I’m Glad My Mom Died: Jennette McCurdy’s Troubling and Healing Memoir

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” Jennette McCurdy’s eye-catching photo, holding a pink urn with confetti

Magdalena Aparicio, Photojournalist

From the morbid title to its neon cover, I’m Glad My Mom Died definitely turns heads. 

Many may recognize Jennette McCurdy from iCarly, the early 2000’s sitcom on Nickelodeon. Her breakthrough role as Sam Puckett, the rough-around-the-edges juvenile delinquent with an obsession with food, left McCurdy recognized and successful.

However, appearances are misleading.

“When I saw iCarly as a kid, I had no idea she was struggling. I can’t imagine having such a tough home life and having to perform a character who is essentially the opposite.”  ”

— Kimberly Short (12)

McCurdy’s memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died has held the #1 New York Times Bestselling Novel title for 8 weeks in a row, making it so difficult to attain a copy that I personally could only purchase it as an audiobook. This release was not met without criticism. I, like many others, wondered what a mother could have done to make her own child be glad about her death. 

“I think anybody who has experienced parental abuse understands,” says Jennette McCurdy in an interview with Drew Barrymore. “I think if it’s not divisive there’s probably no new conversation to be had there.”  

If the title turns you away, it may not be for you. While McCurdy’s writing and vulnerability is captivating, I’m Glad my Mom Died details triggering content while exploring McCurdy’s career as a child actress under the instability of her abusive mother. She details about alcoholism, child sexual assault, anorexia, and bulimia. McCurdy explores these topics with a sense of humor, one that is just funny enough to make the horrors of her childhood especially sting. 

That being said, McCurdy’s memoir is not only entertaining and haunting, but it may arguably change the entertainment industry. Former child stars like Alyson Stoner, recognized from films series like Step Up and Camp Rock, have spoken on inappropriate conditions violating child labor laws on set.

What makes McCurdy’s novel particularly gut-wrenching is her vulnerability and approach. She is unafraid to be honest; she paints her childhood not in the lens of reflection, but in a first-person narrative. It’s true. While her mother abused her, taught her of disordered eating, and other various acts, McCurdy looked up to her out of childlike innocence and misunderstanding. 

If you go into this memoir with the anticipation of celebrity drama and child star failure, you’ll be disappointed. I’m Glad my Mother Died is a vulnerable gaze into adolescence, an exposition on the entertainment industry for children, and ultimately, a triumph.