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The GLAMOUR team review their favourite memoirs

It’s truly invigorating when prominent figures choose to assert control over their stories and share them on their own terms. Join us as the GLAMOUR team delves into their top picks for memoirs, offering insightful reviews along the way.

The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

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Review by Walter Hayward

I remember precisely where I was when I first watched the ‘Baby One More Time’ music video. You know that moment of realisation when you feel like, up until now, your life was meaningless?

Sure, I might be exaggerating a bit, but witnessing the Princess of Pop dance around a high school enlightened me to two things: I love pop music, and Britney Spears is my idol. I’ve followed Britney’s journey over the years – from the highs to the lows – with a consistent level of love and admiration that rarely waned. Despite the numerous documentaries and articles claiming to know the truth about Britney’s reality, I’ve largely steered clear, eagerly awaiting to hear her side of the story. So, when I learned that she was finally releasing an autobiography, I knew the truth was about to unfold. And I was right. Britney lays it all bare in The Woman In Me. She starts from the beginning, setting everything straight.

There were moments when I cried, realising how inhumanely her family, past lovers, and management treated her, how crippling her post-partum depression was, and how she still has a long road to recovery. Yet, her humour and quick wit shined through just as much, and a few confessions even made me cackle.

It might surprise a few sceptics how intelligent and philosophical Britney actually is – she ponders on how her life has turned out and whether making (or avoiding) certain difficult decisions would’ve given her a better life. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I will say this: everything makes sense after reading The Woman In Me, and I’m unbelievably happy that Britney had the chance to write this incredible book. After everything she’s been through I think she deserves her freedom and self expression.

Worthy by Jada Pinkett Smith

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Review by Thobeka Phanyeko

Actress and host of The Red Table, Jada Pinkett Smith gives readers insight into her journey to becoming. Her memoir is an honest account of her lived experience, which takes us through various facets of her life. From feeling hopeless and defeated during a dark period that sees her try to find emotional relief at the edge of a cliff to setting sail in the direction of her true North.

Worthy explores the intricate family dynamics that run through the core of her DNA. Recounting her childhood, a picture of a strong-willed little girl emerges as she tries to find her place in the world. Her grandmother’s garden becomes her source of joy and hope when her parents struggle to show up as they wrestle their own demons. An unexpected turn of events disrupts her life, and she has to fend for herself on the cold streets of Baltimore.

Her friendship with the late Tupac and classmate John becomes her soft landing as she comes into her own while trying to keep her two lives separate. The “Three Musketeers” find solace in art and each other as they navigate their trying teenage years but their bond is tested when life pulls them apart. When tragedy strikes, it’s their solid foundation that holds them up, and memory proves to be a powerful weapon against grief and time. Jada’s view of the world is shaped by a deep yearning to belong. And she carves out her identity through art, hustling, and holding space for her loved ones. Her journey is defined by love and loss, and a glimmer of hope that draws her towards the light, and she lives to tell her story. Affirming each one of us that our worth is innate in spite of ourselves.

Thicker Than Water: A Memoir by Kerry Washington

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Review by Nontando Mposo

Thicker Than Water provides a raw and intimate glimpse into the life of Kerry Washington, a remarkable woman whose talents extend far beyond the screen. As an award-winning actress, director, producer, and activist, her memoir delves into the vulnerable and formative experiences that have shaped her into the inspiring figure she is today. From the outset, it is evident that her memoir is not a typical celebrity tell-all. Instead, it is a deeply personal account of her journey from childhood to the discovery of a life-changing secret unexpectedly revealed by her parents.

Through candid storytelling, Kerry opens up about her childhood experiences and the pivotal mentors who played a significant role in shaping her career. One of the most striking aspects of Thicker Than Water is the authenticity with which she shares her story. Her narrative is not only beautifully crafted but also steeped in honesty, offering readers an unfiltered look at her life. The book reads like a roller-coaster ride, starting high, dipping low, and gradually rising back up, so take your time with it.

Thicker Than Water: A Memoir is a compelling and captivating read that offers a rare glimpse into the life of a multifaceted artist and activist. Kerry’s willingness to share her vulnerabilities, triumphs, and the transformative moments that have defined her journey makes this memoir an essential addition to the bookshelves of admirers and aspiring individuals alike.

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