Why do we romanticize the dead? Why can’t we be honest about them? Especially moms. They’re the most romanticized of anyone.
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRES: Memoir, Nonfiction
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
RELEASE DATE: 9 August 2022
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.
[Mom] wanted this. And I wanted her to have it. I wanted her to be happy. But now that I have it, I realize that she’s happy and I’m not. Her happiness came at the cost of mine. I feel robbed and exploited.
I’m Glad My Mom Died was something that I wanted to read for awhile, since I first heard about it last September. And it didn’t disappoint. Jeanette McCurdy is a very gifted writer, and made me feel so many emotions during my read.
And yes, I realize that it is now May. AKA: Mom Month. And no, I forgot it was the month that has Mother’s Day, until I was already a bit of the way into the novel. So, at that point I didn’t really feel like stopping for a month.
But maybe it was appropriate to read it during May. I’m not sure. Either way, it’s definitely a good book, but maybe wait until after Mother’s Day unless you want to cry.
Loving someone is vulnerable. It’s sensitive. It’s tender. And I get lost in them. If I love someone, I start to disappear. It’s so much easier to just do googly eyes and fond memories and inside jokes for a few months, run the second things start to get real, then repeat the cycle with someone new.
This book was hard to get through at times, even though I enjoyed it. The thing was, McCurdy wrote in such a way that I was able to feel the emotions the novel was putting out so raw and viscerally. And sometimes it was just… rough, to read.
Though I never had any problems with it, I’m Glad My Mom Died is full of potential triggering material. So if reading about EDs, death, abuse, gaslighting and manipulation, controlling behavior, and alcoholism and addiction is upsetting to you, maybe keep away for your health.
I’m honestly not sure what more to say. I’ve never reviewed a memoir (let alone nonfiction) before, but I’m now finding that it’s a bit difficult to do. Because with memoirs, it isn’t just a story that someone used their imagination to create and then put on paper. This is someone’s life, and all the highs and lows that come with it. And it was a very moving and emotional journey.
I will mention that it made me look back on my early teen days differently now. iCarly is forever going to hit differently.
I feel like the world is divided into two types of people: people who know loss and people who don’t.
So yeah, I highly recommend this book, but only for those who think they can handle the material. It’s very well written, and the way that McCurdy tells her story feels very natural.
Like I said though, it is a bit rough to read at points, so I think that I’ll be taking a break where nonfiction books and memoirs are concerned. I don’t know when I’ll next read one of these books, honestly, as nonfiction isn’t usually my cup of tea.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading, and have a beautiful day/night!
See ya ~Mar