Three Stars for ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’ by Jennette McCurdy

I was so into this book until the end. Ugh…I wanted her to talk about how, after therapy, she reconciled her feelings about her mother and all the harm she caused, but she never went there. With a title like that, you need to do more unpacking! I watched her do a TV interview about this book, and when the reporter asked why she chose that title, she said she wanted to grab people’s attention and sell more copies. That just sounded really cheap to me. It was such a letdown when she didn’t go to the places I wanted her to go.

It would’ve been interesting to read more about Jennette’s post-therapy conclusion after enduring the nightmare of being held hostage for so many years by a horrible, abusive mother. I also found her story lacking in other ways. What was it like for her brothers to grow up in a household where all the attention is directed on Jennette’s rise to stardom? A big chunk of the book follows the mother’s manic passion project–basically a full-time job–of turning her kid into the next Shirley Temple. How was it for her other children? Why was the father so absentee and so willing to stay married to that tyrannical mess of a woman? So many questions!!!

I get that maybe she wanted to protect her brothers’ privacy, but she could’ve added a quick line in there somewhere about why she’s omitting pieces from their story. I’m sure they had their share of suffering in that hoarder house hellscape. Either way, my heart breaks for all of them. She went through so much pain and had to prance around like a perky, blonde girl-next-door on her little TV show. That must’ve been so hard, especially since she didn’t even want to act.

There is a special place in You-Know-Where for that woman who bullied her kid into childhood stardom–and all the trauma that comes from being pushed around a beaten down by Hollywood execs, fans, paparazzi and trolls. Who the hell would want that for their kids? I’m giving this three stars because her extremely candid story can really help girls with eating disorders and/or mean mothers feel seen. I just wish it could’ve delivered more in the end. Also, I don’t recommend getting the audiobook. I was a little put off by Jennette’s monotoned, fast-paced narration. She just gave the impression that she needed to zip through the whole thing and be done with it, which I totally get. It must’ve been so hard for her to read that story out loud.

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