Jennette McCurdy’s New Memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Is Dead”

Former child star Jennette McCurdy has opened up about how early stardom — starting at the age of eight on shows like “Mad TV” and “Law and Order: SVU” — profoundly influenced her upbringing. Growing up with a controlling mother determined to make her youngest child a star, McCurdy got her big break in 2007 when she was cast as spunky tomboy Sam Puckett in Nickelodeon’s “iCarly.”

McCurdy was just 14 when “iCarly” debuted and spent six seasons with Nickelodeon until its 2012 finale. a hit with the network’s young population. But off-screen, McCurdy struggled with an abusive mother, eating disorders, alcoholism and the politics of the industry.

Now 30, McCurdy is ready to tell her own story. his memoirs, “I’m Glad My Mom Is Dead” ($25), comes out today — and if the title sounds abrasive, it’s meant to be. “I stand by the title and I believe in it. It was a hard thing for me to accept,” she told Vanity Fair in a recent interview. “And the things that are hard to accept are often the things that need to be said the most.”

The memoir is full of difficult and complex subject matter, starting with McCurdy’s early childhood and his mother’s controlling behavior. By age 11, McCurdy’s mother had already introduced severe calorie restrictions, promising it would help McCurdy book roles by staying small and looking young. The abusive behavior continued throughout McCurdy’s teenage years, including financial control, access to newspapers, and invasive body exams during showers.

But it gets even more complicated when a child is brought up to think these behaviors are normal. McCurdy coped by making people happy and seeing her mother’s behavior as protective and loving. “I lived for her,” she said in an interview with Buzzfeed. “I believed she kind of lived for me. And to think that she couldn’t even feel for you, let alone living for you. It’s just really sad.”

When McCurdy was 21, his mother died of cancer – and although she struggled with grief, McCurdy was finally able to start living her own life. After starring in the short-lived “Sam and Cat” series with co-star Arianna Grande, McCurdy quietly quit acting, and later passed up the opportunity to join former “iCarly” co-star Miranda Cosgrove on the reboot series. Moving into directing and writing, McCurdy has written several articles for the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal about body shaming, eating disorders, and how the industry reinforces the obsession with thinness.

Writing is a way for McCurdy to process traumatic events in her life and “respond” to her mother’s influence. “[My mother would] They always say writers get fat and dress crooked,” she told Buzzfeed. “‘You’re gonna have a watermelon ass instead of your peach ass.'” In her memoir, McCurdy writes, ” My mother did not deserve her pedestal. . . . My mother abused me emotionally, mentally and physically in a way that will affect me forever.”

Now well into his recovery, McCurdy is finally feeling optimistic about the future. She wrote and directed a pilot and four shorts, and her solo comedy show “I’m Glad My Mom Died” sold out at the Lyric Hyperion Theater in Los Angeles. Her memoir is already making waves as the number one bestseller, but more importantly, McCurdy feels empowered by her choices.

“I haven’t had any eating disorder symptoms in years. I feel so free from those,” she says. “People still often talk about the difficulty they have to overcome. I hope (this book) will provide some kind of encouragement to someone who needs to hear it.”

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder or an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has resources available, including a 24/7 phone support at (800) 931-2237.

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