I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
book review #161
What an incredible title.
I saw this book in the best sellers lists and assumed it was just another celebrity memoir written by ghost writers and didn’t have any interest in reading it. Then I realised one day that while I had read dozens of autobiographies, only two were about women (Becoming by Michelle Obama and The Diary of Anne Frank).
It also helped that resident YouTube librarian and king of celebrity memoirs, Jack Edwards mentioned that he surprisingly really enjoyed this and gave it five stars. Thus the intrigue.
“I'm Glad My Mom Died” is memoir about the life of Jennette McCurdy, a former Nickelodeon child actor in the TV show iCarly. This book was depressingly funny.
It was a heartbreaking account of dealing with body issues, growing up with little free will, being exploited by her mother and Hollywood, mental health issues, gas lighting, being stuck in a religion, losing innocence, getting harassed by fans, being lied her whole life of who her father was and so much more.
The main revolving theme is around her relationship with her mother and being a child actor. It explores how her mother really wanted to be an actor and forced her to become a child actor to take care of the family finances and put a lot of pressure on her to keep acting and embark on typical child actor career moves like releasing songs. She recounts how her mother was a deeply flawed women who grew up poor, was in a sad marriage, failed at her dreams and didn’t have any friends so she made her child live out the fantasies of her failed dreams and was her best friend. She also talks about the challenges she faced growing up as a child actor and the costs of fame. Those were the less interesting parts of this book as it was the usual spiel of paparazzi and media attention. I have a lot more to say about that in my review of Spare by Harry (foreshadowing).
Also Jennette was offered $300,000 to never talk about her horrible experiences as a child actor and the way she was treated by people at the network she worked at . Of course, she did not accept the hush money and published this memoir instead embarking on the next step in her career focusing on what she actually wants to be which is a writer. As of February 2023, her book had sold 2 million copies so she’s doing alright.
Although it takes a lot for a book (or anything else for that matter) to evoke an ounce of emotion from me, this book almost made me cry. Especially when she recalls her mother (who she both loves and hates strongly) dying and a nurse asking her for a picture while her mother was saying her last words.
Anyways, great book. One of the best books I have read this year. Would recommend even if you have no idea who she is. Introspection about childhood. Fun stuff.