Before I jump into this review, I do want to let people know that this book does come with a content warning about disordered eating as well as parent-loss and grief.
Jennette McCurdy’s memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died exploded on the literary scene. I think it took a lot of people by surprise. I think at first, there were a lot of people thinking to themselves, ‘Not another celebrity memoir’. I, too some degree, was also in this category. Although, I was still very much intrigued by the title and premise of McCurdy’s memoir. As someone who has experienced the death of a parent, I am always interested in the different ways people experience grief, but also how the relationships they had with the person they lost impact that grief. McCurdy’s memoir sounds harsh – you might wonder to yourself, ‘Who would be glad their mother died?’
The complexities of grief are just that – complex and difficult. If you have a difficult and traumatic relationship with your parent, then that also complicates their death. McCurdy’s memoir chronicles a lot of family dysfunction, abuse, and disordered eating. A lot of this was instigated by McCurdy’s mother. In a twist of irony – it was McCurdy’s mother pushing her daughter into acting that has ultimately allowed Jennette to have a voice in writing her memoir.
If you have a great relationship with your mother, this book might seem like it was written by an alien. For those who struggle with the relationships with their parents, then this book might help you think about your experiences in new ways. McCurdy is great at describing her childhood and life, and I can imagine that there was a lot of trauma in the retelling of it. I’m so glad that McCurdy found a way to do that. Not everyone does. If you decide to listen to the audiobook of this memoir, it is also read by the author which I think adds a special element to the story.
There are more and more people writing about grief, something I think is extremely refreshing. We need more people talking about fictional and nonfictional accounts of grief and loss in every form. McCurdy gives us something to think about. Namely, What does grief look like when we don’t have a great relationship with them? Like all forms of grief, this is going to look different.
If you are thinking that this is just another celebrity memoir, then I urge you to think again. It is at times challenging, but well worth the read.
I genuinely look forward to seeing more of what McCurdy writes in the future. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve read this book and what you thought. As always, share the reading love.
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