“I’m Glad My Mom Died” Reflection


Kamiah Johnson, A&E Co-Editor

Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” not only tells the painfully funny story of McCurdy’s childhood, but also encourages us to think about the dangers the entertainment industry poses to children.

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” sold out within the first 24 hours of its release on Aug. 9 at numerous bookstores and online sellers across the country. It wasn’t until a month after its release that I was able to find a copy on Amazon, which took a painstakingly long time to arrive. Yet, once I picked it up, I was unable to put it down. Jennette McCurdy’s memoir is a whirlwind of emotions, ranging from funny to heartbreaking as she recounts her life in the entertainment industry and the complicated relationship she had with her late mother. Many people my age were eager to read this because many of us grew up watching McCurdy as Sam Puckett on the hit Nickelodeon show “iCarly.

I watched “iCarly” almost every day when I was a kid, and Sam was one of my favorite characters. So years later, when I found out that McCurdy didn’t even like acting, I was confused because she portrayed Sam’s character so well. I couldn’t understand how someone so famous could hate acting. Reading her memoir not only answered this question but also exposed me to the hidden dangers in the entertainment industry, especially for kids.

In her memoir, McCurdy talks about her days working for Nickelodeon on “iCarly” and its spinoff Sam & Cat.” She makes many references to a man called “The Creator,” who we assume to be Dan Shneider, the creator of multiple hit Nickelodeon shows including “iCarly,” “Victorious,” “All That,” “Drake & Josh,” and others. In 2021, the New York Post reported that Schneider was fired from Nickelodeon for his mistreatment of his colleagues and his violent behavior. McCurdy describes multiple experiences with him as uncomfortable. She describes one instance where he tried to make her drink alcohol when she was underage, and in another where he had her try on bikinis after she expressed she didn’t want to. She also details her experience filming “iCarly” and how she was very miserable and denied the opportunity to direct an episode. The majority of the book, however, focuses on the abuse and trauma she faced from her mother Debra, who died back in 2013. Her mother encouraged her eating disorder and forced McCurdy into an acting career she didn’t want to pursue. Reading her account made me sympathize with her — the lost childhood experiences and all the pain that comes with it. It also made me think about how the entertainment industry treats child actors — with little to no regard for their mental health and well-being.

Disney Channel, Nickelodeon Studios, and Cartoon Network have dominated children’s television for over 20 years. I and many others my age loved watching their shows as children but had no idea of the hardships child actors were put through for the sake of our entertainment. McCurdy details how she never had a moment of peace due to her rise in fame; she couldn’t go out into the world without someone recognizing her as Sam Puckett, resulting in her having major anxiety in public settings and having to wear wigs to her favorite places like Disneyland. McCurdy’s memoir is a look into how toxic the entertainment industry can be and shines a light on the lasting effects it can have on those involved. I think that this is one of the most important aspects of this book: exposing the dangers of the industry to those who aren’t aware of it. Although some come out of childhood stardom relatively unscathed, many others don’t. While McCurdy doesn’t give any possible solutions to Hollywood’s misdoings, it’s not her job to do so. She made it out alive, and I think her telling her story is enough to provoke important discussions. It’s important to hear these stories and treat them with the utmost care and respect they deserve.

The audience and critical reception “I’m Glad My Mom Died” received was tremendous. Not only did it garner amazing reviews, but it also received an outpour of love from both old fans of “iCarly” and her newer supporters. McCurdy has seen what her memoir has meant to people and commented on it in an interview with Forbes saying, “I’m so grateful for the emotional connection people seem to be having with this book. I couldn’t have predicted it to resonate with so many.” “I’m Glad my Mom Died” is an insanely honest and true insight into the dangers of child stardom and a lesson in how to come out on top despite the hardships we might face. I love to see that Jenette McCurdy is reveling in her New York Times Bestseller, and I continue to support her endeavors in her writing and directing career.

Image courtesy of Infoliteraria