I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy is a celebrity memoir that puts all others to shame. Jeanette recalls her life growing up in an abusive household and her journey to healing.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
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.
Characters: 8 | Atmosphere: 8 | Writing: 10 | Plot: 9 | Intrigue: 10 | Logic: 9 | Enjoyment: 10
“Heavenly Father, please grant me patience. And be quick.”
I’ve read plenty of celebrity memoirs, and I often find myself disappointed at how flat and surface-level they seem. “I’m Glad My Mom Died” does not do that. This book exceeded all my expectations. Jeanette McCurdy has managed to write one of the most compelling and interesting memoirs I’ve ever read. If I had not grown up watching iCarly and you had told me Jeanette was a writer before being an actor, I would fully believe that based on this alone. The perspective being written from Jeanette at whatever age she was retelling was a really interesting writing style, and it worked exceptionally well.
“My life purpose has always been to make Mom happy, to be who she wants me to be. So without Mom, who am I supposed to be now?”
It does seem that some are uncomfortable with the title. However, the title is a clear reflection of how little healing would be able to be done had her mother not passed. If Jeanette’s mother was still here, I fully believe Jeanette would not be. Healing from childhood abuse is hard, and doing it in the public eye can’t be any easier. Jeanette addresses all these things and more and does a fantastic job.
“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.”
Some people may come to this book for “the tea”, and I’d highly recommend that you don’t do that. You won’t find it here. Instead, you’ll find an emotional story of parental abuse and some inclusion of how Hollywood isn’t the place for children. There is a level of delicacy that this book uses when referring to how Jeanette may have felt *at the time* compared to how she feels or how she recognizes where those feelings came from and I think that that’s done really well.
“I want my life to be in my hands. Not an eating disorder’s or a casting director’s or an agent’s or my mom’s. Mine.”
I cannot recommend this book enough. It was well told and well thought out, and you can tell it comes from a place of healing. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. And thank you to Jeanette McCurdy for sharing her story.