Behind Jennette: I’m Glad My Mom Died” Review


Joseph Eichele

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy was published on August 9, 2022 and recounts the child-star’s relationship with her abusive mother.

Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders, Sexual Abuse, Mental Abuse.

“’Mommy, I am… so skinny right now. I’m finally down to eighty-nine pounds.’ I’m in the ICU with my dying mother and the thing that I’m sure will get her to wake up is the fact that in the days since Mom’s been hospitalized, my fear and sadness have morphed into the perfect anorexia-motivation cocktail and, finally, I have achieved Mom’s current goal weight for me,” (McCurdy, Prologue).

It is 2009. Sitting on my grandma’s couch, she tentatively pulls out a TV tray and sets a chicken nugget, corn, mac and cheese, and brownie Kid Cuisine microwave meal and Capri Sun on top. She turns on the TV for me to watch one of my favorite TV shows, “iCarly”.

If you were a kid during the early 2000s, you know about “iCarly”. You know about the spaghetti tacos, Spencer’s weird art, Sam’s obsession with food and Gibby. “iCarly” got so popular that Nickelodeon created a spinoff show with Jennette McCurdy’s character (Sam), “Sam & Cat”. But not everything is as it seems…

“Mom wants this more than anything, not me. This day was stressful and not fun, and if given the choice, I would choose to never do anything like it again. On the other hand, I do want what Mom wants, so she’s kind of right,” (McCurdy 14).

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” clearly points a spotlight on not only her mother’s abuse (which you can guess from the title, is the main point in the book) but also “The Creator” (presumably Dan Schneider)’s abuse as well as the toxic and abusive romantic and sexual relationships from McCurdy’s past.

The book opens with McCurdy at a very young, already showing signs of OCD that play into her mother’s hoarding. In one scene, McCurdy carefully “peels” the wrapping paper so her mother could add the paper to her collection.

McCurdy’s obedience to her mother stems from a cancer scare her mother survived, and she uses to guilt trip everyone in the family. McCurdy’s mother forces her children to religiously watch a video of the mother in the hospital to reinforce the guilt and pity.

McCurdy learned from a young age what would make her mother happy and what would make her mother yell in tantrums of rage, which McCurdy later believes stems from Bipolar disorder. She would scream at anyone in the family even if it was tearing wrapping paper; so, McCurdy peels. Which eventually convinces her to say yes to her mother when she asks her to be an actress.

“Well, sweetheart, if you really want to know how to stay small, there’s this secret thing you can do… it’s called calorie restriction,” (McCurdy, 90).

As McCurdy’s mother’s obsession with McCurdy becoming an actress grows and “principal” roles aren’t flowing in, McCurdy worries about her growing body. If she doesn’t look like a child, she can’t book roles for children. If she doesn’t book roles, her mother will get mad. So, McCurdy tries “calorie restriction” so she will please her mother.

When McCurdy’s mother is told that she is showing signs of anorexia, the mother completely ignores it and tells McCurdy that people are being dramatic.

“Mom showers me with Scottie (McCurdy’s brother) sometimes. He’s almost sixteen at this point. I get really embarrassed when she showers us together. Scott asked if he could shower himself once. Mom sobbed and said she didn’t want him to grow up, so he never asked again after that,” (McCurdy, 98).

McCurdy was given “exams of her private parts” during these showers with her mother up until the age of 17. McCurdy was also not allowed to even wipe her own bottom after going to the bathroom for a while as well. McCurdy even said in an interview with ABC News that this is the one thing she couldn’t wrap her head around from her mother’s abuse, that there seemed to be no reason behind it.

While touching on her mother’s abuse, “I’m Glad My Mom Died” also addresses “The Creator” (presumably Dan Schneider)’s predatory behavior while on-set of “iCarly”. (Joseph Eichele)

“He was very nice to me, and at first I didn’t think much of it, since he’s twenty-seven and I’m eighteen, but then I noticed him looking at me a lot and I started to wonder if maybe he liked me,” (McCurdy, 135).

“The Creator” forces 18-year-old McCurdy to drink alcohol with him as she is his “favorite” at the moment. He massages her, as he tells her how lucky she is to get her own show which he has given her, “Just Puckett.”

“’I’m sorry, I’m just not ready,’ I tell him with a finality that makes me proud. ‘Well, can you give me a blow job at least?’ Joe lifts his head off the bed like a hopeful, needy puppy,” (McCurdy, 149).

McCurdy wakes up to a two-paragraph email from her mother (as she has seen images that the paparazzi have taken of McCurdy and Joe together) calling McCurdy a slut, “all used up” and an ugly monster. She ends the email saying “P.S. Send money for a new fridge. Ours broke.”

McCurdy is often bombarded with fans asking her “how much she loves food” and asks her food constantly, because of her character’s love for food in “iCarly”. This is hard for McCurdy, considering her relationship with food.

McCurdy notices a girl throwing up and wonders if she has bulimia, she then wonders if bulimia is better than anorexia for her as well.

“So what if I fucked up and ate? So what if I failed? So fucking what? All I have to do is shove my fingers down my throat and watch my mistake be undone. This is the start of something good,” (McCurdy, 191).

When McCurdy’s mother dies of cancer, McCurdy feels victorious. She finally doesn’t have the appetite to eat, and she knows she is making her mother proud.

This is not the end of “I’m Glad My Mom Died” nor did I share half of the points made in the book, but I have to say this is one of my favorite books to date. McCurdy is currently doing great with her eating disorder and has gone on a path towards a healthy lifestyle with food and alcohol. If you want an easy read that is not easy to put down, “I’m Glad My Mom Died” is an exquisite book that deserves the attention.