Review: “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy


Ava Montalbano, Staff Writer

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy is a raw retelling of the former child star’s life and career. The memoir is candid, unsettling and humorous, making it an exceptional and heart-wrenching read. McCurdy dives into a collection of emotionally charged topics such as disordered eating, substance abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother and the television industry. McCurdy’s lighthearted retelling balances the heaviness of her childhood and adolescent experiences, helping readers understand the complexity of her personal life. 

The memoir centers around McCurdy’s relationship dynamic with her mother and how it impacted  her. McCurdy was six years old when her mother pushed her into an acting and music career and McCurdy, desperate to please her mother, complied with her demands. Her mother’s obsession with her career turned into an obsession with McCurdy’s appearance, friendships and intimate relationships, leaving McCurdy susceptible to mental health issues.

The memoir speaks on the impact generational trauma, narcissism and untreated mental health concerns can have on family relationships. The emotional abuse that McCurdy experienced at the hands of her mother was ultimately a result of her own untreated mental health issues. Her mother’s childlike outbursts and irrational behavior left McCurdy misguided and dejected. Although her experiences were unsettling, these events were written about with empathy and compassion for her mother’s situation. 

McCurdy comes to terms with her situation and death of her mother in the last chapters of the memoir. McCurdy writes, “Her death left me with more questions than answers, more pain than healing, and many layers of grief—the initial grief from her passing, then the grief of accepting her abuse and exploitation of me, and finally, the grief that surfaces now when I miss her and start to cry” (McCurdy, 304).

McCurdy’s debut memoir is refreshing and honest, revealing aspects of child stardom that are often overlooked. “I’m Glad My Mom Died” is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about self-love, independence, and family dysfunction. McCurdy doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable topics, making the memoir a compelling but challenging read.