I’m Glad My Mom Died


Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died is an honest, raw exploration into the child actor’s childhood, struggles with eating disorders, and abuse.


I’m Glad My Mom Died is a masterpiece. McCurdy’s examination into her painful past made me want to reach into the pages and save her. She delves into the dark parts of her childhood painting colorful memories of being held emotionally hostage by her mother and her mother’s cancer diagnosis.


As a child, McCurdy’s mother begins to groom her into being the child actor that her mother never could be. She is enrolled in every class imaginable so long as it could help Jennette land her next role and eventually land her big break.  The obsession to make her child a star is unsettling. However, as her obsession grows, Jeanette’s desire to act fades.


The extent to which McCurdy is violated is hard to take in. Jeanette gives a descriptive account of the “medical examinations” her mother gives her into her teens, the showers she is forced to take with her puberty aged brother, and the calorie counting restrictions intended to prevent the actor from growing.  


The depiction of her mother weaponizing her cancer diagnosis to manipulate and control her children is horrific. McCurdy and her siblings were forced to rewatch videos of their ill mother over and over, despite their discomfort.


Throughout the book, McCurdy shares the pressure she felt in trying to prevent her mother from imploding and becoming volatile. She writes about her mother’s rage filled fights with her father. The instability and chaos that engulfed her home filled McCurdy with anxiety and desperation. She was always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  She recalls her attempts at trying to make her mom happy.  Whether it was eating ice cream she no longer liked to hearing her mom rant about the same topics over and over. McCurdy wanted her mom to be happy and lost herself in her mothers’ mental illness.


At one point in the book. McCurdy expresses her desire to stop acting. This was her mother’s dream, not her own. The grueling scheduling and the pressure to impress was too much for her. At her mentioning it to her mother, McCurdy’s mother goes into hysterics behind the wheel, which causes her to recant her wish so long as it made the hysteria stop. Eventually, McCurdy becomes an actor in her own life not capable of distinguishing reality from acting.


When McCurdy finally builds up  the courage to move out of the hoarded nightmare her mother’s home was, not only is she met with resistance, but her mother also  moves in with her (unofficially). The independence McCurdy was seeking and excited for is quashed by her mother’s co-dependency and need to control her daughter. The fights they engage in are difficult to read. Your heart breaks for McCurdy with every turn of the page.


McCurdy’s detailed  examination of her childhood is transformative. Her memoir is more than sharing her traumatic experiences. It is a truth of survival and healing.

Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster Book Cover. All credit to publisher, photographer, and author. No copywrite intended.