Jennette McCurdy’s ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’ Turns the Page on Childhood Stardom


“I’m Glad My Mom Died” cover (Courtesy Simon & Schuster)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of abuse, eating disorders, alcoholism and death.


Former child actor Jennette McCurdy’s memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died” chronicles her relationship with her deceased mother. It has generated a controversy and buzz that saw it sell out nearly everywhere within its first day on shelves.

‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’

Despite its success, McCurdy’s memoir is potentially honest to a fault. Some found the title and the cover art, which features McCurdy in a pink retro outfit holding a pink urn, to be disrespectful and off-putting. Others however, have praised her for her frank recollections of her mother’s abusive control over an adolescent McCurdy. 

Jennette McCurdy’s mother, Debra McCurdy, is the chief subject of much of her memoir. Debra McCurdy passed away in 2013 from cancer. She raised her children in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint household and, as Jennette reveals in the memoir, oversaw Jennette’s bathing until she was 16 years old.

Her mother was elated when Jennette started acting at six years old and became increasingly involved in her daughter’s life as she drifted further into the public eye and closer to adulthood. Throughout the book, Jennette speaks on how her mother’s obsessive attention to her figure and eating habits contributed to the development of eating disorders, alcohol abuse and traumatic experiences that have taken years to process.

Brutally Honest? Or Just Brutal?

While many have praised McCurdy for her depictions of a childhood that was largely eclipsed by the control and wishes of her mother, others have been less content to side with the star and her brutally honest account of their relationship. 

According to PopBuzz, McCurdy’s grandmother didn’t like the title of the memoir and some readers found it to be a bit too harsh. This however does not change the fact that McCurdy has garnered more praise than judgment for her depictions of abuse and complex parent-child relationships. 

Whether you view it as too harsh or uncomfortable to read, there’s no denying that McCurdy has captured the attention and understanding of readers. Several individuals have written on Twitter that the book reminds them of their own relationships with their parents.

Turning the Page

A moment of cultural catharsis like “I’m Glad My Mom Died” should be considered carefully as a reminder that parents aren’t perfect.

McCurdy broke down a barrier of cultural assumptions and shared a brutally honest account of trauma from a childhood that was already given away to the limelight. What she shares with readers now can inspire them to come forward about their own relationships with family members.

Her story prompts reflection and has the potential to open the door for more transparent discussions about what a safe, caring relationship between parents and children is and should be. 

I am hopeful that McCurdy’s memoir will start a cultural shift that moves us to consider celebrities and childhood stars not as people with perfect lives or everything handed to them — but as normal people with complex experiences and lives.

Pick up a copy of McCurdy’s memoir and decide for yourself what revelations it holds for you. That is, if you can get your hands on a copy of it. 


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