I’ve been a fan of Jessica Simpson since she burst onto the 2000s pop scene amongst the Britneys and Christinas of the MTV TRL era. When Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica premiered, I was hooked. This was back in the earliest days of reality tv when every single moment wasn’t scripted, and Jessica’s off-the-cuff one-liners never failed to crack me up. 

I’ve always felt like a kindred spirit with Jessica. Our birthdays are just 5 days apart (same year), we both grew up evangelical, we both married young (she at 22 and I at 21), and we were going through our respective divorces around the same time. Suffice it to say, Jessica is my girl and always will be.

In her memoir Open Book, Jessica shares the deepest pain that no one should ever have to face: childhood sexual abuse, addiction, disordered eating, body shaming, and toxic romantic relationships, to name a few. (Spoiler alert: John Mayer continues to be trash.)

What I’ve always appreciated about Jessica—alongside her powerful vocal talent—is her candor and sincerity. In Open Book, you meet the mature woman she’s become after enduring the worst that life can offer anyone, let alone a celebrity constantly under media scrutiny.

In addition to her personal life and music career, you’ll get a glimpse into how Jessica aka Successica built her fashion line, the Jessica Simpson Collection, into a billion-dollar brand. This was eye-opening for me, to see how personally involved she is in the pieces that make up her collection.

I listened to the audio version and Jessica tears up during many stories in the book, especially those about abuse and her various struggles as an adult. You’ll hear the sincerity and authenticity in her stories as she shares the pain and joy of her life thus far. She’s had struggles, but she’s also had triumphs, like finding love again and becoming a mother. Through it all, she shares the foundation of her faith that’s seen her through the toughest times in her life.

At the end of the audio are six new songs that inspired the memoir. Having journaled since she was 15, Jessica had plenty of material to mine from, for both the book and songs. Her new music stands apart from her previous work as more mature and introspective than anything she’s created before.

If you’re a diehard Jessica fan like me, you’ll devour this memoir. If you watched Newlyweds, this book is a well-rounded epilogue to that time in Jessica’s life, post-Nick. It feels kind of weird to say it, but as a fan who’s followed her entire career, I‘m proud of Jessica for speaking her truth and doing so with the intent of helping others who might find themselves in the same situation.

Rating: 5 stars

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