I’m Glad My Mom Died
As someone personally acquainted with childhood abuse and its ensuing trauma, I’m no stranger to the words we often blurt out after an argument with our parents: “I hate my mom. I hate my dad.” But it’s only after a completely different level of understanding and suffering that one is capable of uttering the unthinkable.
“I wish my parents were dead.”
Yet I have uttered those words at various points throughout my life and I have meant them each and every time. Someone who’s grown up in a perfectly healthy and loving home might be unable to understand this sentiment. Parents are life-givers, carers, supporters and protectors. But what about the children who grow up needing protection from their protectors?
After 12 drafts and over a year of writing, Jennette McCurdy’s “I’m Glad My Mom Died” emerged as an honest and uncomfortable look at both the reality of being a child star and the complex relationships that can exist between a parent and their child. Anyone that has read the book will understand the title is genuine, chosen carefully and earned during our harrowing journey through the book’s chapters. It’s neither sensational nor misleading, though it has proven to be one thing: controversial.
From the very beginning the material is difficult but dressed in charming dark humor. There is this ominous childhood home where the air felt tense, “like a held breath”. Jennette’s mom Debra was a cancer survivor that liked to bask in this fact, making her children watch and rewatch tapes of her battling her illness. Jennette sees these grim “movie nights” as a kind of dress rehearsal for her mother’s death.
Everything is about her mom.
For the majority of Jennette’s life even she didn’t really exist. There only existed her mom, and a smaller version of her mom named “Jennette”. The two were so identical that it would be difficult to define where one ended and the other began. Debra dictated everything about her daughter’s life from her religion to her career to her eating habits.
Food was a huge part of their relationship. It first became significant when Jennette started morphing into a teenager, the two desperately working…