“I fear that I’m bitter. I’m too young to be bitter. Especially as a result of a life that people supposedly envy. And I fear that I resent my mother. The person I have lived for. My idol. My role model. My one true love,” (McCurdy 120).
Former child actor Jennette McCurdy reveals all about pursuing her abusive mother’s dream of becoming an actor, her struggles with eating disorders, addiction, anxiety and her struggles with accepting who her mother was and not who she believed her to be.
I’m Glad My Mom Died is honest, and it hurts. Told in short, vignette-style chapters McCurdy isn’t afraid to tell readers just how things happened. It’s one of the most interesting, and strongest, things about the memoir. McCurdy gets herself right into the moments she’s describing, she writes them just as she experienced them and doesn’t shy away from the trauma of the situation. It makes the book truly horrifying and heartbreaking at some points, to see McCurdy in certain scenarios and to see that trauma and, in some contexts, naivete.
The memoir is told in two parts: Before and After. In the Before section, reader’s get a look inside McCurdy’s early childhood years up to her mother’s death. We see how her mother pushes her to pursue acting and the lengths she’ll go to get McCurdy to book roles. We see her working on iCarly and working under “The Creator.” We see McCurdy fawn over her mother, desperate to keep her happy and eager to please her as she sacrifices her own mental health and wellness in order to give her mother a life that makes her happy. In After we see McCurdy’s grief, her struggles with addiction, as well as her journey to wellness as she begins to accept that the times “Before” may not have been as good as she originally thought.
I think this might be the first celebrity memoir I’ve read, and what a way to start! That being said, I don’t know if Celebrities, they’re just like us! Filled with trauma and secrets. The difference is that their secrets sell. There’s a spectacle to the celebrity, a private life that’s never really private, that readers/viewers like us are eager to know more about. So the sadness to this memoir runs deep, knowing that people are reading it in support of McCurdy as well as our own need to be inside a celebrity’s mind, to see their life and privilege if only through their words. That being said I recognize the importance of this memoir and I’m glad I read it. I’m happy McCurdy had the words to write it and I hope it brought her some much-needed catharsis.
McCurdy is a talented writer and I glad she gets to pursue something she’s always wanted to with this memoir. I hope she continues writing, and if she does I can’t wait to read what she writes next!
Publication: August 9th 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 304 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Memoir, Celebrity
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
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.