Fame By Any Means Necessary | A Book Review on I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Author: Jennette McCurdy
Page Count: 320
Hi Friends. I'm Back with another hot take on the latest books I've read. This one was an interesting journey to say the very least. In all honesty, memoirs and nonfiction books usually bore me to tears, but this memoir was different. Maybe it was the fact that Jennette was born to be a writer that connected with me. This didn't seem anything like the memoirs I had read (attempted to) in the past.
I originally had no interest in reading it. None whatsoever. Yes, I knew who Jennette McCurdy was because I was a fan of iCarly back in the day (is that showing my age?). But by the time Sam & Cat had released I had grown out of the Disney Channel/Nickelodeon phase. Put away childish things, right? Anyway, I had heard whispers of the creepy stuff that was going on behind the scenes with Dan Schneider and I had even done a few deep dives out of morbid curiosity, but I figured this memoir wouldn't hold my attention. After all, up until this point, they never had.
I was scrolling on Twitter and I happened to see an excerpt from I'm Glad My Mom Died that simultaneously broke my heart and changed my mind. I needed to read this book. After sharing the tidbit with my close friends who were also in the iCarly days and shaking our heads at how sad it was, I knew I needed to find it. To my dismay, it was sold out everywhere (congrats, Jennette!!). Literally the book purchases broke Amazon and the book sold out the day after it was released. Thankfully, a friend of mine had snatched a copy (still not even sure how) and let me borrow it since she had already absorbed it in one day. By the way, here is the excerpt that hit me:
Right?! I know! So when I got my hands on the book, I thought I had time before I got to this part but no. Bruh this was THE PROLOGUE! Like??? You not gonna take me slow? You're just going to punch me in the face with emotions from the jump? You coming out swinging from the gate? Okay, Jennette. Okay. I see you.
After realizing this was going to be a painful (in a good way) read I took a deep breath, clenched my butt cheeks, and braced myself for the emotional beat down this book was about to unleash. So without further ado, let's get in to it, shall we?
Excerpt from Amazon
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.
So when I wasn't a blubbering mess of emotions and snot, I was laughing/relating to the sarcasm and general disdain for the human population. This book was a perfect mix of heartbreak, sarcasm, and social awkwardness. It made me want to shield Jennette from the world after being hurt by so many people for so long. Which, let's admit, is a bit odd considering she wouldn't know me from a can of paint. Imagine me a plus sized black woman, seeing her, a petite white girl in public and barreling towards her trying to "protect" her from other people? I'd be arrested and labeled crazy faster than the speed of light.
It was so upsetting to see the adults in her life fail her. Adults that were supposed to love and shield her from pain and heartache were the ones causing the pain and the heartache. How screwed up is that? If anything, it made me super grateful for my own mom and grateful that I was never famous. It seems almost common place now to find out that the child stars we grew up with and loved and cherished as if they were our people suffered so much trauma in the name of "entertainment".
There was so much abuse happening in the background while we watched them all fake smiles and pretend like life was perfect in front of the cameras. It makes me feel guilty. Now that I know what was happening behind the scenes, I don't think I could ever bring myself to watch iCarly again.
It feels almost rude to try and break the book apart into "like" and "dislike" sections. I usually do this with fiction books and stories that have been made up. I haven't done it with a memoir. I feel like I shouldn't. It feels almost inappropriate to dissect someone's truth for the sake of a blog, but here I am.
Humor. Even though this story was so incredibly sad, it was also funny. There were moments where I was laughing through the tears. Some of the sarcastic quips in this book I related to on a spiritual level. I loved that there was a balance of humor with the heartbreaking material, but the humor did not lessen the blow of the sadness.
Honesty. Jennette was honest in I'm Glad My Mother Died. Some might say she was too honest, but I think this was more of a healing/coping mechanism for her own sanity than it was a book for our entertainment. If that makes any sense. The title made me do a double take, because who tf says that about their mom? But after reading the story, I get it. Had her mom not passed, Jennette probably would not have found the strength to come out from her mother's toxic shadow and begin to heal.
The writing style. Honestly, instead of trying to force her into acting, Jennette's mother should have been focusing on her writing career. She is talented. She was meant to write. You can tell just by reading this memoir. The style of this memoir kept my attention and made it almost impossible to put down. I'm so glad she went back to writing. I hope she continues to write and release more books. The world needs more of your material, ma'am.
The Adults (obviously). Every adult in this story absolutely sucked. Let's just be honest here. All of them were toxic. None of them were likeable, although I did feel kind of bad for her father. He seemed to really just be trying to make it from day to day without going crazy himself. Her grandfather seemed to care in his own way as well, but the fact that he didn't step up for her either bothered me. I'm mad that people saw the way her mother was acting and no one stepped in to help. That is what burns me up the most. Her grandmother also deserved a good throat punch on multiple occasions (sorry, Jennette) as well.
Do I recommend I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy? Absofrickenlutely. If you can get your hands on it (it's selling out faster than it can be restocked) you ABSOLUTELY should read it. This is a beautiful story about love, loss, addiction, and healing among other things. Read it. Please. I beg. As soon as you're done, come back and let's talk about how much we hate Dan Schneider together. I can't wait to hear from you. In the meantime, I'm going to go give my own mother a hug and thank her for not forcing me in the spotlight and for not being a horrible human. If your mom is still here, hug her neck and tell her thank you. Not everyone is blessed with good parents.
If you want to grab it off Amazon, you can purchase it here:
Jennette, I know you'll never read this (and that's okay) but I am putting good vibes out into the atmosphere for you. You deserve all of the love, healing, and success this world has to offer. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
After you're done reading, join me over on Instagram and/or Facebook so we can discuss. See you there!
Until next time...
Happy Reading Babes! ❤