“I Am Jess: A Memoir” by Jessica Fahl

I Am Jess: A Memoir

Jessica Fahl
Independently Published (2021)
ISBN 9798985222708
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (5/2022)

“I Am Jess” may begin as a storybook love. A woman swept off her feet by an older man. But Jess’ story is an important one. Of an invisible life outside of the façade built to house the idyllic relationship of Scott and Jessica. An important lesson, an admirable memoir, and a strong woman.

Each week we pass by thousands of couples. At home, driving together, on the street, thousands of couples are within eye-shot each week. What we don’t know is what their relationship or life is like behind closed doors.

Jessica and Scott appeared to have it all: nice house, fancy cars, even the ideal two children. Scott was Jessica’s first long-term boyfriend, she gave him her twenties, and he cut her off from friends, family, and everyone close to her. She didn’t recognize the signs, nor did she have a “way out,” with no savings or career. Scott’s small manipulations, frivolous lies, and extreme personality could maybe be written off if they hadn’t occurred so frequently and with such fervor—as Jessica did for so long. But abuse isn’t just physical. Fear in a relationship doesn’t just arise in the physical form. This is a story of how any of those thousands of couples may be going through something we can’t even see via bruises—the invisible abuse.

I was appalled by Scott’s lack of support. From refusing to do any childcare, to leaving his newly post-partum wife in the hospital in favor of restful sleep at home. I was appalled by his lack of support or interest when she started her own business. His general disinterest in her life, her family, and ultimately their own kids together, was shocking. However, from the outside in, it is easy to be angry at Scott or dazed by his actions, but as Jessica admits she did a good job of hiding it, playing it off, or making up excuses for him, to herself and her family.

Jess spins a thorough tale, sadly relatable to many women. Her strength in sharing the details and honesty of how it all played out are commendable. Her words cut deep and left the intended marks as I check in on my own friends and analyze my own relationships. I am grateful that Jess shared her story, her family, her loves, her abuses, and her struggles with readers. While we may not find each event relatable, as a woman, I felt connected to her struggles and empathetic to her fight, fears, and pain. We may not all know a “Scott” personally, but her story still resonates deeply. Her strength still empowers those going through other relationship or personal struggles.

“I Am Jess” is a powerful read, full of engaging stories, tying neatly together over the course of Jess’ life.

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