I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Open Book by Jessica Simpson. I listened to the audiobook version, and thoroughly enjoyed listening to Jessica’s southern drawl and emotional inflection as she read her own story.
I’m sure you have seen many reviews and talking points surrounding Open Book, and I’m not one to give spoilers in my reviews, but in this review I will mention a few of the points I found most interesting.
Family Life and Christianity
I loved hearing Jessica’s openness and candidness when talking about what her life was like growing up. It didn’t sound easy being a travelling minister’s daughter, and money was not something that was easy to come by. But, while the tabloids have painted Joe Simpson in a certain light for many years, it was refreshing to hear of the good he did in the community and for those who needed help. Jessica’s take on her faith makes you stop and truly listen.
Jessica’s rise to fame at the time Britney and Christina were becoming popular was not an easy one, and it was fascinating to hear about the trials and tribulations during that time. I remember the Mickey Mouse Club era so well; I remember seeing Jessica open for 98 Degrees at Hamilton Place before she even had an album, and Ashlee (her sister) was her backup dancer. This whole section was part nostalgic and part eye-opening for me, personally. It was an inside glimpse into the other side of what I was witnessing as a teenaged fan.
Before reading the book, I was also intrigued by Jessica’s successful clothing line and how she grew the business the way she did. I love how she employees all the important people inter life, and that her mother is a huge part in running the Jessica Simpson empire.
The books opens with two car crashes: one when Jessica was just a little girl, and one fatal crash that her cousin Sarah perished in. Jessica’s accident caused her to develop a stutter at an early age, and she took up singing to help her work through it.
Her cousin Sarah’s accident is weaved throughout the book like a knitting needle pulling through a sweater of emotion. Jessica was very close with her cousin and considered her a role model; Sarah’s death hit her hard and she still thinks about her everyday, wondering what her cousin would do or say in certain crossroads in her life.
Jessica was also abused by a family friends daughter, and I was shocked while listening to Jessica explain the situation. She was young and scared, and when she finally did tell her parents, they never talked about it again. I found this disturbing and sad; my heat went out to 10-year-old vulnerable Jessica. I hope she found peace in being able to write about it.
I was a huge Newlyweds fan; I even own the first season on DVD! I have also always been a big 98 Degrees and Jessica Simpson fan too, so I was thirsty for the intel on their love when I dove into this story years later.
Jessica definitely doesn’t blame their marriage ending on Nick alone: in fact, the reality show itself is probably the biggest contributor to their divorce. She stayed diplomatic for the most part when discussing her marriage and it’s demise, but did point out both of their faults.
Jessica was in many other spotlight romantic relationships as well. The biggest red flag to come out of all her relationship tell-all is that around John Mayer. Based on Jessica’s commentary, he is a master manipulator, cocky and an all-around egomaniac. She would go back to him time and time again, even though he at times was emotionally abusive and condescending. I was fascinated reading about their tumultuous relationship, and felt quite sorry for Jessica- she just couldn’t remove herself from their toxic cycle. I think a lot of people would be able to identify with this relationship and hopefully give them clarity and motivation to get out.
Jessica’s figure has made headlines since she emerged in the music industry. She has been called too big, too thin and everything in between. She discusses her relationship with food and being in the public eye. She reveals that when she was called “Jessica Blimpson” in her “Mom Jeans”, that she was only 120 pounds, but she didn’t want to publicize that, fearing it would make other women feel bad about their own weight.
Jessica talks about using alcohol and pills as a crutch to shut out certain elements of her life. She has self-medicated for years and a lot of her pain stems back to her early day tragedies, and how her family life has evolved. She owns her issues and is continuously working on herself.
Overall, I felt connected to Jessica upon reading her book. I loved how unapologetically herself she was. Jessica loves her designer clothes and extravagance, but she is also a motivated woman who loves being a mom, and thrives while running a business. And despite being very wealthy and highly successful, she isn’t out of touch with the rest of the world. She understands how blessed she is, she gives back, and she actively tries to be a good person. I loved this book and would recommend it as an audiobook as well! ❤