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Open Book

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An alternate cover edition can be found here.

Jessica tells of growing up in 1980s Texas where she was sexually abused by the daughter of a family friend, and of unsuccessfully auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club at age 13 with Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling before going on to sign a record deal with Columbia and marrying 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey.

Along the way, she details the struggles in her life, such as the pressure to support her family as a teenager, divorcing Lachey, enduring what she describes as an emotionally abusive relationship with musician John Mayer, being body-shamed in an overly appearance-centered industry, and going through bouts of heavy drinking. But Simpson ends on a positive note, discussing her billion-dollar apparel line and marriage with professional football star Eric Johnson, with whom she has three children.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published February 4, 2020

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About the author

Jessica Simpson

20 books452 followers
Jessica Simpson is an American singer, actress, philanthropist and fashion designer. Simpson rose to fame in the late 1990s starring with her then-husband Nick Lachey in the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. She has seven Billboard Top 40 hits, and has two gold and three multi-platinum RIAA-certified albums.

Simpson is married to retired NFL tight end Eric Johnson. They have three children.

Librarian's note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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5 stars
30,598 (36%)
4 stars
35,591 (42%)
3 stars
13,694 (16%)
2 stars
2,328 (2%)
1 star
701 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,200 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,472 reviews19.1k followers
February 7, 2020
I feel weird giving this a star rating because it's a memoir bUT UHHHHH this was a fucking blast and now I'm going to go watch dukes of hazzard For Science
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,390 reviews77.2k followers
March 13, 2021
Easily one of the best memoirs I've read, or had read to me. Between Jessica narrating her personal thoughts and the songs included in the tracks, it felt like I was having drinks with an old friend and catching up. Her vulnerability was easily showcased, yet Simpson had no issue making a few laughs at her own expense, which is always a win in my book. Even if you're not a fan of the pop star version of Jessica Simpson, Open Book is a memoir that is well worth your time, and I highly recommend listening to the audiobook.
Profile Image for Danielle.
779 reviews365 followers
June 28, 2020
Okay, I kinda feel bad, cause I would totally be the lady who’d call Jessica Simpson ‘Brittney Spears’. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I’m not one to ask for selfies though, lol. The only things I really knew about her: Newlyweds, married to Nick from that boy band, kinda dumb, pop singer. Guess I can say, I sold her short. 😀 Her book was surprisingly candid and human and real. She really put it all out there and was honest about the mistakes she’s made. She’s a wife and a mom. Plus she’s a very smart and successful business woman. Bravo Jessica. 👏👏👏 I’ll never mistake you for a air head pop star again!
February 11, 2020
Absolutely one of the best celebrity memoirs I have ever read. Every chance I had over the past two days I've spent devouring this book.

Excuse me while I try to find old episodes of Newlyweds to stream and deface any pictures I can find of John Mayer...
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,381 reviews11.7k followers
June 14, 2020
2.5 stars

I rarely read celebrity memoirs anymore, because more often than not they are money-grabbing tools of self-promotion sprinkled with headline-generating tidbits of juicy goss. I personally believe that a successful autobiography must be about things larger than one's desire to set facts straight, and not many celebrities are capable of seeing beyond their self interest. That's why Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood succeeds, but Open Book doesn't.

Some of the reviews have led me to believe I would discover a new side of Jessica Simpson here, but alas, she is exactly what we (I) know her to be. She's always been an open book. She does go into some traumatic events in her life, which I empathize with, but essentially her overall message is exactly like she is - kind of muddled, confused, and delivered in a tone of self-congratulation, general ignorance, open-eyed hypocrisy and unexamined privilege. There are threads about addiction, positive self-image, respect. However, for every affirmation of her loving her body, there is a tummy tuck or a Weight Watchers deal; for every proclamation of love for her children, there is the fact she's been drunk around them for 90% of the time and the odd judgment of other ("cupcake") moms; for every statement of loving to make affordable clothes for her fans, there is relentless label bragging, etc. Her celebration of her sobriety is definitely premature.

One thing I will give Jessica, she is a savvy business woman. She would do many things for a buck. I wish she would embrace that side of hers more fully. Every move of hers - including that ill-fated reality show that was largely responsible for the demise of her first marriage, almost all of her charitable work, and clearly this book - is tied to her financial advancement. I suppose this is how you become and stay rich?

P.S. Can we all agree John Mayer is a disgusting fucboi? I would love to read a well-written expose of his shitty behavior. There is no way he was doing this to only Simpson, right?
Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
505 reviews623 followers
April 8, 2020
Well believe the hype...this book is everything people say it is. This girl couldn't be any more honest if she tried...and I love her for it! It seems like when celebrities pen their memoirs they always leave out the parts that people really want to know about. Not this girl...Jessica digs deep and lets you into her most publicized moments and how she was feeling during those times.

I loved hearing about her struggles and her success. It made her real. The fact that this girl with all her fame struggled with self confidence, self doubt and dealt with everyday problems that we all do..well it was just refreshing.

I also was not aware of all the times she has traveled overseas to visit our troops. What a amazing thing to do. Having family members in the military I can't express how much that is a bright shiny moment in their time over there. Just some normalcy for them. I am defiantly #teamjessica! So glad she has found a happy ending...thanks for letting us into your life Jessica!

Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,372 reviews9,450 followers
March 20, 2020
I loved this fracking book!

I listened to the audio from my library and I’m glad I did as Jessica narrated it. I could her her voice shake at the sad parts and it meant much more to me. I could relate to so much shit in this book that it’s unreal.. Just goes to show you’re not as different from people no matter who they are in life.

I also liked she sang some of her songs at the end of the audio. I do plan on getting this on Audible and the hardback to put post it notes for key points in the book. I like to do this kind of thing with physical books.

ANYWAY, I fracking loved it! There you go! The end!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Christy.
3,714 reviews31.6k followers
March 6, 2020
4 stars
“Sometimes we are all so afraid to be honest with ourselves because we know that honesty will lead to somewhere.” I wrote this ten years ago. “Can fear walk us to something better?”

I enjoyed this book so much. After reading, I feel like there is so much more to Jessica Simpson than meets the eye. With Jessica only being a few years older than me, I watched her rise to fame (I was actually a big fan of her sister when I was in high school) and fondly remember listening to her music in middle-school and watching ‘The Newlyweds’ (Nick and I share a hometown of Cincinnati so I always thought that was cool). Jessica’s always been shown as a dumb blonde, and she has her blonde moments, but she’s much more smart and savvy than she’s portrayed.

This memoir was narrated by Jessica herself and I can’t recommend listening to it enough. It felt like she was right there with you, telling you her story. She’s been through a lot and there were some hard to read moments and a ton of growth and revelations. This was a great tell all type of story about Jessica’s life and it was empowering and highly entertaining.
November 8, 2020
5 stars!

Honest and endearing. Painful and powerful. Heartbreaking and hopeful.

This is the story of Jessica Simpson - singer, reality tv star, fashion mogul, wife and mother. I have always really liked her but never followed her reality tv career, although I followed her through all the headlines she made throughout the years. This was an extremely honest and vulnerable look into her life - past and present. She welcomed us into her heart, shared her innermost thoughts, her daily journal entries and let us explore the experiences she faced alongside with her.

This was excellent! I inhaled each chapter in one quick swoop, seeming to always find something to relate to or laugh at or feel strongly for. I admire Jessica Simpson for sharing this intimate look into her life. I truly enjoyed reading this and am an even bigger fan of her than I was before.

Thank you to my lovely local library for the loan of the physical copy!
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,851 reviews35k followers
May 27, 2020
Audiobook....library overdrive...read by Jessica

I knew next to nothing about Jessica Simpson, ( singer, actress, fashion designer, author), ....but several people mentioned her book was good.
I decided to bite.

A few basic highlights:
.... she grew up in a church going family and performed in church choirs.
.....born in July, 1980
....at the age of 16, she signed a debut album, ‘Sweet Kisses’, with Columbia records, in 1997. It sold 2 million copies in United States.
....More albums....more commercial success.

In conversational styling, we continue to learn about Jessica’s family - her parents - and her sister, Ashlee, her marriage to Nick Lachey, ( I had to look him up, too) > a popular lead singer of the multi platinum
boyband 98 Degrees.... also a song writer, producer, and television personality.
We learn of the long courtship, between Jessica & Nick ( TWO pop stars). They were married for four years between 2002 & 2006.

At present, Jessica is married to Eric Johnson. They married in 2014.
Eric has an impressive background too. Yale graduate- hot shot football player...both in college and later professionally - played for the SF 49ers.
Jessica and Eric have 3 kids.
Jessica sincerely sounds happy, thankful, and at peace with who she is today...(that was not always the case),
She loves her more quiet off-stage life with Eric and their children. Jessica has no desire to be in the limelight on stage singing, today.
She did share with us though, that she always thought she would be a writer. She began daily journal writing at the age of fifteen when her very beloved cousin died.

The title, “Open Book”....is fitting. It seemed that Jessica’s primary purpose in writing it was to share ‘openly’.....hiding nothing....wanting to perhaps clear the air - of mockery images - that people had of her that just wasn’t so. ( not today anyway). She certainly didn’t ever - and still doesn’t want to be known as a sex symbol ( then judged if she gained weight).

Many people had opinions about Jessica — [judging, evaluating, criticizing, and making assumptions], ... in the way people do to most celebrities from afar.
Jessica tried to please everyone. She wanted to look good, be liked, perform well, and basically do everything perfectly for her parents, church community, managers, fans, friends, and boy crushes.
It was as if she was always ‘on’....in character....but hadn’t a clue of what she really wanted - or who she was.
Growing up in the limelight- before being clear of oneself - often leaves a hole in ones soul...( as we’ve learned from other celebrities too).

It also seemed to me, that Jessica wanted to tell her story — the trials and tribulations of her life - ( she had more than her fair share), so that she could put to rest being thought of as a sex symbol.....
.... or aloof, or too- all- self absorbed...
.... put to rest that she was a bimbo....
share with the world ( young women interested in stardom), the many things that can go wrong.

Jessica’s memoir works as a insightful contribution to other starlet wannabes, as general personal interest, and as a healing venue for herself.

Other than finding the sound of Jessica’s high pitch voice a little irritating on my ears at times ..... I warmed to her honestly, her humanity, her spirituality, her playful charms, and her gratitude.

Surprisingly touching and enjoyable.
Profile Image for Brandice.
800 reviews
October 5, 2020
I grew up liking Jessica Simpson and her music, and was interested in reading Open Book, after hearing so many great things. I chose to listen to the audiobook, narrated by Jessica herself.

Jessica talks about growing up in Texas, her pursuit of music, including her audition for the Mickey Mouse club, and the death of her cousin Sarah, which deeply impacted her. Later in the book, she also talks about the Jessica Simpson fashion line — I had a yellow JS handbag and a few pairs of JS shoes in college.

Jessica, of course, discusses her career as a musician — singing, creating albums, and trying to meet the demands and expectations of various label executives. Personally, I think In This Skin is still her best album.

I obviously knew about Jessica’s marriage to Nick Lachey, as I was a huge! 98 Degrees fan back in the day and was, admittedly, shocked by how Jessica was often portrayed on Newlyweds when I’d watch it. I don’t think Nick Lachey is a bad guy and Jessica doesn’t seem to think that either — I think they weren’t right for each other and Jessica was so young she was still figuring out who she was.

She continues on to detail her other relationships, including those with John Mayer, Tony Romo, and her now husband and father to her children, Eric Johnson. For the record, I never understood the appeal of John Mayer and this book did nothing to sway me — Overrated on all fronts.

Jessica also discusses her tumultuous relationship with her dad, her struggles with alcohol and quick fixes to attempt to fit into an industry pressure-induced image, and on a more positive note, becoming a mom.

Open Book had more depth than I expected it to. I learned more about Jessica and highly recommend the audiobook, as she narrates it — You can hear her emotion and enthusiasm throughout. As a bonus, this version also comes with 6 new songs at the end.
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,563 reviews1,934 followers
March 6, 2020
The prologue and first chapter of this book are so good that I was legitimately thrown. It turns out they're the best chapters in the book, but if you're going to be really good somewhere that's the best place to do it. And those chapters set enough of a tone for the rest of the book that it's easier to settle in.

I wasn't really planning to read this particular celebrity memoir. I read a bunch last year and felt a little played out. But I kept hearing it was good and worth checking out, and I wanted a fluffy quick audiobook so here we are.

I am pretty close in age to Jessica Simpson so I remember almost everything Simpson recounts here in pretty good detail. I remember the age of the teen girl pop star, when it was always Britney vs. Christina vs. Jessica vs. Mandy. I watched at least two seasons of Newlyweds (it's very possible I watched the third, but I also remember feeling uncomfortable with how obvious it was they weren't getting along). I have seen the meteoric rise of Simpson's clothing line. You can't have been through all of that pop culture without having some idea of who Simpson is. It is really saying something that after reading the book, I want to take back every bad thing I ever said about her. And I think there were more than a few bad things, especially in the early days. Like a lot of people, I thought she was kind of a dumb blonde. I couldn't tell if she was playing it up for the cameras or not, but I didn't really care much either way. It was a youthful and cruel way of looking at it. After spending so much time with Simpson you can tell that this is who she really is, she definitely has her ditzy moments, but her earnestness and excitement aren't fake.

What makes the book worth reading (besides cementing your loathing of John Mayer) is that this is clearly clearly clearly a book by someone who has been through a lot of therapy. Memoir requires the ability to see yourself clearly, without that kind of perspective you're not reliable for how you write about other people. Simpson is quite willing to announce her own flaws and mistakes.

For some people, none of this will be enough to overcome other parts of the book. 1) Simpson is very churchy, especially in the early chapters. (If you're under 35 you may not remember but she was very very famous for staying a virgin until marriage even though she was already a famous pop star by then.) I didn't mind this so much since it feels so integrated into who she is, and it decreases in later chapters. 2) She shares a story of being molested as a child, details are kept vague and it's mostly off-page, but if that's something that's a particularly tough topic for you, it does come up a good amount as she addresses her shame at the time and the anxiety it left behind for years afterwards. 3) And, perhaps most importantly, there is a LOT of talk about body image and weight. While she is definitely of the you-are-perfect-at-every-size inspirational mantra type, there are a lot of times in her life where she doesn't see herself that way, there are a lot of times she is told by industry people to lose weight, and her weight is a constant topic of discussion and speculation in the culture at large. And while she has a certain amount of body positivity, she doesn't always talk about it in the healthiest way even when she tries to. If this is a sensitive topic for you, you may want to give it a pass just because it makes up so much of her life, even if most of that isn't her fault.
Profile Image for Jenna &#x1f9f5;.
218 reviews77 followers
May 21, 2020
Aside from a deadly raging mutant virus that emerged to sweep the globe - that I loved this book SO much is probably my greatest surprise of 2020!

Long Review Alert: I’m about to go all Open Book about Open Book!

When it came to the ultimate teen trifecta of the 2000s? I originally skewed Xtina, or maybe Britney - NOT Jessica. Now, I never had anything against her, and I always thought she was smarter and more talented than she ever got credit for: I just thought that I had absolutely NOTHING in common with her. While I could relate somewhat to Britney’s crazy and Xtina’s drrrrty, with Jessica I just thought, well, she’s a beautiful blonde and tanned cheerleader, she loves football, Texas, the USA, denim, Disneyland, marriage, the troops ...”she’s a good girl, she’s crazy about Elvis, loves Jesus, and her boyfriend too”...and she does! That is ALL still true! But, turns out there was, and is, SO much more to her than that!

We evolve, ya know? So, whereas once I was ride-or-die for Kurt, I’m now kind of in love with Eddie; whereas once I’d fought my mom that John “beats” Paul, I’ve now reversed my stance; and likewise: Step aside, you other two, cuz I’m now Jessica’s biggest fan!

This book IS about personal evolution - and it delivers on that front entirely separately from the fact that this just so happens to be the evolution of a supernova superstar. The memoir addresses themes of emotional maturation, cultivating personal insight and self compassion, and becoming empowered to be able to take responsibility for revising what I like to call “outdated” coping mechanisms (be they behavioral, cognitive, emotional) that may once have been necessary or “only options,” but are no longer serving one well.

Now, that makes this sound like a self-help book, but DON’T be deterred: it’s also incredibly JUICY, for lack of a better term, and delivers no-holds-barred honest revelations about the author and other celebrities, people, places, and things! Amid the torrent of celebrity memoirs these days, I often see complaints that the authors seem to “hold back” too much, even in generally well regarded memoirs (Demi Moore’s is one example). This is not the case here at all. Simpson remains respectful, thoughtful - and anything but restrained! It’s a pretty merciless self-examination and laying bare of flaws.

Nor should this celebrity memoir merit the also-common and valid critique that it really “didn’t need to be written.” In many ways, Simpson seriously might have one of the most interesting celebrity “larger-than-life lives” I’ve heard about in recent memory, especially given her still-young years. You know how so many readers have enjoyed novels like Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and that other one about the Stevie Nicks-like character? Well, this book is like that, but REAL!

The memoir is often poignant, but also supremely entertaining, and Simpson is a consummate Southern storyteller, with lots of colorful language and humor and pithy turns of phrase - which brings me to the point that this audiobook (read by Simpson herself) also ranks among the BEST audiobooks I’ve “read” by far. Simpson (a lifelong avid diarist, turns out) has a very unique voice, and she and her co-writer did an amazing job rendering it - as evidenced by her commanding ownership of, and clear emotional connection to, her prose and story as she reads it. Now, again, I know Simpson is more intelligent and a better actress than she often gets credit for, but still - she would need to be Meryl Streep in order to read the book the way she does if it were not written in what is more or less her true voice.

Simpson writes of an itinerant childhood with some...interesting parents in ministry (and especially a father who, to put it kindly, seemed to have an awwwwful lot going on) who were not able to provide the family with much stability. This, combined with some tenets of her very religious upbringing and a sort of intense personal idealism, innate generosity, and strong sense of filial duty, seemed to result in a kind of “parentification” in which Jessica developed a sense of having to become family breadwinner/caretaker - and her parents seemed not to fight that off too much. The theme of learning to recognize and overcome tendencies toward perfectionism and approval-seeking - learning that one is “enough,” even when also trying to accommodate and balance the many demanding roles of daughter/sister/wife/mother (not to mention bankable superstar) - continues through the book.

Jessica also experiences and writes about childhood and adolescent abuse and bullying. This is especially moving to read because: a) her childhood bullying occurred after she confided in a friend about sexual abuse she had experienced, and that friend then shared that information with others, who shamed/blamed Jessica, and b) the adolescent bullying she experienced was often from male adults within her “purity culture” religious community who shamed/blamed Jessica for having a curvaceous body that “tempted men to sin.” In a horrible sort of abusive whiplash, Jessica then enters the music and entertainment industry and is persistently criticized about the exact SAME thing, but for a totally DIFFERENT reason - she’s “too large” to be as sexually desirable and marketable as she “should” be. Suffice it to say that there’s a lot of good material in this book about the journey of overcoming body shaming and improving body image, acceptance, confidence, and self-esteem.

Also of note is Jessica’s exploration of her romantic partnerships at different levels of personal and relational maturity, and how the process of moving toward a healthy adult relationship paralleled the process of developing self-love and self-knowledge. (Hell, anyone who survives John Mayer and lives to tell the tale probably has some insight!) Along with this, Jessica discusses her at-risk pregnancies, motherhood, and how love for her new family prompted realizations that helped her overcome self-destructive relationships with drinking, pills, eating, and exercise. She also does the hard work many of us need to do in terms of developing better understanding of some of the family of origin dynamics that have impacted her and working on acceptance, forgiveness, and implementing healthier boundaries. And while she doesn’t wallow in self-pity, she also doesn’t make any of this sound too easy: both tendencies are also commonly-cited celebrity memoir pitfalls that this memoir avoids.

There’s so much more stuff in here that I’m not mentioning. But again, guys - I’m making it sound sappy or something, maybe, but it’s so incredibly interesting! If you don’t believe me, you can read the many favorable reviews in major newspapers and other publications - or, ask other American icons, like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, who are mentors of Simpson and appear in the book. And speaking of icons, while this also seemed like a very over-the-top, “could only happen in the USA” kind of story, it’s one where, finally, the blonde bombshell icon DOESN’T, like Marilyn or Anna Nicole, die in the end. How refreshing is that? - especially as the memoir shows how things well could have gone quite another way.

Instead, today, Simpson does crafts with her kids, reads and writes in her stacks of journals, writes and records songs in her home studio - I was actually moved to hear how much she truly loves music and songwriting, and she includes a few original songs on her audiobook that emphasize her country/Americana/gospel roots... they were actually really good, you guys! And she does a lot of philanthropic stuff, especially for kids and military families - oh, and she’s also a successful businessperson who runs, in a very hands-on way, her clothing empire, and it’s very interesting to learn about her approach to this and how she identified the niche and guiding philosophies of the brand.

In short, please consider reading or listening to this if you’re at all on the fence about it. IN FACT - I actually painted an entire perimeter of white picket yard fence while listening to this: how all-American is that??! But seriously, the whole pandemic thing was also getting underway when I started listening to this, and it was distracting and uplifting and inspiring and diverting in a much-needed way. Jessica writes of her motivation to support and encourage readers by sharing aspects of her story, and she really does seem, authentically, super patriotic and spiritual - two things I’m decidedly NOT feeling right now when it seems like we are on the highway to hell in a handbasket! But, you know, she really came across as a down-to-earth, decent, encouraging, and helpful human being in a way that just made me feel a little bit more hopeful in the here and now, at a time when it’s extremely hard for me and many of us to do so - and that really says something. I’ll take it where I can get it! Thanks for the hand, Jessica!
Profile Image for Jodi.
365 reviews6 followers
March 16, 2020
I hate-read about 90% of this book, basically after finishing the introduction and first chapter. I needed to prove to myself that my initial take was right, and I did. My heart breaks for the traumatic experiences she had as a child and I'm glad she's been able to seek therapy and healing. Other than that, she is completely lacking in self awareness and unbelievably self congratulatory. "I was always drunk, but I was still the perfect mom. I saved myself for marriage, but once I was divorced, all bets were off. All women should accept their bodies as beautiful, no matter size or weight, but I'm a super VIP and you need to know that I'm super tiny and am entitled to plastic surgery. God called me to use my voice to help women, but He's really just a genie in the sky to call on when I need a favor. I'm super smart, way more than people give me credit for, but I had never heard of Bosnia until I went there and I didn't know the correct lyrics to 'God Bless America' until I saw the President singing the correct words along with me, after I had performed it hundreds of times. I'm grateful for all the experiences I've had and wouldn't change a thing, but you need to know that all my problems are someone else's fault, esp the men I was involved with." And on and on. So much cognitive dissonance - she thinks she's so normal and relatable when in reality she's just a celebrity out of touch with all the rest of us and just can't admit it to herself. My one point of praise is that I've never liked John Mayer as a musician and now I know he's overall an awful guy, so my original take was validated.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Christy.
622 reviews
March 18, 2020
I was never really a fan of Jessica Simpson's music back in the day, but when her reality show came out when I was in High School I absolutely loved it. Seems like that was a time when reality TV was fairly new (at least to me) and I was so there for it! I had to buy all the seasons on DVD and grew to love her down to earth, silly personality.

After that I pretty much lost all track of her and only saw the occasional picture or tabloid story. I never knew she dyed her hair brown! I had to look that up to see for myself! With all that said... I absolutely loved this! I'm usually a huge fan of memoirs, but this one has rushed up to be one of my favorites. She's obviously a big celebrity, but I still found much of this so relatable. It was really well written and I loved listening to her narrate the story of her life. It was honest, insightful, entertaining... all the good stuff and more!
Profile Image for britt_brooke.
1,247 reviews92 followers
February 7, 2020
A short digression: I once saw 98° before they were famous. Small town free concert, ha! Anyway, it’s so hard not to like Jessica Simpson. In this candid memoir, she shares her life story thus far including details of her very public, high-profile relationships. Juicy? Yes. But also brutal. Her endearing nature makes me believe her side. I had no idea she has battled addiction. This is a solid and emotional celebrity memoir.
2 reviews
February 6, 2020
A very self centered person who thinks she is special. Watch VH 1 for a much shorter version so you can read something substantial to refuel your soul.

I would not recommend this book. The only interesting parts have been revealed in the press. The rest is just self centered fluff.
Profile Image for KMS.
60 reviews
February 7, 2020
I've always liked Jessica Simpson's music and clothing line so I thought I would really like this book. But, I didn't because it really is ridiculous unrealistic Hollywood fluff. I think it just affirmed that she seems to be a not too bright but beautiful celebrity that proved she cannot relate to normal people. She wrote a book about how she has been an alcoholic for a long time despite always being hyper focused on her children. She talked incessantly about loving herself and letting go off all the body scrutiny she suffered...but still had not one, but two tummy tucks (after she 'found and loved herself'). She talks so much about being free but the entire book details some serious dependency issues with her family.
Plus, all the want to know spoilers are already in the media.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,204 followers
February 29, 2020
I did not anticipate this to be as good as it was, but it's a pretty freaking good celebrity memoir. Simpson is endearing, even when she is clearly as ditzy as she comes across, and throughout, it is very clear she's tenderhearted to a fault. But what really struck me was how many men took advantage of that very thing about her to hurt her. John Mayer? Dick. Nick Lachey? Dick. None of this is surprising, but oh boy, does it come out.

Readers who love celeb memoirs will enjoy this one. I have no real attachment to Simpson other than watching "The Newlyweds" in my teens, but I really like her after this. She's been through a lot and never blames anyone but herself when she finds herself in those tough spots.

Audio is read by Simpson, which will be great for some and not for others. Her emoting can get overwhelming, but also, I think it really drives home that she is so emotionally-driven.
Profile Image for Brianna.
149 reviews
February 8, 2020
Y’all! This book is absolutely wonderful. Yes, Jessica spills the tea. She lets you know exactly what happened behind the scenes of her reality show and her marriage to Nick. She tells us how narcissist John Mayer is (who’s shocked?) Jess dishes on her relationship with Tony Romo (I forgot they dated?) Far better than all of these things, she’s raw and real about her entire life; about abuse she went through as a child, about plastic surgery, about her alcohol problems. Not to mention, Jessica is funny! She was nekkid in this book, not naked, but nekkid. Figuratively of course. This is one of the best autobiographies by a celebrity I’ve read.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,299 reviews4,829 followers
May 3, 2021

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson is an American pop star, actress, fashion designer, and author. Jessica's father was a Baptist minister, and young Jessica grew up attending nightly services, going to church camps, attending bible schools, and doing mission work with youth groups.

Young Jessica Simpson

In 1993, after the attendees at a church camp sang hymns, the pastor announced 'There's somebody here who's going to use their voice to change the world. They will use their voice to minister to others.' Thirteen-year-old Jessica was sure he meant her. The singer started her career with gospel albums, and went on to become a mainstream star. It wasn't an easy journey though, and Jessica tells her story in 'Open Book.'

Jessica grew up in Texas, with her parents Joe and Tina, and a loving extended family nearby.

Joe and Tina Simpson

As a child, Jessica sometimes stayed at the home of family friends, and an older girl in the house molested her for years. Jessica was afraid to tell her parents, and when she did, they said nothing - though her visits to that family stopped. Unfortunately, the abuse haunted Jessica, and when she confided in a fellow cheerleader in middle school, the girl spread rumors and the bully machine went into high gear, calling Jessica a lesbian and making her life miserable.

Jessica Simpson was a cheerleader in middle school

Perhaps serendipitously, Jessica's music career began soon afterwards, and she was often in Nashville with her parents, recording songs for her first gospel album.

Jessica Simpson's music career began when she was a teenager

Jessica's father gave up his ministry to become her manager, and Jessica' mother accompanied her to concerts and organized her wardrobe. It was during Jessica's teen years - when her career was gearing up - that the singer's substance abuse started, with Tylenol PM (and then Ambien) to help her relax and sleep.

Jessica Simpson with her parents, Joe and Tina

Once Jessica went mainstream with her music, her career skyrocketed. The young singer became the breadwinner of the family, a huge responsibility that weighed heavily on her shoulders.

Jessica was (and is) a devout Christian, and had little experience with men. Thus 18-year-old Jessica was bowled over when she met handsome, 25-year-old singer Nick Lachey, a meeting that was essentially love at first sight for both of them.

Nick Lachey

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey

Jessica told Nick AND the media that she meant to remain a virgin until she married, and this was fodder for talk shows and interviews for years. (Imagine the whole country discussing your self life! Regrettably, this was a self-inflicted wound.)

Jessica was 22 when she wed Nick, and the couple became the stars of a reality show called 'Newlyweds.'

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's wedding

The constant presence of film crews and the public scrutiny (and ribbing) put pressure on the marriage, and the couple started to grow apart. Moreover, Jessica filmed 'The Dukes of Hazzard' during this period, and had an 'emotional affair' with her costar Johnny Knoxville.

Johnny Knoxville

Jessica Simpson and Johnny Knoxville

Nick was also rumored to be unfaithful, and the couple divorced soon afterwards. Jessica is very open about her relationship with Nick, and the mistakes they both made. Jessica's drinking and use of prescribed medication ramped up during this period, and became a decades-long coping mechanism.

Jessica wore racy shorts as Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard, and this escalated her status as a sex symbol.

Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke

As often happens with female stars, the public became obsessed with Jessica's weight and appearance. The scrutiny caused Jessica much suffering, particularly after she gained a few pounds and appeared in 'mom jeans' at a chili cookoff in 2009.

Jessica Simpson in 'mom jeans'

The subsequent public hazing went on for over a decade, and though Jessica tried to shake it off - and love herself at any weight - she admits she prefers her public image when she's thin.

After Jessica split from Nick, she had a long relationship with football player Tony Romo.....

Tony Romo

Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo

.....and then dated musician John Mayer.

John Mayer

Jessica Simpson and John Mayer

Both men were controlling and difficult, but Jessica felt compelled to please them, and maybe even 'save them' (in the Christian sense). Mayer was especially diabolical, repeatedly breaking up with Jessica to inspire his songwriting. In 2010, after Jessica and Mayer split for good, the musician gave an explosive interview to Playboy, calling Jessica 'sexual napalm.' This embarrassed Jessica, and heightened Mayer's reputation as a bad boy.

It was during this time that Jessica's father Joe announced he was divorcing his wife Tina. Joe told Jessica that her decision to divorce Nick Lachey years before (unusual for a devout Baptist) emboldened him to take this step.

Joe and Tina Simpson's divorce was finalized in 2013

Jessica hints that her dad later had a boyfriend, but this remains unconfirmed (as far as I know). In any case, Joe and Tina's divorce split the family, and Jessica fired Joe as her manager. The singer remained close to her mother, and still sees her father, but irreparable damage was done.

In the meantime, Jessica's fashion company, which launched in 2005, took off. The business, run largely by Jessica and her mother, soon became worth over a billion dollars.

Jessica Simpson's fashion company took off

Jessica Simpson and her mother Tina head the Simpson fashion business

The success of Jessica's fashion line is due to the fact that it carries a diverse array of goods, is reasonably priced, and caters to women of all sizes. Jessica wants all females to have access to comfortable clothing that looks good. Jessica's singing career waned when she became a fashion mogul, though she remains active in the music business.

Jessica models for her fashion line

In 2010, after her failed relationships with Nick Lachey, Tony Romo, and John Mayer, Jessica met her future husband, former football player Eric Johnson.

Eric Johnson

Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson

Jessica writes about her romance with Eric, their 'Great Expectations' themed wedding, and the birth of their children - who were almost miracles since Jessica had one of her fallopian tubes removed when she was young.

Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson's wedding

Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson with their children

Jessica is candid about her excessive drinking during this time, which would begin before breakfast. The crisis point came when Jessica was too drunk to attend her own Halloween party, a gala affair for children, neighbors, relatives, and friends. It was then that Jessica (and Eric) vowed to stop drinking, and Jessica entered therapy and got help.

There's entertaining name-dropping in the book, and Jessica describes meeting Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and Ryan Gosling as adolescents, when they all tried out for the Mickey Mouse Club.

Jessica Simpson met budding young stars when she tried out for the Mickey Mouse Club

Jessica is good friends with Willie Nelson, got encouragement from Celine Dion, got moral support from Dolly Parton, and was compared to Beyoncé, who was a teenage celebrity at the time.

Jessica Simpson and Willie Nelson

Celine Dion

Dolly Parton

Young Beyoncé

Jessica also alludes to secret dates with Hollywood celebrities, but doesn't mention their names. To hide from the public, these assignations involved back doors, rented cars, hiding in the rear seat, and other measures to remain under the radar.

There's much more in the book, about the tragic death of Jessica's teenage cousin and best friend Sarah; Jessica's talented sister Ashlee; Jessica's singing gigs and albums; Jessica's USO trips to entertain the troops; Jessica's ongoing Christian faith; Jessica's current happiness with her husband and children; Jessica's tummy tuck after childbirth; the many people who assisted Jessica's career; and so on.

Jessica Simpson with her sister Ashlee

Jessica Simpson having fun with her family

Jessica is very open in the narrative, relating numerous anecdotes about her life, warts and all. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, and when Jessica talks about difficult times you can hear the tears and emotion in her voice. The audiobook also has some of Jessica's songs at the end, which is a nice bonus.

One of Jessica's aims in this book is to empathize with people who are tortured by bullies; criticized for their appearance; in unhappy relationships; or otherwise suffering. She feels their pain, and uses herself as an example of someone who learned to cope....someone who gained strength through adversity.

This is a good book, highly recommended to fans of celebrity memoirs.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com
894 reviews40 followers
February 15, 2020
This overly-long and at times rambling book is, like its subject, an interesting mess. While Simpson claims to be an "open book," in truth this is a carefully selected group of stories in which she constantly tells us how smart, talented, and vulnerable she is, claiming that she wants to be a role model and that she wouldn't change one thing from her life. If that's true, she's really the most delusional celebrity ever to write a memoir.

Instead she comes across as a ditzy, dumb, man-hungry, anti-feminist, immoral fame-whore who was raised by two parents who seemed to want to get rich off of their kids. From childhood her dad seemed to want to take advantage of Jessica's singing voice, while her mother did the same later with the clothing line that mom built into a billion-dollar business. At no point do the two ever seem to be good parents, and Jessica just does whatever they tell her well into her 20s. None seem to have any moral boundaries, even though her dad was an evangelical pastor and Jessica claims throughout the book that she is a Christian. Her lifestyle choices don't match what she claims are her beliefs.

You know about the alcoholism that she finally was forced to confront when friends intervened two years ago. She drinks, a lot. For a girl from a church where drinking isn't allowed it's just the first example of her not living her claimed faith. The sexual promiscuity is most shocking--she sleeps with just about every guy she meets and very quickly. She glosses over a few in the book but gives specifics about four. She thinks nothing about bragging about wild sex outside of marriage, even getting pregnant with two of her kids before she's married. There's also the drug usage, which she says she needs to sleep and lose weight but was really just another bad habit.

Through it all she has an incredible lack of self-awareness or accepting of any responsibility. She clings to men, then blames them for all her problems. Her dad, her first husband, her crazy famous secret boyfriend John Mayer, her football star boyfriend Tony Romo, her doctors, and now her current husband. There is no remorse shown from her in this book and she throws virtually every man in her life under the bus.

The one guy who seemed to have her back--Nick Lachey--is given almost 140 pages and it's a pretty candid revelation of a not-so-happy Hollywood life. But she is despicable in taking advantage of his strengths then discarding him for no real reason other than how he looks at her. She is the one who doesn't communicate yet blames him for her needing to file for divorce.

Her father also gets thrown under the bus and literally forced out of the closet. She says at the end that she gave him passages to read before publishing, so we must assume he okayed it but he comes across as a money-hungry control freak who says horrible things to a daughter that remains faithful to him, searching for his approval.

She gives herself way too much credit in her abilities and doesn't see that she was manipulated by many of those close to her. She comes across as coy, flirty, naive, and then suddenly turns on other because she's mentally unable to process things normally. Is the reason her childhood car accident, where at 23 months she was thrown into a windshield? Is it her dad moving around so much when young, not truly being a good family leader, expecting his child to help pay the bills? Is it her limited education by dropping out of high school and later getting a GED?

Is it her sexual assault as a child by a female friend? The harrowing scenes of her being mocked in school as a lesbian after her closest friend reveals to others that Jessica was sexually assaulted is just heartbreaking, but she treats it like it's no big deal.

There are many things for her to regret, to apologize for, to do some soul searching about and realize that she's the opposite of a faith-based role model. It's actually all a very sad story that's a prime example of everything that's wrong with Hollywood, modern evangelical Christianity, parenthood, the music business, and blame-shifting "empowered" women. After 400 pages I still can't figure out how this under-educated woman with only a passable singing voice is in a mansion, taking a dozen people on European trips, and has a clothing line that makes a fortune.
Profile Image for Meags.
2,067 reviews353 followers
March 4, 2020
4 Stars

At times laugh-out-loud funny and at others deeply moving and sometimes even shocking, Jessica Simpson’s autobiography is (brutally) honest, genuine and full-tilt entertaining.

Jessica holds nothing back, talking her readers through the ups and downs of her tumultuous life, reflecting on her faith, her music career, her relationships, motherhood, and even her decades-long personal struggles with her weight and alcohol addiction.

As a teenage girl of the late nineties, Jessica’s music (along with music from her fellow pop stars of the times, like Britney and Christina) was pretty big in my teeny-bopper, music loving world, so this was an autobiography that appealed to me on many levels. I learned a lot of interesting tid-bits here and enjoyed how frank Jessica was in her reflections of her life and relationships.

For me, it was perhaps a bit heavy at times on the churchy stuff, but I can’t rightly complain when Jessica’s religious beliefs and spiritual faith is such a pivotal and influential part of her personal life and experiences.

Personally, I got my hands on the audio edition of this book, narrated by Jessica herself, and I’m pretty sure that made the experience 99% more raw and entertaining. Plus, the new songs at the end are well worth the listen and arguably the best music she's ever put out.

Overall, this was a worthwhile memoir to read/listen to, especially if you’ve ever been a fan of Jessica Simpson, whether it be through her music or through her memorable time on reality TV and in film.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,039 reviews348 followers
July 10, 2020
Note: I don't rate biographies/memoirs.

I'm so glad I picked up the audio for this. I'd never have called myself a Jessica Simpson fan. She was just a bit too 'Jesus take the wheel' for me, but I took the overwhelming positive reviews for this and ran with it. And Jessica really does come across as a warmhearted, genuine woman. She's deeply candid in this, and as her voice breaks talking about her more vulnerable moments, I found myself drawn to her story.

It's a story filled with sadness, failed marriages and depression. Jessica doesn't shy away from expressing her emotions at various points of her life, and her troubles with her body issues, drinking and low self esteem. However there's also moments of love and joy, as Jessica talks about her passion for music and her ambition to share this passion with the world. Her story reads very quickly too. I flew through it in a day, completely taken in, and nodding along with Jessica's statements on body image and shaming women and her declining confidence.

She's a lot stronger than the ditzy blonde she's perceived in the media.
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
882 reviews760 followers
May 27, 2020
I’m honestly floored, what a stellar memoir.

I'm embarrassed to say that I thought I had Jessica Simpson pegged in the context of 2000s pop star. I was a bit too young to really follow her life in the moment, but I grew up knowing her as the hot blonde from The Dukes of Hazzard, and definitely didn't think about her deeper than that.

This really changed my opinion. I cried more than once? I laughed a lot? I felt all of the feelings? I also felt empathy on the deepest level for her situation in pop's culture, and left with a much better appreciation for her as a person and trailblazer for our more modern version of the female icon.

There are no other words for it: it's a 5 star.

(Also, screw John Mayer.)

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Profile Image for Corina.
781 reviews2,092 followers
June 21, 2020
I didn't know what to expect BUT I love a great celebrity memoir. These kind of books allow me a glimpse behind the curtain so to speak, that otherwise would have been closed.

So far I've read
Becoming by Michelle Obama , Open by Andre Agassi , Born Standing Up A Comic's Life by Steve Martin , Born a Crime Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah , Life by Keith Richards , Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming
all were utterly fascinating to me. Open Book was no exception.

This book is for the author's fans, and although I never was one, I nevertheless enjoyed it. It was well put together, well written, entertaining, blunt, open, and all in all a really good memoir.

The book chronicles the author's childhood, how it all began and the many hurdles she had to overcome. But the biggest part of the book focused on the men in her life.

Of the topics/events she mentioned in this memoir, most of it can be googled because they are public knowledge. But there were some aspects like her struggle with alcohol, and private decisions and conversations between her and her partners that were definitely news to me.

Most of all I loved that she didn't shy away from talking about her dizzy and not so proud moments. She talked very candidly about her first marriage, former boyfriends, failures and lastly her struggle with alcohol.

Over the years she has become an increasingly smart and savvy business woman, who knows how to deliver to her fans/audience. Compared to the many singers and stars that started out with her, Jessica Simpson actually made it to the top. And can be proud of it!

Overall, I devoured the book.

I think it took me only three days to listen to the 10 hours of her narrating, which she did an excellent job of.

Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog.
Find me on Bookstagram.
June 24, 2020
I'm not sure how I ended up reading this but I'm honestly glad that I did!

I wasn't a huge fan of pop music but even I knew as a teen that Jessica was overshadowed by Britney and Christina. She had a phenomenal voice but for some reason she never quite reached the same level of fame.
Then came MTV's Newlyweds and I was so irritated by the dumb blonde routine. She was obviously a talented and smart woman but embraced what she thought was expected of her. Nick and Jessica were everywhere. Then came the inevitable divorce followed by the paparazzi and the scandals.
Open Book is such an honest look at her life to this point, now re-married with three kids. I appreciated the candid thoughts and could tell she was writing with her children always in mind. She tackles all her demons: childhood abuse by a family friend, body dysmorphia, marrying young before she knew herself, losing her identity as she put men first, and addiction.
She tells readers what her first marriage was really like and the strain that reality TV put on the relationship, though she never actually bad-mouths Nick. I like that she told her side but remained respectful of their relationship.
Then there's the honestly surprising (to me) "emotional affair" she had with Johnny Knoxville during and after filming The Dukes of Hazzard.
And whoa, John Mayer. I'd honestly forgotten about him (I'm way behind on pop culture: is he still relevant?) but I remember rolling my eyes at some pretentious interviews with him back in the day. Jessica confirmed his high ranking douchery with the details of their bizarre on and off relationship.

The bulk of her book is about the dependence she's had on her relationships and how her identity became tangled up in them.
She reveals her long struggle with alcohol and while it's honest, it will be hard for most people to identify with because she had this giant support team that set everything up for her recovery while she was having her hair done in her home. She didn't attend a rehab; she was fortunate enough to have a therapist arrive at her home the same night she chose to get help. I'm definitely not putting her down for that: I admire her for acknowledging she needed help and for actually accepting it--- it's just that most people don't have that option.

Open Book feels like a love letter to her kids; she's telling them the mistakes she's made, what she's learned, and the struggles she went through that led her to them. She seems content and I appreciate her message. I'm happy to see the woman who once played up the dumb blonde act can embrace the incredibly savvy businesswoman (seriously, a 1 billion+ dollar company?!?) that she is and be comfortable in her own skin.

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Michelle.
696 reviews77 followers
June 26, 2020
I’ve been a Jessica Simpson fan since I saw her very first video in 2009, “ I Wanna Love You Forever.” She came out like a ray of sunshine amongst a bed of sunflowers , no auto-tune necessary, in a regular everyday outfit not having to bare it all, and easily one of the most beautiful girls I’ve seen in my lifetime. While she belted out her beautiful lyrics, I fell in love with everything that she stood for. A southern; classy girl who didn’t have to be a size zero to be her own success story. “ I wanna be an example to girls all over the world...That you don’t have to compromise your values to be successful.”

I admire her just as much, if not so much MORE after reading this book and discovering that she is just as flawed as the rest of us— celebrities are human too.

“ I leaned forward and kissed my own reflection.” - Jessica. I have never done this, but maybe I should.

“ Right now, with this book I want the freedom to say, well there are no more secrets. I’ve grown into myself and come to a place where I want to be honest about my flaws.” I’m getting there too Jessica, slowly but surely.

This book truly bares it all—no bars held—Jessica will go from discussing her clothing line that welcomes all shapes and sizes, to discovering that she was an alcoholic and therefore unwell in her current mindset, to being incredibly proud of the family that she has built today and back again to her —-at times miserable, but mostly informative dating life.

This book was so incredibly relatable that sometimes it hurt. I sympathized with so much she had gone through. “I am not okay.” She proclaims and means it whole- heartedly. I can’t help but be proud of her.

When discussing her Jessica Simpson clothing line , she expresses “ Hello, I have had EVERY size in my closet, so I BETTER be inclusive.” This hit home hard for me, I’ve been a size 2 and I’ve been a size 12, I’m immunocompromised so steroids that I have no choice but to take can blow me up like a blimp and then deflate me back down a week, a month, a year later. I have an array of sizes in my closet, but at least I have something for any one of my friends to borrow at any given moment. To me, size doesn’t and never will matter, I get you Jessica. Thank you for being such a fantastic role model.

“My anxiety took over, I didn’t know what to do with all of that energy. I was like a lot of women who get their wish— I loved being a Mom, I just didn’t love being me. To avoid feeling I numbed myself with alcohol.” “ I know, I know, I told my friends...I just need another one.” How many of us have drank away our sorrows, our bad days, used a drink try to forget or cope? I’m certainly guilty.

“...Even then, I knew it was getting out of hand, but I put it on the back-burner. I told myself eventually you’ll get it together. There was always a later...” Sadly, I reason this very same thing to myself so many times a day. “... I remind myself that life is really about one moment at a time— to not think about two years from now, But to think about me right now.” Thank you Jessica, I needed that.

Jessica also discusses how far paying even one person a day a small compliment can go. By just telling someone that her eyes were pretty it changed how she saw herself. I, too, strive to do this as often as possible. I’ve never been one of those catty girls that is jealous of another— I will be the first person to tell my significant other that, “Wow, she’s beautiful.” Ask any of my exes, they will agree. Beauty is beauty.

I won’t tell you everything about this book but in it she discusses her marriage and divorce with Nick Lachey , dating and not dating other well known celebs, the constant battle with the forced image of being an appropriate weight that she refers to as being “weightless”, her love of purses, her dog Daisy Mae, bankruptcy, having a stutter, barely making it out of a car accident, sexual abuse, getting signed to her first label, the power of prayer, her acting debut in the show “Newlyweds” exhibiting her marriage and the movie “ The Dukes of Hazard”, about volunteering to visit those serving in the military, how it felt to have a number one video and number one movie the very same week, and so much more.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Also, if you pick up the audio version there are exclusive songs included!

5 stars.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,072 reviews63 followers
August 13, 2022
5 Stars for Open Book (audiobook) by Jessica Simpson read by the author.

This was a wonderful autobiography. I knew that Jessica Simpson was a pop star and had been in a couple of movies but I really didn’t know anything about her back story. It was fascinating to hear about her life. She really talks openly about her highs and lows and how her faith has kept her grounded. There is an extra treat at the end of the audiobook, she has included 20 minutes of her music that inspired this book.
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