And I thought I had problems.
Turns out my worst limp hair day or wardrobe crisis is nothing compared to what poor Britney Spears, 18, has had to endure. As we learn in her new book, "Britney Spears' Heart to Heart," co-written with mom Lynne, life as a pop princess isn't all crop tops and cute boys for the small-town girl from Kentwood, La.
First there was the humiliation of being rejected for the All-New Mickey Mouse Club, then losing as a contestant on "Star Search." She finally made it as a Mousketeer, only to have to work with that annoyingly pretty Keri Russell of "Felicity" fame, who just made her feel inferior. As she confesses in a chapter called "Tackling the Tough Stuff," little Brit hated her hair, her nose, her teeth -- even her feet. (Omigod, she really is just a regular girl!!!)
Of course, none of those insecurities mattered when Britney's debut album, " Baby One More Time," sold more than 11 million copies in the United States alone, but fame exacted a terrible price. Britney was mobbed by fans in New York -- "very scary" -- and like, can't even go to the mall by herself anymore. And it's hard, y'know, to get up before noon when you worked the whole day before.
Then there are those pesky rumors about a breast augmentation. These go unmentioned in the book, though Britney set the record straight when she recently told USA Today, "That whole boob thing was, like, so retarded." You tell 'em, girl!
Good thing Brit's had her mom by her side through all this. The pair are best friends and Lynne understands everything -- she hated her hair when she was a teen-ager, too!
Stage Mama Lynne clearly loves her successful baby, and shares with readers a poem she composed when Britney was a toddler:
She's the great gift.
A gift of spring.
You just enjoy watching --
She will dance and sing.
Cruel world, turn away.
Spare my little star.
Let her wit and charming beauty
Go very far.
There's more, much more. The book teems with syrupy sentiment, as when Britney says, "I love it when people say I'm just like my mama, because she is the finest person I know." Awwwwww. (Spears does a cover of the Rolling Stones' "[I Can't Get No] Satisfaction" on her new album, "Oops! I Did It Again." Can a remake of Elvis' "Mama Liked the Roses" be far behind?)
Lynne, who cried all day the first time she heard one of Britney's songs on the radio, misses "snuggling on the couch together and having girl talk over coffee" when Britney's away.
"Every time I walk by her bedroom and I see her doll collection," Lynne writes, "I get this little pang: gosh, I wish she was still a little girl and I could hold her in my arms or bounce her on my lap!"
With its flower- and butterfly-adorned pages and bubble photo captions, the book is just soooo cute! Brit's fans obviously think so -- released a week and a half ago, "Britney Spears' Heart to Heart" made it onto Amazon.com's Top 100 list and received an average customer review of four and a half out of five stars.
Never mind that Spears doesn't write her own music (she penned a whole book of lyrics, but her little sister hid it, the scamp!). She has plenty of pearls to impart in her book.
A few examples:
On meeting her childhood idols: "I positively freak when I see them backstage or I'm in the audience sitting next to them. At the MTV Europe Awards, I was like, 'Mariah, I think you're so amazing!' and 'Whitney, girl, you look good!' "
On being a party girl: "I am so not the party animal that it's kind of embarrassing. People are like, 'Hey, Brit, come hang out with us,' and I say, 'Thanks, y'all, but no thanks. I'd much rather take a hot bubble bath and get a good night's sleep.' "
Waxing philosophical: "I think my favorite saying is 'Live each day to the fullest as if it were your last.' I think that's so beautiful, and I've always let it guide me."
On achieving success: "I'll say, 'Mama, can you believe it?' And she'll say, 'Why, of course I can!' Then we'll both scream like crazy together."
On feeling insecure: "You aren't alone -- most kids feel like ugly ducklings at some time or another. But remember, you have something special and wonderful that is uniquely your own. Sometimes you just have to look a little deeper to find it."
That's surely good advice to readers, who'll have to dig pretty deep to find some meaning in this book.