britney spears a mother's giftIn The Art of War, Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu writes, “know your enemy.” It is with this simple timeless advice that I tackled the young adult novel, A Mother’s Gift, by Lynne and Britney Spears. Not only would reading the book reveal to me Brit’s writing style and ability, but it would also give me insight into her inner thoughts and moral code.

Although it’s fiction, the main character, Holly Lovell, is the thinly veiled Britney Spears character – an almost supernaturally talented singer growing up in a small southern town. Just like Brit, Holly has incredibly beautiful, thick blonde hair and red, red lips that the authors can’t seem to stop describing. And like Brit might write about herself, Holly has a heart of gold and an unstoppable spirit, despite her backcountry sensibilities and weakness for saying “y’all” or “shoot!” every third word. I won’t even mention that the cover of this “novel” has a picture of Britney on it.

Anyway, the book’s… plotish thing… focuses on Holly’s acceptance to the Haverty School of Music and, later, on her performing for the school’s weekly locally-broadcasted talent show. Holly faces a lot of obstacles, however: she’s very not rich and doesn’t believe in herself as much as her loving self-sacrificing mother and hot, sweaty mechanic boyfriend (who also has a heart of gold).

Spears mixes in some conflict by adding a character named Ditz. Ditz is Holly’s music school roommate who, strangely, resembles Britney Spears circa 2007. Holly (Britney Spears circa 2001) is pure (she only makes out and holds hands with her sweaty boyfriend) doesn’t drink (she thinks it’s bad for her future career) and understands that love and family are more important than money. Ditz, on the other hand, is a borderline alcoholic who dresses provocatively and is inappropriate with a large number of older men. Ditz doesn’t get along with her mother and doesn’t put her all into her music career.

Now, A Mother’s Gift is a book that comes with moral lessons. And Holly quickly teaches Ditz how to be a good, pure girl: “The drinking, the casual way Ditz hooked up with boys, the partying. You didn’t do these things if you were really happy inside.”

But here’s my question. If, in 2001 (when this book was written) Britney Spears thought Ditz was making all of the wrong decisions, why is she acting exactly like Ditz these days? Her relationship with her mother is strained and she is struggling with substance abuse and promiscuous behavior.

Perhaps Britney knows herself better than we think – and perhaps, despite the trite sentences and 20-size font, she is a literary genius. Upon a close reading of the book, I think that Holly and Ditz — who are roommates and both pretty — are the same person, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of Britney herself. One half is determined, pure, and good while the other is wild, distracted, and slutty. This book is not a simple tale of persistence and success, it is an intricate study of Brit’s internal struggle as a woman. Move over, Shakespeare.

This conclusion, though terrifying to me, is vital to winning my struggle against her. Now I not only know that she is the big-titted Faulkner of our time, but also that her most dangerous enemy might not be me, as y’all assumed, but herself.

Read the previous installment of Sarah vs. Spears.