I’m not a big Jessica Simpson fan.
I remember one of her songs (Irresistible), saw maybe 5 minutes of Newlyweds (that was enough), remember being annoyed in college as she was just one in an endless string of blonde pop stars, saw a smokin’ picture of her as Daisy Duke, and in general just remember that she was known for her pipes, hot bod, and blonde hair. That’s it!
I saw she had a memoir out, and didn’t care. But then I kept seeing that people were just loving it! Okay, fine, I decided to see what all the hype was about. I remember Jeff laughed when he saw the book on the shelf. He wasn’t being mean, I understood the confused laugh. I think I laughed the same way when I checked it out at the library.
I actually really liked it.
I guess I was expecting a book about her rise to stardom and maybe a passage or two about her cruddy marriage but mostly a play-by-play of her perfect life. My guesses were proven wrong from the very beginning, as she opens with a couple of scenes from present day that immediately shed any sort of a perfect life filter. It’s very much an immediate glimpse of what a hot mess her life has been and occasionally can still be.
I’m not judging her particular hot mess, as I think we are all navigating through our own complex and sometimes nightmarish situations. I learned from my reading that she has the tendency to complicate her situations, but don’t we all?
My family probably hates me because I always share the story about how if we were to all throw our problems into a big pile, we’d be rushing to grab our problems back as opposed to trade them with anyone else’s problems. I mention this so often because it’s both weirdly comforting and yet constantly surprising. I’d rather have my own problems than even Jessica Simpson’s problems. Wild!
Her memoir title is accurate. She gives an overview of her life basically from start to present, and does a good job of providing the highlights (and lowlights?). She even owns up to some of the really stupid things she has said and although she usually provides some context, she never excuses herself for it. She’s not trying to get readers to think she’s any sort of deep thinker, although she has a great line in the very beginning about how she knows some people wouldn’t expect that she could string a sentence together but that she’s actually a big reader and writer. I believe that, and in fact I was kept on my toes by just the back and forth of her describing something stupid she said or did (what an idiot!) and then her profound insights about herself and her life (what an introspective and normal-seeming person!)
I also really appreciated how open she was about her faith. When I was at Big Brothers Big Sisters, I conducted a lot of volunteer interviews with folks primarily within about 10 years of my age. I learned a lot from those interviews (and would love to discuss that further with you) but one pattern that I saw was this wrinkling of the nose when I posed the question, “Are you religious?” Their response 90% of the time was, “I’d say I’m more spiritual.” It seems like people within this demographic are increasingly wary of organized religion and seem to be more in favor of a more personal spiritualism. (Although I’m getting away from my point, I’d venture a guess that church politics plays a role.) (This is just me spouting off from my anecdotal evidence – I’m bringing nothing to the table right now in the form of research, sources, or supporting poems.) Anyway – right or wrong or neither, Jessica opted not to appeal to the masses by talking in vague terms about spirituality and inner voices but really just put her beliefs right out there and never deviated from them. I found that refreshing and amazingly – believable.
After turning the last page, I decided to “follow” her on Twitter. Pretty much all of the comments are yay or nay on the state of her body. Annoying. So I’m glad that there are those like me who chose to spend some time with just her brains (and heart!) for a while and better understand who she actually is.
Author's Note: The theme of Jessica's second wedding was Great Expectations, and I'm sorry to spoil it for you, but she *didn't* have her makeup artist make her up to look like an old lady in her wedding dress. So she wasted a totally perfect opportunity, which I have placed in her "dumb moves" file.
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.