Sunday, January 8, 2023

Book Review: I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Title: I'm Glad My Mom Died
Author: Jennette McCurdy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 320
Release Date: August 9, 2022
Genre: Biography/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.

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 read this book in a day - I simply couldn't put it down. I am a mom of two teenage girls so have seen every episode of iCarly numerous times. And I will admit, even as an adult I really enjoyed it and found it fun. But, after reading this, it was anything but fun for Jennette.

I wonder how many young actors/actresses are forced into acting by a parent who wants pseudo-fame? The desperation I felt while reading this, seeing how Jennette would do anything for love and praise from her mom, a woman who was psychologically abuse in so many ways. My heart hurt. And to see how it played a role in everything she did from that point forward.

I was glad to see that she was able to form a solid friendship with Miranda during some of the hardest times in her life. I was a little sad that it seemed as if they drifted apart, but that's what life does. Her upbringing as a Mormon, the pressure to help provide for her family, her relationship with her Grandmother (who I hated almost as much as her Mom) and her mostly non-existent relationship with her Dad. And Steven...oh Steven.

A fabulous read that gives you an in depth look into this amazing woman's life, and how she took it back and is living it to the best of her ability. It's proof, no matter what you have gone through you CAN change and find happiness, even if it is a little at a time.

A great book and solid 4 1/2 stars 

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.

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