I was kinda on the fence about picking up this book. Honestly, I didn’t know who Jennette McCurdy was, and I’m way past the iCarly age group. But man, the buzz around this book was just too loud to ignore. The title “I’m Glad My Mom Died” is a bit out there – a bit morbid, but, don’t judge a book by its cover, right? Or title, in this case.

I caved and got Jennette’s memoir. I posted on Instagram that I was reading this book and friends started commenting about how much they loved it. They said that it’s heartbreaking – but also really funny. I Turns out, all those reviews weren’t bluffing. She spills some pretty heavy stories from her time growing up in the spotlight as a child actor, but she somehow manages to throw in humorous anecdotes throughout.

The story begins as Jennette walks readers through her early years as a background actress, her rise to fame with Nickelodeon, and the challenges of unwanted stardom. You quickly find out why she went with the morbid title for the book. Readers are given a glimpse into Jennette’s childhood and how her narcissistic mother used her illness to manipulate and emotionally abuse her child. Jennette admits that she lived for her mother – her mother’s happiness was her own. That desire made it easier for her mother to project her dreams of fame and beauty onto her daughter resulting in lasting trauma that Jenette still deals with to this day.

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” addresses the challenges of modern celebrity culture, breaking down the facade of constant performance and the pressure it places on child stars.

Since Jennette centered her life around her mother, it’s fitting that she divided the book into two sections – before and after her mother’s death. The “after” section delves into Jenette’s struggles with relationships, eating disorders, and her departure from the acting world. Jennette concludes that fame doesn’t equate to a perfect or enjoyable life. She steps away from the spotlight and begins her journey to confront her mother’s abuse through therapy. During this process, McCurdy discovers the need to live her life on her terms, without the pressure of others. The ending shares how Jennette is still treating her eating disorder and how she is now focused on artistic expression behind the camera through short films and a podcast, “Hard Feelings with Jennette McCurdy.”

While this book will break your heart at how a child can be robbed of their childhood to help serve a mother’s selfish desires, you will be inspired by how McCurdy overcame the odds and is now in the driver’s seat of her life. I highly recommend this book.