Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Simple Jess is a simple love story. People tend to think of simple things as unworthy. Not the case at all. In a world where everything is complicated, murky, and it's hard to tell what is real and what isn't, the simple gets taken for granted. Kind of like Jesse Best.
Merriam-Webster lists these definitions of Simple, which I will hide in a spoiler if you don't care to read them...(view spoiler)[
: free from guile : innocent
a : free from vanity : modest b : free from ostentation or display
: of humble origin or modest position
a : lacking in knowledge or expertise b (1) : stupid (2) : mentally retarded c : not socially or culturally sophisticated : naive; also : credulous
a : sheer, unmixed b : free of secondary complications c (1) : having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses (2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects d : constituting a basic element : fundamental e : not made up of many like units
: free from elaboration or figuration
a (1) : not subdivided into branches or leaflets (2) : consisting of a single carpel (3) : developing from a single ovary b : controlled by a single gene
: not limited or restricted : unconditional
: readily understood or performed
I am a person who puts a lot of importance in education and in using your brain. I can blame that in part on my upbringing, but not completely. I have internalized that message way too much. I think that this book was therapeutic for me. In the rat race of life, I often forget to value what there is in my life that is free from elaboration, unconditional, without guile, fundamental. I put too much importance in achieving, only to feel bereft when those things fail to deliver. At the end of the day, I can still be loved, even if I am not the MVP at my job, don’t have millions of dollars in the bank, listed as a MENSA member, or on Maxim's Hot 100 or People's most beautiful list.
Jesse is the reminder of the steadfast things in life. The pure items of worth and beauty that seem diminished when we look in the horizon and see the greener grass that doesn’t belong to us. His heart is full of love. He’s a man who can be trusted to do what he promises. His ability to forgive is not based on his lack of intelligence but in the strength of his loving heart. When Althea needed help he gave it to her, asking for very little in return. And Althea saw that what Jesse lacked was much less than what he possessed.
Althea thought being alone and independent was better than relying on anyone else. She’d always felt like the unwanted addition since her father left her and went off to remarry another woman. She was the spare relative that had to prove she was worthy of being around. She didn’t want that feeling for her son, and she jealously guarded him, afraid to allow anyone else to influence him. But Jesse showed her that it was okay to trust in someone else, with her son and with everything that was truly of value. It took the kind words of Granny Piggott to get her to see that we need people, even those people who are the hardest to deal with.
I thought about the strange magic that is love. Our tendency to believe that our soulmate will come in a certain package or a specific way. That is if we even believe that love is possible for us. But God has other plans for us. I feel that in this story he was telling me that he gives beauty for ashes. Even though Jess was born diminished, and many folks took every opportunity to remind him of that, he had been given much in return for what he lacked. And that was more than enough to see him safe, loved, and content, and a blessing to others in his life. Another reminder to me that being content is the goal. Appreciating what seems merely adequate, when beneath or through a different set of glasses is pure riches.
I appreciate the simple beauty of this story. In the simplicity, I found true richness of storytelling and a resonance on an emotional level that makes me smile as I type the final words of this review.
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