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Jennette McCurdy’s book “I’m Glad My Mom Died” was heart-wrenching, honest and inspiring. It offers a look into not only the world of child stardom but also the harmful impacts of living with a narcissistic, abusive person. In McCurdy’s case, it was her mother, whom she tried desperately to please her entire life.
It was her mother who first instilled the idea that McCurdy needed to be hyperaware of her mother’s feelings and needs, when she was only 2. It was clear in McCurdy’s writing that she felt like she had to do what her mother said to avoid her mother’s anger. In one audition, McCurdy took her inspiration for her role as a bipolar child from her mother’s “erratic and violent behavior.”
McCurdy’s appearance was criticized and micromanaged by her mother, as were her interests. She had to pretend not to like writing and to love acting to please her mother. She had enormous pressure on her to provide financially for her family, with her mother constantly talking about the stress money was causing for her. It’s unfair how she had to give her up childhood to work.
It’s gut-wrenching when she shows her mom a screenplay she wrote, only to find her mother didn’t approve and wasn’t happy. “I absolutely prefer writing to acting. Through writing I feel power for maybe the first time in my life. …”
One of the most shocking forms of abuse McCurdy survived was her mother introducing her to calorie restriction as a child. She became anorexic while being encouraged by her mother. I just could not fathom thinking this is OK. How could anyone coach their child to only eat 500-1,000 calories a day?!
Sadly, McCurdy also faced abuse from the Creator, as she refers to the person in charge of her Nickolodeon show. Many believe this is Dan Schneider, who created “iCarly.”
The book details her journey realizing she had been abused and her work on her eating disorders with the help of professonals. The most touching part was Chapter 72, when McCurdy herself tears up while reading her own words. It was an important moment of realization.
I am rooting for McCurdy in whatever she does next. She deserves peace and the freedom to do what she truly enjoys. I am rooting for her healing.