I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy is kind of everywhere lately—and rightly so. Between the double-take of a title combined with a stunning cover shot, many readers (including me) couldn’t resist checking it out. I never watched iCarly or Sam & Cat on Nickelodeon and was only peripherally aware of Jennette as a former child star. But you don’t have to be a fan of either show to read the book and connect with it on a deeply emotional level.
First, a bevy of content warnings:
disordered eating, eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, predatory behavior, alcohol abuse, cancer, death
Jennette grew up as a child star with a narcissist mother who desperately tried to live vicariously through her child’s fame and success. Suffering from an untreated eating disorder, her mother taught her how to restrict her eating and develop her own anorexia at a young age. Jennette’s mother abused her emotionally and sexually for years. As if all this wasn’t traumatic enough, Jennette and her fellow child stars were regularly exposed to predator producer “The Creator” (referenced throughout her book by this pseudonym, although it’s pretty universally acknowledged that The Creator is likely infamous creep Dan Schneider of Nickelodeon).
With all this in mind, it’s unsurprising why Jennette would indeed be relieved and glad that her mom died. But it’s complicated. Although her mother was undoubtedly abusive in numerous ways, Jennette still loved her, as many abused people do. Following her mom’s death, Jennette continued to struggle with eating disorders, alcoholism, and mental health issues. Through a combination of time, therapy, her one-woman show (also titled I’m Glad My Mom Died) and her subsequent #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, Jennette continues to work through her painful, complex past to find the joy in her present.
McCurdy reads the audio version and I strongly recommend getting ahold of it if you can. There’s something about hearing her relay the details of her life—literally in her own voice—that hits especially hard. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of celebrity memoirs, self-help, or both—regardless of whether you watched her tv show or not. Her voice is poignant and relatable, and I’m so happy that she’s finally in a better place in her life.