It is not a new concept that celebrities struggle just like everybody else. A life of fame is illustrated as glamorous, fun and something everybody wishes they had, but the surprising reality is that some stars never wanted their fame to begin with.
When I heard about the release of child star Jennette McCurdy’s memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died, I was taken aback. From just the title, I knew this book would be a bold, honest picture of the shockingly undesirable life of an actress that never wanted to enter the world of entertainment.
Since the book’s release in August, it has been a huge success, making number one on the New York Times Best Seller nonfiction list.
The book follows McCurdy’s early childhood and young adult life. She describes the difficulty of living in a poor household, growing up Mormon, and feeling obligated to support her mother who had cancer since McCurdy was two years old.
McCurdy paints a dark picture of how her mother’s misguidance and emotional abuse affected her perspective growing up. McCurdy was heavily influenced by her mother to pursue an acting career, even though it was her mother’s dream to be an actress, not McCurdy’s.
“What do you say? Wanna be mommy’s little actress? There is only one right answer,” McCurdy wrote in the memoir.
McCurdy does an amazing job at outlining the dynamics of her relationships as a young child, pointing out what she knew and did not know at the time, allowing readers to understand her on a personal level.
She shares her experience with “the creator,” who is implied to be Dan Schneider, the producer of both iCarly and Sam and Cat. She describes how Schneider had a bad temper and a manipulative personality that he used to make people feel important. She also dives into the inappropriate behavior he exhibited towards cast members and herself.
“My shoulders do have a lot of knots in them, but I don’t want The Creator to be the one rubbing them out. I want to say something, to tell him to stop, but I’m so scared of offending him,” McCurdy said in the memoir.
McCurdy mentions how Schneider made her drink alcohol underage and constantly made her feel uncomfortable on set. Nickelodeon offered her $300,000 to not discuss her experience with him, which she obviously did not take.
The memoir discloses McCurdy’s struggle with OCD, her relationships with food, alcohol and herself before and after the death of her mother. She goes into detail about her warped perspective, believing that her mother’s controlling and manipulative nature was normal.
“I had her up on a pedestal, and I know how detrimental that pedestal was to my well-being and life,” McCurdy said in the memoir.
The book is not for those looking for a lighthearted read. It is relatable and inspiring that she can look inward and tell the world about her deepest insecurities and darkest memories. She makes it clear to the audience who she really is and what really happened.
McCurdy uses descriptive imagery and dark humor to engage her audience. She goes into great detail about her home and work environment, using sarcasm to add levity to scenes that otherwise are very difficult to read.
She gives insight into fame, outlining what it really means to be a child actress. She expresses the bizarreness and pain she endured in her life without romanticizing it, instead being very raw and honest.
I would recommend this to anyone interested in a good laugh and some cries. It isn’t a breath of fresh air due to the darker content, but it is definitely a moving and amazing book.