I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (2022)
Non-Fiction | Memoir
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.
Goodreads | Amazon
pooled ink Review:
I tend to stay away from most memoirs etc. because to be honest I have enough of my own problems and am admittedly not a people person so it’s simply not my genre of interest (the world is full of monsters, I know, I don’t need to be constantly reminded of how real that is), but I finally snagged a copy of McCurdy’s story from the library not out of curiosity (Who even isJennette McCurdy? Wait, she played Sam on iCarly??), but because the whole world would not shut up about it and, hey, why the hell not. My reaction? I can’t even find the right word to sum it up.
Every confession, memory, thought, and revelation was infused with simultaneous heartache and entertaining wit. McCurdy walks a talented line as she both reveals her raw self and protects it in a bluntly bold armor like a standup comic in the light. Was I surprised by her story? Not really. I wouldn’t have guessed even half of the details of course, but somehow it didn’t feel surprising either which is tragic. The fact that any of those experiences she shared are familiar and so often repeated in others is disgustingly tragic. And yet…it’s the Hollywood norm. We gasp, we spurn, then we forget and they repeat. One can only hope that with each memoir written, confession breathed, that change will somehow someway rip off the ceiling of plastic glow-in-the-dark stars we’re told to worship as the night sky.
Regardless of why you may have picked up this book (the shock-factor title, the actress herself, the peer pressure, or even the frowned upon nose for gossip), you’ll certainly walk away with at least one thought in your head: “I’m glad she died too.”
Meet Jennette McCurdy!
Website | Goodreads
Jennette McCurdy got her start in child acting, which by her late teen years had brought her success (she starred in Nickelodeon’s hit show iCarly and her own spin-off, Sam & Cat). She went on to star in the Netflix series Between, and had a short-lived country music career with Capitol Records Nashville. Despite her outside success, McCurdy felt ashamed of 90% of her resume and ultimately unfulfilled, so she turned to alcohol, but since that didn’t work, she quit acting and began pursuing writing/directing in 2017. She has written/directed a pilot and four short films. Her work has been featured in/on The Hollywood Reporter, Short of the Week, Florida Film Festival, Salute Your Shorts, and many more. She has written articles for Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Her one-woman show “I’m Glad My Mom Died” had a sold-out run at Lyric Hyperion Theatre. She hosts a podcast called “Empty Inside”, where she speaks with guests about uncomfortable topics.