CW/TW For Bulimia
If Jennette McCurdy’s aim was to no longer be remembered as ‘Sam from iCarly’, then mission accomplished. Instead, she will be remembered for writing one of the best memoirs in recent memory.
It started with the title, ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’. A visceral title that perfectly achieves what every publisher and agent demand: a title that makes the audience ask questions and need to know the answers. I’m sure you all know what I mean, as it seems that everybody, regardless of whether they are a reader or not, has been obsessed with this release. The book sold out immediately, Goodreads reviews soared to 100k ratings and Twitter exploded. Everyone is talking about this book. From the vibrant blend of pink and yellow on the cover, to the celebrity of the author, holding an urn, to that title. This truly felt like the birth of a new literary figure. A new Joan Didion, or Eve Babitz.
But is it actually good? We’ve seen plenty of celebrities ‘write’ novels and memories which are not only filled with someone else’s writing, but someone else’s terrible writing – here’s looking at you Kylie and Kendall. McCurdy breaks that expectation by delivering a blunt, emotive and resonant memoir that tackles a series of personal issues including parental abuse and eating disorders. The writing is personable and accessible, allowing anyone to pick up this book and dive straight to the core of McCurdy’s story. It doesn’t rely on the audience knowing who she is beforehand. The story is told via extremely short chapters, almost vignettes which allow the author to deliver hard-hitting, emotional moments that continue to ramp up throughout; not an easy feat but one McCurdy accomplishes with ease. Not once does she flinch from her own actions, allowing herself to be both the victim and someone who has made bad decisions as a result of their trauma. It’s honest.
I won’t lie though; this is a tough read. Despite the positives, the whole book is a series of trigger warnings. I was walking down the street, having to wipe tears from my eyes as I heard McCurdy recount her first experience with bulimia. This book put me back on my knees, bent over a toilet in my secondary school bathroom during my GCSE Maths exam. For those who have gone through their journey of recovery, like myself, there is a sense of catharsis at the end of the novel. For those who are still on their journey, or yet to face it, enter with caution, but I hope you find the inspiration you need to continue.
Buy this book. Support this author. When we’re starved for mainstream quality, forced to accept celebrity ghost-written novels and living in a consumerist society, we are compelled to speak with our wallets. ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’ is a book where I’m not ashamed to do so.
Photo Credit: Simon and Schuster
References: 100k ratings on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59364173-i-m-glad-my-mom-died?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=ctTjreIb1Z&rank=1