Oh man this book is GOOD. If you’re a 90s baby like me and grew up listening to all the 90s pop princesses, you are in for a treat. Even if you weren’t necessarily a fan of Jessica’s music, I still highly recommend reading her memoir as she does not hold back on any aspect in her life.
From the very beginning of her book you get a detailed grasp on her life, from her growing up in Waco, Texas to how she became a pop music sensation and movie star. Jessica takes the reader through her life growing bouncing around from one Texas town to the next as her father was a pastor at different churches. Her Christian faith was and still is a really important aspect to her life as we learn. Your heart will break as you read of how she was sexually molested multiple times by a family friend when she was a child and how she never felt like she could share her traumatic experience with her parents for several years. We get details about how she was viciously bullied in middle school and how she endured a horrible family tragedy, all while trying to chase her dreams at the same time, as she always felt she was called to sing.
I personally loved reading about her auditions for the Mickey Mouse Club in Florida when she was a teenager, and boy was her competition tough. She was up against Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and a few other names you might have heard of, like Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling. No big deal! She ultimately did not get chosen to be on the show, but you’ll read how ultimately it was fate for her to end up with a record deal and getting more famous than she could have imagined.
Open Book also gives us normal people a scary insight to how brutal the music industry can be. Although Jessica was a tiny, beautiful 5’3 blonde bombshell when she signed her record deal, her label still told her she needed to lose weight, which (obviously) affected the way she ate, looked and treated herself for many years to come. As a woman who’s not in the public eye whatsoever, I truly can’t imagine dealing with that kind of pressure… us as women are our own worst enemies most of the time as it is.
Then we get into some JUICE, y’all. Jessica leaves no details out regarding her relationship/marriage with former 98 Degrees star Nick Lachey, from how they met to how he proposed to her wedding day and the whole experience with filming Newlyweds, one of the first reality shows of the early 2000s. Basically everything we thought or wondered what went on behind the scenes at the time, she spills. It’s delightful and I truly could not put the book down. It just goes to show that no relationship is ever perfect, even when it looks like it is on magazine covers and on television.
Eventually we get to John Mayer. Oh boy. As a John Mayer fan, I cannot rave enough about his music and how wildly talented he is, but man he seemed like a real crappy person when Jessica was dating him. You’ll read story after story about how he emotionally abused her for years, along with manipulating her and her family at the same time. I’ll leave it at that. It’s crazy, y’all.
Her love life isn’t the only topic in Open Book where she doesn’t hold back. Jessica is unapologetically honest about her struggles with alcohol and using it as a crutch, even admitting that she showed up drunk to one of her daughter’s school assemblies at 7:30 in the morning. You also get to know how she landed the iconic role as Daisy Duke in the Dukes of Hazard reboot, that infamous “mom jeans” photo, how she dealt and still deals with haters and body shamers, her relationship with NFL star Tony Romo, trying her hand in Nashville to make a country music record, how she met her husband, motherhood and much, much more.
All in all, this is a very brief and summed up version of Open Book, but it’s one of the best memoirs that’s out there, in my opinion. You get so much information about all facets of Jessica’s life that you had no clue existed and learning about the ins and outs of Hollywood is always fascinating to me. Highly recommend!