In Simpson’s candidly brutal honest book she details her life-long struggles from being sexually abused as a young child, to becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs. She spares no embarrassment as to how her love life became an addiction as well, one which kept her coming back for more and more verbal and psychological abuse. But, she also describes the moment she realized she needed help and was able to come out of the despair as a new perfectly imperfect person and be ok with that.
But throughout the book while giving us these glimpses into her life, she also tells very funny stories, her misuse of words, the sticking her foot in her mouth and oops moments. As deep as her dark moments may get, there are many lighthearted stories which make you smile intertwined.
She begins the book at the end, telling the reader she has come out the other side of her addictions and despair, then proceeds to explain from the beginning how it all began. First being sexually abused by a family friend at such a young age she did not even know there was a name for it, to the most pivotal moment in her teens when her cousin Sarah, a mentor to her and someone she aspired to be just like, was killed in an auto accident. With her death Simpson devoted (and still does) her life to honoring Sarah’s memory.
She also writes of her love of God and how her strength is always drawn through him. The daughter of a preacher, she has kept her deep faith no matter what choices she has made. And has never blamed Him for any of her bad choices. If anything she credits Him for those choices as it made her who she is today.
By keeping journals from a young age she was able to go back and look at what she had been thinking and why she made the decisions in her life at the time. In one journal entry she writes of meeting Nick Lachey and thinking he was going to be the man she married, even though their age difference years and would unfortunately be one of the reasons for their break-up.
She gives us a candid glimpse into her not so healthy relationship with musician John Mayer, who seemed to play with her head time and time again and added to her low self esteem, something which would come into play over and over when people would comment on her weight or her looks or her choices.
But this “dumb blonde” was not really very dumb. About ten years ago she created a clothing line which has branched out into a billion dollar brand. With the help of her mother and close group of friends whom she trusts, and therapy, she has been able to pick up the pieces of her life, figure out ways to change those negative feelings and be more present in the life of family and friends, but especially in her own life.
Although she knows she is not perfect and never will be and will always be a work in progress (as we all are), she does give sage advice as to how to not make the mistakes she has and that if you do need help, seek it.
Open Book was a sad yet funny yet uplifting story about an innocent girl’s journey from a young age who was able to grow-up into a strong woman, wife and mother with a little help from her friends, family and therapy.