Storytime with Sophie: I’m Glad My Mom Died

“I’m Glad My Mom Died”- a title like that is sure to garner attention, both positive and negative, but as the adage says: don’t judge a book by its cover. The author behind this controversial title is Jennette McCurdy , who is most famously known for her acting work in renowned shows such as “iCarly” and “Sam & Cat.” The well-known actress who played a role in many people’s childhoods is now speaking out about the reality behind her life and acting career, including the abuse, dieting, and degradation she regularly suffered at the hand of her own mother. 

In her autobiography, McCurdy delves into a timeline of her life, starting from her early acting career to her current adulthood. Having acted for 18 years of her life, McCurdy shares her complex and traumatizing experience with child acting, specifically pertaining to the mentally and emotionally abusive relationship with her mother. 

The book begins with some of McCurdy’s earliest, pre-acting memories, eventually transitioning to the life of a young child actor. McCurdy shares her intimate relationship with her mother, one unique in comparison, to her relationship with her father and to her mother’s relationship with her three older brothers. This unhealthy relationship caused McCurdy to routinely defend and advocate for her mother, despite the reality of her situation. 

McCurdy shares the immense pressure she felt throughout all of her adolescent years, made all the worse by her enabling and controlling mother. Her autobiography explores this relationship in all of its many facets, from her teenage years to coping with the prolonged effects after the death of her mother. 

Due to the autobiographical nature of the book, readers get the chance to grow and learn with McCurdy, developing a bond with the young girl. The book gives a deep insight into McCurdy’s inner thoughts and psyche, including her most destructive and deprecating beliefs pertaining to her own appearance and abilities. 

The act of McCurdy’s sharing of such intimate and personal details is made all the stronger by her powerful writing. McCurdy writes from the perspective of each age she was in the respective anecdotes. Therefore, readers mourn for the young 11 year old who is eating one meal a day with hopes of appeasing her mother, not seeing anything wrong with the abuse she is facing. 

Her book is incredibly moving, and near impossible to put down- unless in aghast over whichever specific trauma McCurdy is recollecting. While unintentional, it also inspires feelings of guilt, and shame. For many of the current generation, “iCarly: and McCurdy’s other works played a pivotal role in childhood. We owe it to the young actress who gave us a childhood at the expense of her own. 

Potential readers should be extremely cautious of the content of the book. Much of the book comprises discussions and first-hand accounts of abuse, eating disorders, and alcoholism. Jennette doesn’t shy away from sharing the raw and painful aspects of her life, as is her every right to do so. However, readers should be aware of the potentially triggering material, especially pertaining to her relationship with food. 

Having suffered from various eating disorders and body image issues throughout her life, all the more pressured from her mother, the book shares in depth content relating to her periods of anorexia, calorie counting, and binging and purging. The material may be uncomfortable, and those sensitive to food content should be cautious. 

This theme of uncomfortable content is apparent throughout the novel but works to deepen the impact of the novel. Readers may feel genuinely uncomfortable with many points in the novel, from the inappropriate behavior seen by McCurdy’s mother, adult co-workers, and the co-president of Nickelodeon to the extreme portrayal of years of unhealthy cycles of bulimia and alcoholism. These conversations are important, and even if they are uncomfortable they are necessary to McCurdy’s path to recover and self-betterment. 

In only 320 pages, JennetteMcCurdy recounts her experiences and traumas, making use of dark humor and honesty to speak out against the repressions she was put under. Her provoking memoir stands out for its rebellion against the pressure and abuse she was put through and is a powerful read of someone who not only suffered but survived.