can go through when they are thrown into sudden fame and scrutiny. I think the real purpose in writing this book was to clear her side of the things (although Lynne says it isn't), but that's how the book comes across. From the way I see it, Lynne and her family was incapable of handling the package that fame comes in. The only accusation I'll throw on her after reading the book is being too passive and naive. I think she did her best with whatever she had and the only way she knew how to. I have more compassion towards Britney and her family now and I really hope that Britney manages to come out of it.

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  • Posted December 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Not your tabloid stuff

    Not too long ago I was given the opportunity to read Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World by Lynne Spears, mother of Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears. <BR/><BR/>I have to admit that I was a bit turned off of the idea of reading about the lives of Britney and Jamie Lynn. We see enough of them in the media these days. Those media hounds just won't leave people alone!<BR/><BR/>I was surprised that the book was NOT all about the girls, but more so Lynne's humble beginnings and their lives BEFORE all the current tabloid stuff got shoved in our faces on a daily basis. It talks about what the Spears family went through and all the ups and downs they experienced before, during and after the fame of their daughters. <BR/><BR/>It is evident in this book that Lynne Spears relies heavily on her faith to get her through the hard times.<BR/><BR/>Lynne talks about not only Britney and Jamie Lynn growing up but she also talks about her siblings and parents, her values, her faith, her hometown and her marriage to Jamie Spears, who is an Alcoholic. She also talks about how the Alcoholism effected the family. <BR/><BR/>You will learn a bit of insight into Britney and Jamie Lynn, and how driven Britney was even at a very young age. If you are looking for tabloid stuff then don't bother reading this book. You won't find any of it here. <BR/><BR/>Lynne also talks about the loss of her sister, which truly affected her deeply. She obviously loved and cared for her sister very much and I felt her pain in her writing. <BR/><BR/>All in all I thought it was a very good book and an interesting read into the lives of the Spears family that the tabloids don't show you. They come across as a typical family. No family is perfect and without "flaws" and the Spears family is just like any other family, except they have two famous daughters. <BR/><BR/>My only real problem with the book is that it doesn't flow well enough for me. It sort of jumps around a lot. It's not really in chronological order, per say.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2008

    An inspiring read about what's really important!

    I first picked up this book to get the real dirt on Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears, two of America's favorite celebrity icons. But what I found hidden in the text of this novel was quite the opposite. There was no juicy gossip on Britney's latest breakdown or new rumors about Jamie Lynn. Instead, I found inspiring words that made my mind drift off and ponder what's really important. The book talks about the ups and downs the family went through before, during, and after fame. Some of the important concepts I came up with based on the themes Lynne Spears wrote about in this book were; the power of faith, the importance of listening to your instincts, and the bond between a family. I enjoyed this book because it discussed topics almost every human being can relate to- the struggle to hang on, the hardships of losing people you love, and most significantly having the courage to go on. Plus, it cleared up some facts about Britney to help heal at least a small part of her damaged reputation. I didn¿t like this book because it only briefly touched base on some things I would have wanted to know a little more about, straight from the source. Things such as what might have brought Britney to shave her head. The main reason why people should read this book is not to learn more about how to become famous or to get facts about the Spears¿ family. But rather to put things in perspective. So many people go about their everyday lives thinking that there will always be tomorrow. Well, this book reminds us that tomorrow might not always come. In that case, we must cherish what we have now. In my opinion this is a 4-star book and worth the read! So, if you like this book another you may want to check out would be ¿A Mother¿s Gift¿ which was co-written by Lynne and Britney Spears. It¿s another heart-warming story about the everlasting bond a mother and daughter share.

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  • Posted November 25, 2008

    Lynne Spears Tells Her Side of the Story

    ¿Through the Storm, A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World¿ by Lynne Spears is an account of Lynne¿s life, seen through her eyes. If you read this book thinking it will give you inside information about Britney or Jamie Lynn Spears, you will be disappointed. Instead, you will learn about Lynne, her parents and siblings, her hometown and its effect on her values, and her marriage. She is very candid about her husband¿s alcoholism and the struggles the family went through. Those of us who grew up in the South, and/or those who have experienced alcoholism in the family will be able to relate to her story. However, most of us can not relate to having a child determined to be a superstar, nor can we imagine what life would look like under the scrutiny of tabloid journalism. Lynne ponders decisions she made in the beginning of Britney¿s career and points out that her image as ¿pushy stage mother¿ is terribly incorrect and unfair¿after all, she was walking in unfamiliar territory. A good part of the book also discusses the paparazzi and their constant surveillance of the Spears family. Was the loss of privacy too big a price to pay for celebrity status? There is no question that Britney¿s stardom affected her entire family. This book is an interesting read; you may walk away feeling sorry for the family.

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  • Posted November 25, 2008

    Through The Storm

    When I first chose to read this book, I honestly didn¿t think it would be very good. We all get tired of hearing about the dreaded life of Britney Spears¿¿what¿s she into now?¿ We all ask. However, once I started reading it, I found it difficult to put it down. Lynne Spears is actually a quite talented story teller. This book gives some first person insight to the ordeal with Britney, as well as with Jamie Lynn¿s pregnancy. It opened my eyes to the things that we the public know nothing about. The media turns things around, and makes up stories that have no merit, and we all know this, but Through The Storm helped me to realize that the things we see in the magazines about Britney are not always true, and we are hardly getting the whole story. Although it is pretty well written, Lynne Spears does tend to bounce around quite a bit. The timeline is off. For example, in the matter of a few paragraphs, she talks about Jamie Lynn as a three year old, then Jamie Lynn as a fifteen year old, then Jamie Lynn as a six year old. The book does not go in chronological order. It is still an interesting story, and it is one of hope and mercy. The main idea of the book is that God loves us, regardless of the paths we choose, and that none of us are perfect. Some of us are just in the spotlight.

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  • Posted November 20, 2008

    Better Than I Expected

    From all of the hype on the news, I expected this book to be 2 things: 1)A Parenting book and 2)A book that dished all of the dirt on Lynne Spears' children. I was thankful to find out that it was neither.<BR/><BR/>This is a book by a woman who wants the world to see her family through her eyes. She wants to have you (the reader) see that she did the best she could with her children and allowed them to be themselves as she walked beside of them in life.<BR/><BR/>She didn't dish out any tabloid style dirt on her children but rather painted them as real people who would like nothing more than to live a normal life without people taking advantage of them. I found myself empathizing with Lynne in her plight to help her children achieve their goals but getting caught up in allowing others to make decisions for them that she either didn't understand or agree with.<BR/><BR/>I found that the book was refreshingly honest and drew me into seeing the Spears family as just that...a family.

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  • Posted November 16, 2008

    Through The Storm a Painful Read

    One thing Through The Storm is not is a book on parenting, so get off that dead horse right now. It's more a mother¿s explanation of her family, albeit her very notable family. Mrs. Spears recounts her life and marriage and, as you might imagine, the birth and raising of her children. She touches on the large moments in their lives, but keeps the focus on her perceptions and reactions to the events. To its credit, Through the Storm is not a Tell-All in disguise, and it does offer a perspective of events that I suspect is absent from the frantic reporting on the Spears family. And yet, the book is still very much about Britney Spears and, to a lesser extent, Jamie Lynn.<BR/><BR/>The story is, in essence, both inspiring and tragic. A young woman from very humble beginnings ends up with a daughter whose talent changes all their lives, and not always for the better. There is indeed a dark side to what was a fairy-tale rise to fame. As to any claims that Mrs. Spears pushed Britney into her career, I can only say that long before Mrs. Spears attempts to address the issue, it was plain to me that Britney Spears was one of those children who did not need to be pushed. There are simply kids who are like that. From an early age, they burn with passion, whether it be for writing, football, science, or, even, singing. Given what she had on her hands, Mrs. Spears did a remarkable job. <BR/><BR/>That said, I had a lot of trouble getting through this book. It was often painfully difficult to read. Thankfully, it's not very long (206 pages). This book offers no personal insight whatsoever, no sense that its author has thought deeply about anything. It's written in such a simplistic manner that by the end of chapter one I wanted to tear out my eyeballs. That didn't change until the final two chapters, which were quite riveting despite there being massive logical gaps in the narrative. <BR/><BR/>There's no meat to this story. It's vapidly written and even more vapidly told. If Mrs. Spears has anything but superficial insight into herself or her children, it's not presented in these pages. Both girls are held up as idealized, sparkly and numbingly saccharine Stepford-esque daughters. You'd think her children were nothing but sweetness and light during their entire childhoods. And how could that be? They grew up in a house with an alcoholic father, where money was tight and their mother was doing whatever it took to keep them together financially and spiritually. Everyone involved in such a family pays a price, fame or no fame. And that's without the incredible stress of Britney's notoriety.<BR/><BR/>Through the Storm offers a perspective missing from the sensationalized reports of the Spears family, but unless you don't mind reading a book written at a fourth-grade level, this is a pass.

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  • Posted November 13, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An attempt at the limelight

    I became interested in this book because I recently became addicted to the Britney Spears ¿Womanizer¿ song. I know! You do not have to say it¿I know. Anyway¿<BR/><BR/>When I read the introduction to the book I was hopeful that it would be a heartfelt memoir from a mother who loves all her children unconditionally. Lynne Spears begins the book by asserting that this book is dedicated to her children and she wants them to know how much she loves them, no matter what horrible things have happened in their lives. She goes on to state that this book will not be gossip about her children but is instead her own memoir and thoughts on the fame and tabloid stories her daughters have experienced. <BR/><BR/>The beginning of the book is about Lynne¿s parents, her childhood, adolescence, marriage, and relationships with her sister and friends. The deeper into the book I delved the more annoyed I became. Lynne constantly mentioned Britney¿s and Jamie Lynn¿s situations throughout her own history. Though she mentioned her first born, Bryan, in the beginning and throughout the book his part seemed to be an afterthought that was added in later when she realized he should be a part of the story.<BR/><BR/>I felt as if Lynne Spears was ¿name dropping¿ throughout the book and making herself seem more important than she actually is. She mentioned her own heartache by watching Britney¿s career and its downward spiral. Including how devastated she was as she watched her middle child shave her head on television. <BR/><BR/>I also noticed that throughout the story she made excuses as to why she could not be with Britney in certain instances. She did not travel with Britney when she recorded her first album. She was not with Britney when her children were taken away. She was not with Britney when she spiraled out of control and infamously shaved her head. The book was riddled with instances of how she was needed elsewhere.<BR/><BR/>All in all, I believe this book was Lynne¿s attempt to clear her name in the public eye and make her children out to be victims of fame and fortune. The book was erratic at best and followed no true timeline or direction. I am glad I did not purchase this book as I would have been disappointed by the loss of money. But then, who am I? Each reader forms his or her opinions independent of my thoughts or perceptions. But if you choose to partake in this ¿narrative¿ be wary of the strategies that went into this book.

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  • Posted November 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A good insight into the family but not a great read.

    I'll be the first one to admit it... I was hoping for a juicy tell-all before I started reading this book but right in the intro Lynne tells us that's not what this book is. It's mostly a look into her life that led her to make the decisions she did in regards to her children. <BR/><BR/>Overall it was an okay read but I found the book disjointed and the stories jumbled. I understand the Lynne is not a professional writer but I've read other memoirs with co-writers that were put together much better than Through the Storm was. All lot of what's written is repeated a couple of times in the book and oftentimes within the next paragraph. <BR/><BR/>I felt Lynne's emotion trying to burst through the pages but it just didn't quite make it and this made a lot of the writing seem forced and unnatural. I also felt this way about the Christian aspects of the book. Her faith just didn't ring true to me.<BR/><BR/>**SPOILER ALERT** <BR/>What was especially shocking to me, was how Lynne glossed over the fact that at aged twenty-one while driving her brother to the ER she accidentally hit a twelve year old on his bike and he later died. To me this would have been a devastating, life changing event but it was mentioned over one or two paragraphs then not mentioned again. <BR/>** END SPOILER**<BR/><BR/>Reading this book did change my view on the Spears family and I¿m glad I read it but I just wish it was put together in a more organized fashion. As far as my recommendation goes I'd say read it if you come across it but don't run out and pick it up expecting and "insider's look" at the Britney's life.

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  • Posted November 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Lynn Spears: Through the Storm

    Wow! I know that¿s not how the standard book review starts but that¿s how this one does. To say I devoured this book would be a total understated fact. This book is not a tell-all about Britney, it¿s far from it. It¿s the story of a loving and trusting Southern woman who got caught up in the thunderous storm of Hollywood and its treachery.<BR/><BR/>Lynne¿s love of her family, not just her children but her parents and siblings and also her friends and town-folk is as deep as love can get. Her husband, Jamie struggled with alcoholism which was profound and deeply painful for many years. This was a huge burden to Lynne, Jamie and their family but she has trudged through the muck of adversity and divorce to still remain friends with her ex-husband. Through the connection of cograndparenting the two have created a bond that¿s possibly even stronger than they had when they were married.<BR/><BR/>I felt as though Lynne was a good friend telling me her precious stories about her friends and loved ones and the memories that she holds dear from teaching Second Grade for seven years. First and foremost Lynne is a teacher and keeps it in her heart to this day. The toll fame has taken on her family is in these pages but the main focus is her undying faith in God and the love she has for her family, her friends and the townspeople that have forever stood by her side no matter what.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    Great Book

    I read this book in about 2 days. I think it was tastefully written and gives an inside view of her family and strong faith. It's a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2008

    LOVED IT ,, LOVED IT ...LOVED IT !!!

    I really enjoyed this book. The media is so wrong for the way they made this family look so bad. Like in the book Lynn talks about losing her sister and two weeks later she watched on tv as her daughter shaved her head . That had to be very hard . But the media never cared to just leave them alone for not even two weeks after her aunts death to give them room . That is just sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008

    Just my opinion

    I read this book within two days, I just couldn't put it down. I was expecting a tell-all-book but this was far from it, I really liked it and it is very well written. My only negative thing about it was that there was alot of discussion about God, to me it was a little much. but that is just my opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2008

    Touched

    I have been a huge Britney Spears fan since the beginning of her career. Seeing her fall apart this past year broke my heart. Reading this book has given such great insight into the Spears' family and how misunderstood they are. The industry picked them apart for the sake of the almighty dollar and left nothing left but hurt and grief. Lynne takes us through the journey of the past few years as she lived it, and its nothing like what most people thought. After reading, I have renewed faith in myself and Britney! I'm truly touched by this brave woman's story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2008

    Amazing

    This book was great. It showed just how normal the Spears truly are. It was very nicely written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2008

    Great Book

    This book was amazing I couldn't put it down!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2008

    Not a tell all

    I just finished reading the book and I was pleasantly suprised that the book did not expose information that the media predicted. This book only contains the peek into the life of Lynne herself and her family. I think people shouldn't believe everything they read in the tabloids because many of those stories are fabricated and stretched beyond limit. A great glimpse into the struggles of a family from a small town who live big lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2008

    major page turner

    I litteraly just finished reading the book, and it took me less then 24 hours to read it. It really explains a lot of things that we as the public never understood!!! I loved this book!!

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