I’m Glad My Mom Died: Jeanette McCurdy’s Hilarious, but Heartbreaking Book Explained

Im Glad My Mom Died: Jeanette McCurdy’s Hilarious, but Heartbreaking Book Explained

Joie Evar, Staff Writer

For those of you Nickelodeon kids who watched every episode of iCarly or memorized the entire Sam and Cat theme song, you probably obsessed over all of the amazing child stars. And no, I’m not just talking about Ariana Grande or Miranda Cosgrove; I’m referring to Jeanette McCurdy, also known as Sam Puckett.

On the screen, Sam was always the classic sarcastic, problem-making friend who frequently got into trouble. But off the screen, Jeanette McCurdy struggled from not-so-humorous threats, most of which came from her mom. I’m sure you’re wondering what led her to being so happy when her mother passed away. Here’s how you can find out without spoiling too much of the book

McCurdy and her mom in 2009

On August 9th, 2022, McCurdy published her first book, reliving her haunting past with her late and abusive mother who died in 2013. McCurdy’s mother, Deborah McCurdy, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995 and passed away after 15 years of treatment. For Jeanette, her mom’s battle with cancer was nothing compared to the ongoing battle of their relationship.

For starters, Deborah was a hoarder. In an interview with Red Table Talk, she explained, “Because she was so close to seeing her fate, she suddenly attached meaning and significance to the tiny — I mean, she’d say, ‘Well, you touched that Kleenex, so I need it.’ So she was keeping everything that me or my three older brothers touched, and it just overwhelmed our house. It really did not feel like a home. It felt like a place of chaos and of turmoil and turbulence.McCurdy, along with her three older brothers, parents, and grandparents, all lived under the same roof. Jeanette and her brothers slept on mats in the living room, sleeping in fear of becoming the “victim of her mom’s next wrath.”

Deborah also put incredible pressure on McCurdy’s acting career, which started at the age of six. The idea that maintaining McCurdy’s career was dependent on her looking young quickly took a hold of McCurdy’s life. Deborah taught her how to restrict her calories at only 11-years-old. This would snowball into anorexia and later on a severe case of bulimia that McCurdy had to overcome. While juggling all of this, McCurdy was the face of child stardom, hiding behind her persona, Sam Puckett. 

Child stardom was no free ride for McCurdy. In her book, she makes it clear that it was no dream of hers from the start. Rather, it was the byproduct of her mom’s dreams of creating for them a better life, as she herself had been denied easy living. McCurdy’s career is what ultimately supported and paid the bills for her family. This eventually maximized the pressure that ultimately caused her to drop acting altogether.

After iCarly and at the peak of her career, McCurdy was assigned a spin-off series, alongside pop star Ariana Grande, called Sam and Cat. McCurdy describes the tensions of jealousy behind the set with her co-star. For starters, Nickelodeon paid Grande significantly more and was considerably more cooperative with Grande as she went off to go take other deals to further her career. McCurdy, however, was glued to the set with no days off. This led her to resent Nickelodeon and to turn down opportunities that would have further catapulted her career. Additionally, the environment at Nickelodeon was extremely uncomfortable. Lead producer Dan Schneiner, although not convicted of sexual misconduct, was extremely inappropriate. He was known to be abusive on set and frequently asked employees for massages. He also texted child stars after set hours.

Praying that Jennette makes more from this book than Nickelodeon could’ve ever offered with their hush money- Marina on Good Reads

In an intense interview with The View, McCurdy went into depth about her memoir: “I think the thing about being a kid in a traumatic environment is that you don’t realize you’re in a traumatic environment…The point of view with the naivety of a child. Of course my mom is chasing my dad with a kitchen knife and I’m like, ‘Go mom!’ and cheering her on. It’s just the unawareness of being a kid.” In her book, McCurdy stated, “The air in the house felt like a held breath.” Even after Deborah’s pressures to restrict calories ceased, McCurdy explains how there have been multiple episodes of her mom engaging in violating acts. Her mom would give her showers and touch her invasively. She would refer to these actions as “medical exams” on her private parts. These “examinations” continued until she was 17. 

On the talk show, The View, McCurdy also explained how the aftermath of her book’s publication has been sparking new conversations, which she had hoped to see. “It drives me nuts that there’s this social norm that we have to keep parents on pedestal when that’s just not everyone’s experience. They are conversations that have been necessary for a while, it’s long overdue.” Everything McCurdy has kept inside for so long is finally being validated by the public. She admits that the process of writing her memoir is what ultimately helped her to get through the trauma she had tirelessly faced her entire life. 

As students at THS are hearing more about McCurdy’s story, conversations are sparking up in Tenafly as well. However, what’s most important is that the students feel there are available resources if they are faced with the same problems as McCurdy. “I think these conversations are something students are afraid of,” said Ava Selver (’24). “No one ever wants to admit that their parents are not deserving of being the best. It’s okay to admit that parents are not always gonna be our superheroes, but if someone ever needs help, there are plenty of people we can go to in THS.”

McCurdy stresses the important themes of “resilience, independence, and the joy of washing your own hair” throughout the memoir, but most importantly, how she took

control of her life. What readers found so amusing about her memoir is that she shares her story simultaneously with her humor. The book sits on Good Reads with a 4.7/5 and on Amazon with a 4.8/5, and after continuously being sold out, physical copies are finally available for purchase online with a link below. Hopefully, you can find a chance to read McCurdy’s memoir and let me know your thoughts!