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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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In this exceptional memoir of her life as a child actor, Jennette McCurdy has taken her courageous one-woman show and turned it into a series of moving personal essays. From the highs of her first jobs and her breakout role on iCarly to the lows of anorexia, bulimia, addiction, and self-doubt, the former TV star gives us an engrossing window into her world in all its poignant and dysfunctional glory. It’s a gripping and emotional story, complete with a stage mother who was always there pushing her—until suddenly, she wasn’t. The emotion in McCurdy’s candid writing style is unmistakable and moving. It makes I’m Glad My Mom Died a cathartic and powerful must-read.
In this explosive debut, former iCarly star McCurdy recounts a harrowing childhood directed by her emotionally abusive stage mother. A narcissist and "full-blown hoarder," McCurdy's mother, Debra, pushed her daughter into acting at age six in 1999, doling out her scarce affection in tandem with the jobs McCurdy booked (while weaponizing her breast cancer which eventually killed her in 2013 for good measure). After McCurdy hit puberty around age 11, her mother steered her to anorexia via "calorie restriction," and later began performing invasive breast and genital exams on McCurdy at age 17. As she recounts finding fame on Nickelodeon, beginning in 2007 with her role on iCarly, McCurdy chronicles her efforts to break free from her mother's machinations, her struggles with bulimia and alcohol abuse, and a horrific stint dating a schizophrenic, codependent boyfriend. McCurdy's recovery is hard-won and messy, and eventually leads her to step back from acting to pursue writing and directing. Despite the provocative title, McCurdy shows remarkable sympathy for her mother, even when she recalls discovering that the man she called Dad while growing up was not, in fact, her biological father. 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.
Not sure there’s much else to say about this book, it is amazing, definitely worth the read.
Insightful and genuine
Though I’ve not found fame as a child star (nor do I have a dead mother), I found this book strangely relatable in ways I didn’t think I would. It’s an interesting read, and I absolutely recommend it. Lots of personality in the writing, almost like it’s coming directly from a friend, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Inspiring, eye opening and everything in between.