A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.
Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother’s dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and Jennette would do anything to make her mother happy. So she went along with what Mom called “calorie restriction,” eating little and weighing herself five times a day. She endured extensive at-home makeovers while Mom chided, “Your eyelashes are invisible, okay? You think Dakota Fanning doesn’t tint hers?” She was even showered by Mom until age sixteen while sharing her diaries, email, and all her income.
In I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette recounts all this in unflinching detail—just as she chronicles what happens when the dream finally comes true. Cast in a new Nickelodeon series called iCarly, she is thrust into fame. Though Mom is ecstatic, emailing fan club moderators and getting on a first-name basis with the paparazzi (“Hi Gale!”), Jennette is riddled with anxiety, shame, and self-loathing, which manifest into eating disorders, addiction, and a series of unhealthy relationships. These issues only get worse when, soon after taking the lead in the iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, her mother dies of cancer. Finally, after discovering therapy and quitting acting, Jennette embarks on recovery and decides for the first time in her life what she really wants.
Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.
“A stunning memoir…[McCurdy] reveals herself to be a stingingly funny and insightful writer, capable of great empathy and a brutal punchline. It’s a document not just of all she’s endured, but also of the wisdom she accrued along the way.”—Sam Lansky, TIME
“A coming-of-age story that is alternately harrowing and mordantly funny.”—Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times
“Jennette McCurdy is the queen of lemonade from lemons, using her trauma to weave a painfully funny story that also illuminates the commodification of teenage girls in America. An important cultural document just as much as a searingly personal one.”—Lena Dunham
“Jennette’s road to finding herself—removed from the expectations of her mother—is impressively funny. She fuses nuanced relationships, complex grief, religious whiplash and Hollywood trauma into a bold story with a specific comedic voice.”—Jerrod Carmichael
“How can a book be so sad and also so funny? It's an art, and Jennette McCurdy has mastered it here. I’m Glad My Mom Died is hysterical and heartbreaking and fascinating all at the same time.”—Jenny Lawson, New York Times bestselling author of Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things and Broken (in the Best Possible Way)
“I'm Glad My Mom Died is furious, sad, brave, knowing, honest, heart-wrenching, and utterly compelling. McCurdy writes with a keen insight and startling compassion. Whether showing how dysfunction can seem normal to those most affected, the torture of eating disorders, or the mindfuck that is child stardom, McCurdy brings readers deep into the milieu so often hidden from outsiders. This is a beautifully crafted coming-of-age story as fearless as its author.” —Lauren Hough, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing
“Jennette McCurdy’s book is a coruscating picture of her life as a child actor, devastatingly honest and with great understanding of the psychology and emotions operating at a deep level. It’s a riveting read, entertaining and very touching.”—Hayley Mills, New York Times bestselling author of Forever Young
“Jennette’s career as an actor was simply a character in a much more important story. She is a natural writer with a wonderful sense of humor. Her story is heartbreaking with a nice balance of hopeful. I could not put this book down.”—Laraine Newman, original cast member of Saturday Night Live and author of May You Live in Interesting Times
“[An] explosive debut…insightful and incisive, heartbreaking and raw, McCurdy’s narrative reveals a strong woman who triumphs over unimaginable pressure to emerge whole on the other side. Fans will be rapt.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“McCurdy asks readers a question: When and how does one rid oneself of the cage created by others and walk freely? Her stunning debut offers fierce honesty, empathy for those that contributed to her grief, and insights into the hard-fought attachments and detachments of growing older.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Delivered with captivating candor and grace.”—Kirkus (starred review)
Jennette McCurdy starred in Nickelodeon’s hit show iCarly and its spin-off, Sam & Cat, as well as in the Netflix series Between. In 2017, she quit acting and began pursuing writing/directing. Her films have been featured in the Florida Film Festival, the Salute Your Shorts Film Festival, Short of the Week, and elsewhere. Her essays have appeared in HuffPost and The Wall Street Journal. Her one-woman show I’m Glad My Mom Died had two sold-out runs at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre and Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles. She hosts a podcast called Empty Inside, which has topped Apple’s charts and features guests speaking about uncomfortable topics. She lives in Los Angeles.