Humorous Memoir of Heartbreak and Healing

If this isn't completely triggering then you should pick it up, but know you're in for a doozy

If you were on #booktok at all this summer then you probably have heard about this book. First thing first: it is just as hilarious as the hype. However, that humor is necessary comedy to lighten what could be a dark tale.

I've never watched iCarly, that show was added to Nickelodeon after I had largely graduated from their programming. I did catch some of McCurdy's Netflix show (which was lackluster - glad she agreed on that one), but mostly when I picked up this book I had little idea who she was. If you also need a Jennette McCurdy primer, allow me: she's a former child actor who is mostly famous for iCarly and it's spin-off Sam and Cat. She became an actress because her mom's dream was for her only daughter to become a star and all she wanted to do was make her mom happy.

The lengths that she went to make her mom happy are nothing short of extraordinary. From eyelash tinting to calorie restriction there is very little she wouldn't give up to ensure that she got the happy version of her mom instead of the angry one. But when her mom died of cancer, she found that she lost not only her mom but her motivation for everything in her life.

“I tried desperately to understand and know my mother—what made her sad, what made her happy, and on and on and on—at the expense of ever really knowing myself. Without Mom around, I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I need. I don’t know who I am. And I certainly don’t know what to wish for.”

While this story is filled with humor and color and personality, it is largely a dark tale of trauma and finding yourself through it all. McCurdy reflects on the way that she was objectified and exploited by the entertainment industry and by her mom. The dark humor that creates her voice funny, but I wouldn't call this a funny book if that's what you're looking for.

However, that's not my complaint. If anything I would only critique that she didn't shed enough light on some things. She describes an origin story of her OCD but then it largely disappears into the background. Towards the end, we find that she is getting the professional help that she needs to heal, but very little is included on what healing looks like for her. There is more to this story, and I for one would have really enjoyed reading it.

Overall, I really liked this one. If you can handle stories of anorexia, OCD and abuse without being triggered then I think you should definitely pick it up. McCurdy reads her own memoir on audiobook and I highly recommend it. I laughed. I teared up. I was moved and scared and motivated by her story. I look forward to more of her writing as she heals.

“Mom didn’t get better. But I will.”


Better on Audio
Biography Memoir
Mental Health