Friday, June 4, 2021

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The great celebrity dish and candid stories I'd hoped for were not in this book. The dish is drab, the story lifeless and sanitized. It feels very carefully crafted to conceal a lot for a memoir called "Open Book." It's simply not that good.

As someone who isn't a fan of Simpson's, I picked this up on recommendations of many online that this book had great gossip and uncommon candor for a celebrity memoir. This was a load of hooey.

The most dirt you get will be on John Mayer, but it basically confirmed that he's as big a jerk as he seems, and in the end it's not that interesting. It could've been if she'd reflected on what motivated her to keep going back to him, to put her career on hold to follow him around on tour, etc., but her waters don't run deep, y'all. 

If you read between the lines of this book (penned with the aid of a "writing coach"), it gives the surface appearance of revealing a lot without really doing so, and rarely showing anything that seems truly reflective or reveals much about Simpson herself.

She admits to a drinking problem, but we get very few details that go into what that was like for herself and her husband and children. Admitting to a drinking problem and how you missed a Halloween with your kids because of it doesn't reveal the nitty-gritty of how you acted, what your family saw, how it affected them. She talks about frequent parties at her home that go all day and into the night, and that this was something she'd done for years. Of course there was drinking there. These parties are a big part of her lifestyle. How bad did it get, what did her kids see, to what degree does her husband have a problem as well? She once mentions him drinking all day at a party along with her, but then mentions nothing more about his drinking. So do the parties stop? Many people with an addiction change their lifestyle and friend group after they sober up, because they can't go on the way they were. She doesn't go into this here at all, and I imagine she didn't make those changes. In fact, she never calls herself an alcoholic. She does once say she has alcoholism in her bloodline, which feels like a way of sidestepping her own problem. All Simpson admits to is drinking too much, again and again. I think she's covering up a lot, even to herself.

A few categories of people might enjoy this book: Big fans of Jessica Simpson, big fans of anyone she dated who will love any little trickle of insider info, and religious people who love to see a celebrity writing about her faith (which she mentions frequently) even if the book as a whole isn't great. That's it.

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