Updated: Aug 5, 2022
Release date: 9 August 2022
Narrator: Jennette McCurdy
Synopsis: 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.
“If there is one thing I can pinpoint as being directly in opposition to my soul, it’s ruffles.”
I cannot and will not review the content of this book. It’s soul crushing, depressing, morose material that needs no evaluation; and I fear reviewing it in that manner will amount to judgement (the kind that is not good). I will say that this book is a compulsively readable, fantastically written account of a harrowing childhood in an industry that many today will and have agreed does no one any favors. Anyone who grew up with a crap mom will find it relatable. It may also be a kick in the pants for those who didn’t really grow up with a crap mom but think they did (did you, really?). As each person’s experiences are subjective, I will therefore keep my review to the writing and delivery of said material.
Whoever wrote the blurb for this and called it hilarious must not have been reading the same book as I. If any humor exists in this, it’s over-my-head, very dry, ironic humor that flies in the face of anything I’ve ever read that’s funny. Every sentence, even the chapters are very short, curt, and to the point. There is no painting over the morbidity of the events the words describe, and the chapters from McCurdy’s very young perspective remind me candidly and horrifically of the young narrator in The Sound and the Fury, whose perception and reality were not the same, to the reader’s detriment.
McCurdy’s sardonic tone brings a nuance and hyper-realism to the account that perfectly complement one another. Yes, this happened. Yes, it sucked. Yes, I’m having a hard time dealing with it. I must, nevertheless deal with it. And so on. I found the way the events in the book were presented to be a refreshing take on the perspectives people may have of their lives nowadays. It felt very honest, and though heart wrenching, the parts of McCurdy’s life that were not a result of abuse were portrayed in a seemingly very to-the-point manner. Rip the band-aid off. It must be done.
The audiobook narration was perfect. I feel, though many in the industry say that one should not read one’s own book, this could not have been delivered any better by even an award-winning audiobook narrator. McCurdy’s tone delivered the book perfectly. I can say no more than to recommend this book be listened to instead of read, if at all possible.
I don’t usually read non-fiction, particularly memoirs or biographies. I find non-fiction to be always depressing, memoirs narcissistic and vomit inducing, and biographies to be either brown nosing or full of vitriol that is most times undeserved and uncalled for. This memoir is none of those (except maybe depressing). It feels like the news should read: a relaying of the facts with no spin or leaving off of details that are unfavorable to one side or the other.
Highly recommend. 5 stars, for both book and narrator. Amazing. If I can find a signed physical copy of this book, I will be buying it.
My sincere thanks to the publisher via librofm for the ALC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.