Review: “I’m Glad My Mom Died” not just your ordinary celebrity memoir [MUSE]


Grace Guo

“I’m Glad My Mom Died,” Jennette McCurdy’s personal memoir discussing her trauma related to abuse, eating disorders and addiction, may not have been the most upbeat vacation read for winter break, but nevertheless it was my choice and I’m glad it was.

McCurdy details her life in two sections: before and after her mother’s death, beginning with her sixth birthday party and ending with her last visit to her mother’s grave. She uncovers the hidden nature of Hollywood and fame through the lens of an unwilling child star forced into the industry in order to fulfill her mother’s own unaccomplished dream of becoming an actress.

She walks through her life dictated by others choices, whether it be her abusive mother, the toxic “Creator” (Dan Schneider of Nickelodeon), or the countless managers, agents, casting directors and producers she encountered in her almost two decades in Hollywood.

Having lived her life solely for the purpose of pleasing her mother, the aftershock of her mother’s death forces McCurdy to either sink or swim. McCurdy’s personal growth in these years is ridiculously well documented in her memoir through a depiction that, although difficult, feels realistic and honest.

The book is undoubtedly heavy, and it’s hard to believe that the energetic young actress you grew up with on television could be experiencing unimaginable trauma that you would never have even understood as a child.

But still, McCurdy uses an authentic sense of humor relatable enough to draw the reader into her life as if you’re seeing everything unfold alongside her.

There’s a certain disconnect as McCurdy’s world is so vastly different from my own, however at its core, I believe anyone-especially teenage girls-can relate to the author’s inner turmoil at some level, even if it’s not necessarily to the same extent.

Personally, as a second generation daughter of Chinese immigrants-a position many of my peers relate to-I’ve always felt the divide between western and eastern beauty standards, neither of which I fit into particularly well. McCurdy’s explanation of her irrational fear of being defined and valued by her weight, her looks, her body and others perceptions of those things are relatable in any cultural context. It’s a great book, but as Lena Dunham said in her own review, it’s also “an important cultural document.” 

McCurdy’s intimate style of storytelling will make her memoir all the more heartbreaking but also all the more healing to any reader.

On this blog, members of the Carmel High School chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists (and the occasional guest writer) produce curations of all facets of popular culture, from TV shows to music to novels to technology. We hope our readers always leave with something new to muse over. Click here to read more from MUSE.