Former child actor Jennette McCurdy’s memoir recounts her tumultuous relationship with her abusive mother and her struggles with eating disorders and addiction.
A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.
Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother’s dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and Jennette would do anything to make her mother happy. So she went along with what Mom called “calorie restriction,” eating little and weighing herself five times a day. She endured extensive at-home makeovers while Mom chided, “Your eyelashes are invisible, okay? You think Dakota Fanning doesn’t tint hers?” She was even showered by Mom until age sixteen while sharing her diaries, email, and all her income.
In I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette recounts all this in unflinching detail—just as she chronicles what happens when the dream finally comes true. Cast in a new Nickelodeon series called iCarly, she is thrust into fame. Though Mom is ecstatic, emailing fan club moderators and getting on a first-name basis with the paparazzi (“Hi Gale!”), Jennette is riddled with anxiety, shame, and self-loathing, which manifest into eating disorders, addiction, and a series of unhealthy relationships. These issues only get worse when, soon after taking the lead in the iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, her mother dies of cancer. Finally, after discovering therapy and quitting acting, Jennette embarks on recovery and decides for the first time in her life what she really wants.
Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.
Up until a few months ago, I had no idea who Jennette McCurdy was. It was not until I encountered buzz for this book that I had heard the name Jennette McCurdy. On the cusp of being an elder millennial, I have never watched an episode of iCarly or Sam & Cat. But the title peaked my interested and after rave reviews, I decided to forgo my typical no-celebrity-memoirs rule and read I’m Glad My Mom Died.
I’m Glad My Mom Died is a raw, honest, and heartbreaking memoir that details Jennette McCurdy’s upbringing, foray into child acting, and struggles. The book really centers upon her relationship with her mother and the lasting effects of that relationship after her mom’s death from breast cancer.
McCurdy does not use her memoir to cast judgements. Instead, she really provides a reflection and an account of her life. This allows readers to truly grasp the complexities of her relationship with her mother and consider the complicated nature of all interpersonal relationships, particularly with our parents.
McCurdy’s writing is straight-forward and unbridled. The chapters are not weighted down with flowery prose or in depth descriptions. Instead, you read the words seemingly straight from McCurdy’s mouth, as if a friend is telling you their inner thoughts and feelings. I listened to this book on audio and think this aided in me receiving the story this way. Narrated by the author herself, the audio was an experience I highly recommend.
The chapters are short and succinct which I thought really served the stories told. McCurdy’s memoir includes a lot of heavy subject matter, and I think the brief, but pointed chapters helped deliver those subjects in manner that readers could digest and sit with, without it becoming overwhelming.
Overall, I thought that McCurdy gives us an honesty look at her experiences that few celebrities are willing to present. I really enjoyed reading I’m Glad My Mom Died and highly recommend it.
I’m Glad My Mom Died
Nonfiction – Memoir
August 9, 2022