Review | I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

“Why do we romanticize the dead? Why can’t we be honest about them? Especially moms, they’re the most romanticized of anyone. Moms are saints, angels by merely existing. No one could possibly understand what it’s like to be a mom. Men will never understand, women with no children will never understand. No one buts moms know the hardship of motherhood and we non-moms must heap nothing but praise upon mom because we lowly, pitiful, non-moms are mere peasants compared to the goddesses we call mothers.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: screenplays, hush money, crying on cue, auditions, eating disorders, jealousy, child stardom, gift baskets and abusive parents.

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.

It’s impossible not to be curious about this book after reading the title. Like everyone else who came across this book, I was hooked by the words “I’m Glad My Mom Died”. That sounds very scandalous… and intriguing!

This book is Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, and trust me: it’s a good one. I watched iCarly occasionally (not religiously), so I was already familiar with Jennette’s work as an actress, but I would have never in a million years guessed what was behind her success. 

She shares a lot in her book so there are a lot of things she talks about, but here are the things that stood out to me the most:

  1. The family dynamics – how her parents were always fighting, how she didn’t have a close relationship with her father and how she would rather spend time at church than at home because it was her happy place away from home.
  2. The abuse, manipulation and exploitation from her mother – this is probably the main focus of the book. From a very young age she had her hair bleached, eyebrows done and etc because her mom wanted her to be perfect for acting roles. Jennette was constantly stressing and worrying about not getting her mother upset and that took a big toll on her mental health. Not only that but her mother knew she would feel bad, so she would take advantage of her daughter.
  3. The child stardom – the fact that she never wanted to act in the first place – was a very important thing in this book. Her mother made her act because it was her dream to become famous, but it wasn’t Jennette’s dream. She did a lot that she doesn’t want, including having to deal with that “Creator” creepy guy (allegedly Dan Schneider).
  4. The body image issues and eating disorders – another big thing about her story is that her mother created her bulimia. If this sounds weird to you, I am sure you haven’t read the book, but it’s true. It’s very sad that she developed a very serious eating disorder because her mother made her starve constantly.

This is a very personal memoir, but mostly – it’s an important one. This is just a real life example of what so many child actors go through growing up. They frequently are abused and exploited by parents and people in the business, and they’re scarred for life – just like Jennette was

It’s a very impactful and tough book to read, and I’m very impressed with what was achieved with this book. I congratulate Jennette for sharing her story and for being brave to speak about her experience as a child actress. It is one of the best memoirs I have ever read – so that’s saying a lot!

2 thoughts on “Review | I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

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