I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Release Date: 9th August 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Adult, Non-Fiction
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.
I didn’t have access to Nickelodeon growing up, so I only really know who Jennette McCurdy is because I occasionally go on Oh No They Didn’t!… Yes, the Livejournal is still alive and well. I was intrigued by I’m Glad My Mom Died mostly because of the sudden traction it seemed to gain, and also by the title and cover, and then by the subject matter once I started to look into it more.
I found I’m Glad My Mom Died to be entirely engaging and compelling. McCurdy goes into a lot of detail about her early years and how she was pushed into acting by her mother who was living vicariously through her. It was tough to read about, particularly because I found a lot of the emotional and mental abuse quite relatable. Even so, I powered through I’m Glad My Mom Died in less than a day because I just couldn’t put it down.
I listened to I’m Glad My Mom died as an audiobook and, if you are able, I would encourage you to do the same. Jennette McCurdy narrates the book herself, and is able to tell her own story in her own voice. I thought it was brilliant.
I’m Glad My Mom Died sent me into a bit of a spiral of looking into other Disney stars who had a tough time of it. Although I’m Glad My Mom Died is mostly about Jennette’s relationship with her mother, she also goes into a bit of detail about what it was like working on Nikelodeon, and I wanted to know more about other actors and actresses who were potentially affected by it.
I think McCurdy is a great writer, and I have read that she is planning on releasing a novel sometime in the future. Her passion is apparently writing, rather than acting, after all. I look forward to reading that in the future, and I imagine it’ll be just as impactful as her memoir.