Review: Actress’ memoir balances childhood trauma with dark humor


A famous life is what many aspire to have. Yet we aren’t always aware of its consequences. Even the happiest of celebrities can hide a lifetime of regret and shame.

Hollywood life is full of stress. If the life of a star is stressful, it is unimaginable the kind of stress that a child star must be under.

Growing up, one of my favorite kids’ channels was Nickelodeon. My favorite show growing up was iCarly.

The reason why it was my favorite was because of Sam Puckett, a character played by Jennette McCurdy, who loved eating fried chicken and would beat people up with a sock full of butter.

As a tween, I thought she was hilarious. She was the comedy relief for the show and I, like other young girls, looked up to her.

That is why her newly released memoir garnered new attention to her name.

McCurdy released her memoir on Aug. 9, detailing her struggles as a child actor that followed her into adulthood and how she is now reclaiming her life.

She is open and vulnerable by disclosing her troubling relationship with her mother. Her mother always wanted to be an actress and she imposed this same dream on McCurdy, who only wanted to make her mom happy. At six years old she became an actress to help her family financially.

In her memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” McCurdy uses satirical humor to retell her story about how being a child actor led her to be ridden with anxiety and self-loathing.

This book discusses heavy and dark concepts not suited for everyone. Some of these include eating disorders, alcoholism and abuse. For example, McCurdy recounts in detail her multiple bulimic episodes and how she would force herself to throw up.

There were times in the book when I had to put it down because of how uncomfortable some of the things she talked about made me feel. McCurdy states that her mother would not let her shower by herself even though she was sixteen years old and would perform “checkups” all along her private areas. McCurdy also claims that she had to take pictures while wearing a bikini for a Nickelodeon “creator” and was offered alcohol by him even though she was underage.

With such heavy topics of discussion, McCurdy uses sarcasm to make things less bleak and it is a representation of how she is now finding new ways to cope with the abuse she endured. At the beginning of her memoir, McCurdy tells how her mother would reminisce about the time when she had cancer and how young McCurdy was being a “stinker”.

“She goes on to say how she can’t believe I wouldn’t stop singing ‘Jingle Bells’ at the top of my lungs when the mood was clearly so sad,” she wrote. “She can’t believe how I didn’t get that. How could I possibly be so upbeat when my surroundings were so obviously heavy? I was two.”

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” highlights the dark side of what it is like to be a child actor and the effects that fame can have on a person’s mental and physical well-being.

McCurdy’s memoir about her life is important because it shows that Hollywood has not changed. The life of a child actor can be overwhelming and stressful, and producers and managers can take advantage of their young actors.

Her story is especially significant in an age where social media has allowed kids and teenagers to garner fame quickly. The repercussions of this can be more severe since the internet is not regulated in the same way that Hollywood is. Having young online creators can harm them in the same way that McCurdy was harmed by an unwanted life of fame.