A Mother's Gift by Britney and Lynne SpearsThursday 14 Jun 2001
She sings, she dances, she pouts, she poses, and now she pens original fiction. Is anything beyond the reach of pop sensation Britney Spears? Co-written with her mother, Lynn, 'A Mother's Gift' is recommended for ages 9 and up; it's a sugar-sweet rags-to-riches tale of a girl from small town Mississippi whom everyone knows "sure can sing".
Publishers Random House reportedly paid the mother-daughter team $1million for a two-book deal and would have us believe that in between selling eight million copies of her last album, touring, making videos and preparing to star in a teen-movie, Britney found time to sit her taut buttocks down at the word processor and compose what she describes as "something inspirational" (she also co-wrote her autobiography with her mother last year you know).
However, the launch of the book last month was somewhat marred by press reports that it was actually written by a man called Tom Carter. Carter was the ghostwriter on LeAnn Rimes' Christmas story and has also written several pop biographies. All that can be said is, he could have done a better job.
Britney fans reviewing the book online have reported disappointment - "It was so badly written I wanted to cry", to raving adoration - "I finished it in 2 hours because I could not put it down". There's no accounting for taste.
The revelatory plot twist that comes at the end will be predictable to even the most star-struck 9-year-old and the intended didactic merits of a book that seems to condone Holly's mortification over her mother's "ugly red scar...that makes people who don't know her turn away" are certainly debatable.
A portion of the proceeds from sales will go to the Britney Spears Foundation, which operates a performing arts camp for disadvantaged 11 to 14 year olds, but I suggest a less painful way of supporting the cause would be to send the money direct – I'd pay them to take this book off my desk.