Book Review: I'm Glad My Mom Died

Updated: Oct 10


The provocative title, I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (2022) is a fast paced memoir by the actress that played Sam in iCarly and Sam & Cat. She shares an intimate view into her experiences as a child actor, struggles with eating disorders, alcohol addiction and an emotionally abusive and narcissistic parent. This is a book about childhood trauma, resilience and recovery.


As a therapist who encounters the impacts of trauma daily, I sometimes find myself questioning the worth of reading (for entertainment) a harrowing story. Am I finding fun in someone else's story of suffering? Would reliving another person's trauma contribute to burnout? Will this be a un-nuanced black and white tale of victimization and blame?


In the end, I finished her memoir in about two days and enjoyed every minute. McCurdy's writing has a way of drawing you into her mindset. You get a first person POV of not only the events and interactions that occurred, but her thoughts and interpretations of them. For example, McCurdy shares about her eating disorder in a way delivers an experience of the lure, the addiction, the relief, that she went through.The book is powerful in this way, but also comes with a note of caution. This book may be highly triggering to folks in eating disorder recovery.


Unexpectedly, McCurdy's book has a sense of humor throughout. Not the "LOL" kind of humor, but maybe the "it's funny because it's true" type. For me, this humor magnified the humanity in the author's voice, while also easing the intensity of the read.


The power of telling our stories (and listening to others') and should never be underestimated. I feel I gained a greater sense of the experiences of child actors, those with eating disorders, and a greater understanding of my own childhood self and experiences. I was also reminded about the power of the parent, and the devastation that can occur as a result of an enmeshed child-parent relationship.


McCurdy's story is inspiring, and ends with a hopeful, resilient and yet realistic perspective on the realities of recovery.


CONTENT WARNINGS (all on-page): Eating disorder, emotional abuse, child abuse, narcissistic parent, death of a parent, alcohol addiction. This book may be highly triggering to those in eating disorder recovery.


 

E. Craven, MT-BC is a board certified music therapist, and the founder of North Star Therapy. She specializes in music therapy for mental health with a focus on adolescents & college students. You can connect with her via Instagram @northstartherapy or send an email to ecraven@ntxtherapy.com.