Title: I’m Glad My Mom Died
Author: Jennette McCurdy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 15th September 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.
I’m a younger millennial and the exact same age as Jennette McCurdy so I do have a vague recollection of iCarly being on television in my youth. That, the shocking title and the huge amount of attention this book has been getting prompted me to listen to the audiobook and I was in turn horrified, emotional and massively impressed by Jennette’s bravery in telling her story. The audiobook, which I would highly recommend, is narrated by Jennette herself. This gives it an immediacy and authenticity which makes it pack an enormous emotional punch.
I’m Glad My Mom Died covers some very dark topics such as abuse, eating disorders, coercive control and addiction so do be aware of that before reading. Jennette doesn’t hold anything back. She is entirely candid and forthright in her delivery which makes it hard to listen to at times due to the harrowing experiences of her past. I have some family experience with eating disorders and Jennette’s honesty on the topic is heartbreaking but vitally important. She articulates the horrific yet addictive nature of anorexia and bulimia in a way that makes it impossible not to come away with a real understanding of the complexity and insidious nature of these disorders. The entire book is written with a no nonsense wit and impressive candour. I really think this is a book everyone should read – it is a truly remarkable memoir.
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