“I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy

What a book! I feel like this year is a literary rollercoaster for me and “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy is definitely adding to that rollercoaster. I have been trying to get into audiobooks for a while but always told myself that I am a visual person and I need to see what I read. Recently, I started biking Sofia to a new daycare that takes me about 30 minutes one way. So that’s at least an hour per day on my bike. Cycling in the Netherlands is very safe because biking lanes are always separate from cars and there is a very low chance you would actually be hit by a car. Anyway, all that to say that I felt quite bored moving on my bike and once I got through all my podcasts, I thought the time come to give audiobooks a try YET AGAIN. This time it definitely worked!

Anyway, back to the book itself. “I’m Glad My Mom Died” is an autobiography by Jennette McCurdy who is an American actress and singer. She details how she became a child actor at Nickelodeon, her complicated relationship with her abusive mother who pushed her to become and actress in the first place, her eating disorder issues, and her alcoholism. There is definitely a lot to unpack in that book! Also, I listened to the version that is read by the author and it was a chef’s kiss so I definitely recommend that one.

What surprised me about this book is that it was so radically candid. It was honest to the extent that sometimes it was hard to take and I had to pause it and step away. I already mentioned that there are several topics discussed in the book but the central one is definitely Jennette’s relationship with her mother. Her mother wanted her to become an actress as the family continuously struggled financially and that is a huge burden to place on a young child. Her mother also introduces her to calorie restriction at the age of 11. Yep, you are reading that right. Throughout her life, she manipulates Jennette to raise her self-worth.

I know this might sound strange because who would say these things about their own mother? But I think this is exactly where this book hits you – the truth is that we often think that if someone is our parent, they are a great person because we love them unconditionally. But in reality, just because someone is our parent does not mean that they are perfect and don’t have their own issues. They can be our parents and we can still struggle to find common ground and I think that’s okay.

As mentioned, the book is not limited to this one topic but also ranges over child abuse by both their parents and entertainment network, over having the freedom to choose and mold your way in the world, over dealing with eating disorders, over processing grief and psychological trauma. This book is a lot to take but I feel like sometimes we need to take it, right?

***

“A pushover is a bad thing to be, but an opinionated pushover is a worse thing to be. A pushover is nice and goes along with it, whatever it is. An opinionated pushover acts nice and goes along with it, but while quietly brooding and resentful. I am an opinionated pushover.”

***

“And if my entire life and point of view and identity have been built on a false foundation, confronting that false foundation would mean destroying and rebuilding a new foundation from the ground up. I have no idea how to go about doing this.

***

“I’m aware enough to know how fucking annoying and whiny this all sounds. Millions of people dream of being famous, and here I am with fame and hating it. I somehow feel entitled to my hatred since I was not the one who dreamed of being famous. Mom was. Mom pushed this on me. I’m allowed to hate someone else’s dream, even if it’s my reality.”

***

“Recovery so far is, in some ways, as difficult as the bulimic/alcohol-ridden years, but difficult in a different way because I’m facing my issues for the first time instead of burying them with eating disorders and substances. I’m processing not only the grief of my mom’s death, but the grief of a childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood that I feel I had never truly been able to live for myself. It’s difficult, but it’s the kind of difficult I have pride in.”

***

“Through writing, I feel power for maybe the first time in my life. I don’t have to say somebody else’s words. I can write my own. I can be myself for once. I like the privacy of it. Nobody’s watching. Nobody’s judging. Nobody’s weighing in. No casting directors or agents or managers or directors or Mom. Just me and the page. Writing is the opposite of performing to me. Performing feels inherently fake. Writing feels inherently real.”

***

Any good apps to listen to audiobooks except Audible?

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