Review of I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
“I take a longer look at the words on her headstone.– I’m Glad My Mom Died
Brave, kind, loyal, sweet, loving, graceful, strong, thoughtful, funny, genuine, hopeful, playful, insightful, and on and on…
Was she, though? Was she any of those things? The words make me angry. I can’t look at them any longer.
Why do we romanticize the dead? Why can’t we be honest about them?”
“I’m Glad My Mom Died” is a heartbreakingly beautiful story about how some things aren’t always what they seem
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.
I’m not used to reading non-fiction and certainly not used to reading a memoir, but I heard so many great things about I’m Glad My Mom Died that I had to read it. Or, in my case, listen to it.
I’m Glad My Mom Died is shocking to say the least. I can’t imagine how it would feel to go through all that and still show up for work. I have to say I was quite sad when I found out Jennette wouldn’t participate in the iCarly reboot, but now my whole view on the matter has changed. Listening to what she has gone through… I mean wow. Her mom was abusive AF. I don’t get how people can be like that, especially to their children.
McCurdy starts the story at 2 years old and continues to jump further in time. This gives the reader the feeling that they are growing up together with her. Somehow, we did kind of grow up with her by seeing her on iCarly. Every time you think McCurdy’s life can’t get any worse, it does get worse. She was forced to start acting at the age of 6 and has never really been that happy. Her mother forced her to act and even forced other things on her such as lowering her food intake so she wouldn’t go into puberty. The book does end on a kind of positive note: she’s doing better now.
Jennette McCurdy is not only the writer of her own memoir, but also the narrator in the audiobook. This adds another layer of personality to the book. It hits different listening to I’m Glad My Mom Died and hearing Jennette’s voice. It somehow makes the story even more sad.
It got confusing at times because McCurdy used other names for some people in her life. I assumed, since she uses Miranda and Nathan’s real names, it would be the same for the other people in her life. Except for The Creator (even though we know exactly who she’s talking about). This made it a bit confusing. In I’m Glad My Mom Died, McCurdy talks about her boyfriend ‘Steven’ who isn’t called Steven in real life. So at first I thought she was talking about someone else. This confused me since she never talked about her boyfriend from that time, but only about this Steven guy and I thought they were two completely different people. Spoiler: they are the same person.
After listening to this book, I’m also glad Jennette McCurdy’s mom died.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It feels a bit weird to rate a memoir, but I really liked it.
Would I recommend it?
I definitely would, even if you have never heard of Jennette McCurdy.
Death of a parent, emotional abuse, panic attacks/disorders, alcoholism, cancer, child abuse, eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia, grief, physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual violence, sexual abuse, toxic relationship, body dysphoria, terminal illness, vomiting
August 9th 2022
Simon & Schuster
About the author
Jennette McCurdy got her start in child acting, which by her late teen years had brought her success (she starred in Nickelodeon’s hit show iCarly and her own spin-off, Sam & Cat). She went on to star in the Netflix series Between, and had a short-lived country music career with Capitol Records Nashville. Despite her outside success, McCurdy felt ashamed of 90% of her resume and ultimately unfulfilled, so she turned to alcohol, but since that didn’t work, she quit acting and began pursuing writing/directing in 2017. She has written/directed a pilot and four short films. Her work has been featured in/on The Hollywood Reporter, Short of the Week, Florida Film Festival, Salute Your Shorts, and many more. She has written articles for Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Her one-woman show “I’m Glad My Mom Died” had a sold-out run at Lyric Hyperion Theatre. She hosts a podcast called “Empty Inside”, where she speaks with guests about uncomfortable topics.