I'd love to be at the book club discussing this book! If you're a mother, or ever had a mother, you may be grateful McCurdy's story isn't yours. But despite the unpleasantness she experienced growing up under the smothering control of a woman in need of help she never receives, McCurdy's humor and belief in her own resilience will carry you from one chapter to the next. Equal parts hysterical and shocking, the book superbly chronicles a young woman's maturation, held up at every turn by her mother's own overwhelming insecurities and desperate need for dominance. In addition, McCurdy, a former child star who made her name at Nickelodeon, pulls back the curtain on the abuse she experienced at the hands of nefarious producers. There's no question the author is a woman of unquestionable strength and perseverance. McCurdy is a hero for daughters, young Hollywood actresses, and any woman challenging herself to become the hero of her own life. Recommended By Gary C. G., Powells.com
I put off reading this for months because my OCD convinced me that reading something titled I'm Glad My Mom Died would kill my own mother. I finally worked up the courage and started reading — only to discover Jennette herself has OCD. What a wonderful irony. This memoir was brutally honest, at times uncomfortable, but always worth reading. I can imagine no subject more painful to recount than an emotionally fraught childhood, and yet Jennette does so bravely and skillfully. Recommended By Charlotte S., Powells.com
A hard to stomach yet profoundly reassuring sentiment to anyone with an abusive or unsafe relationship with their parent(s). Many of us have been forced to excuse our parents' wrongdoings simply because they're our parents. In truth they are more, if not most, capable of hurting us, often in deeply profound ways. Jennette expertly picks this idea apart and opens up a door some of us can't open ourselves. Recommended By Stacy W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Delivered with captivating candor and grace." — Kirkus (Starred Review)
"[McCurdy's] stunning debut offers fierce honesty, empathy for those that contributed to her grief, and insights into the hard-fought attachments and detachments of growing older." — Booklist (Starred Review)
"[An] explosive debut...insightful and incisive, heartbreaking and raw, McCurdy's narrative reveals a strong woman who triumphs over unimaginable pressure to emerge whole on the other side. Fans will be rapt." — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Jennette McCurdy starred in Nickelodeon's hit show iCarly and its spin-off, Sam & Cat, as well as in the Netflix series Between. In 2017, she quit acting and began pursuing writing/directing. Her films have been featured in the Florida Film Festival, the Salute Your Shorts Film Festival, Short of the Week, and elsewhere. Her essays have appeared in HuffPost and The Wall Street Journal. Her one-woman show I'm Glad My Mom Died had two sold-out runs at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre and Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles. She hosts a podcast called Empty Inside, which has topped Apple's charts and features guests speaking about uncomfortable topics. She lives in Los Angeles.