Review: Jennette McCurdy’s “I’m Glad My Mom Died”


Kayla Katounas

Jennette McCurdy’s shocking memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died, published on August 9th, 2022, has been topping the New York Times nonfiction list for weeks since its release. McCurdy is primarily known for her work as Sam Puckett on Nickelodeon’s iCarly, and for reprising the role on its spinoff, Sam & Cat.

The memoir follows McCurdy’s life, starting with the beginning of her acting career as a young child, all the way to the present. Her story is split into two parts, the “before” and “after,” which is referring to the time previously and following the death of her mother. It is essentially a condensed life story with a focus on her relationship with her mother and the effect it had on her mental and physical health, detailing her struggles with eating disorders, alcohol, and her journey to independence.

I found this book equally as shocking as it was gripping. Some of the most difficult moments of McCurdy’s life are written with so much vulnerability, and an occasional touch of humor. It spares no details on the abuse she experienced from her mother and how it shaped the rest of her life. As someone who spent their childhood watching McCurdy on iCarly, it was surprising to hear what was going on behind the scenes. What looked like a fun children’s show on the outside was in reality an unhappy and often unhealthy environment for the young cast members, mostly at the fault of the show’s creator, who is never explicitly named in the book.

As someone who rarely reads nonfiction, I was skeptical about starting this read. I’d been excited when I first heard about it and I placed a hold at the library as soon as I could, but I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped to because it’s not my typical genre. Luckily, my worries were completely misplaced and I was entertained throughout the entire book. Parts of it read like a novel, with dialogue interwoven, which created personality, but not so much that it didn’t seem like a true story. Everyone mentioned had a character without it seeming like a caricature of a real person.

The memoir also never shied away from difficult topics, discussing McCurdy’s awful treatment with surprising vulnerability. I was concerned at the start that it would be too difficult to read casually. I thought I might need to take breaks because of the intense content, which I worried about because of my dwindling library checkout time, however, that didn’t become an issue at all. Though it is definitely tough to read at times, McCurdy’s subtle use of comedy functioned as much-needed comic relief and the writing kept me engaged rather than drawing me away.

I’m Glad My Mom Died has been very well received by readers and critics alike. It currently has an impressive 4.69 stars on Goodreads. Within the first two weeks of its release, it sold about 200,000 copies, with bookstores quickly running out of copies. It has also spent five weeks at number one on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestsellers list. 

While celebrity memoirs are far from unheard of, this one stands out not only for its vulnerability but also for how well it’s written. It is so clear that it was not ghostwritten like most celebrity books tend to be. I say this because it is so deeply personal in a way only McCurdy herself could write. It’s undeniable that she has written a book that stands out within its genre.

Overall, I’m Glad My Mom Died was a triumph of a memoir, especially considering it was a debut book. She clearly has a bright future as an author, since she told Forbes “I’d love to write more books. I’m actually working on a novel and a collection of essays now and that has been very creatively fulfilling for me.” Whether you were a fan of McCurdy’s work as an actor or not, I highly recommend reading this book and look forward to more in the future.