Jennette McCurdy is well aware that the title of her new book, “I’m Glad My Mom Is Dead,” (Simon & Schuster) catches the eye. She also readily admits that she means every word. “It’s something I want to say sincerely, I’m not saying it to be flippant.”
McCurdy, who co-starred in the Nickelodeon shows “iCarly” with Miranda Cosgrove and its spinoff ” sam and cat alongside Ariana Grande, she hopes readers understand why she makes such a bold statement,
“I hope readers feel that in the end, ‘this makes sense.'”
The 30-year-old writes in her book that her mother Debra “was a narcissist” who “emotionally, mentally and physically abused” her. She pushed McCurdy into an acting career when she was a child and encouraged her to have an eating disorder, McCurdy says. Her mother insisted on showering her daughter into her late teens, claiming she didn’t wash her hair properly, McCurdy says.
It wasn’t until he sought therapy after his mother’s death from complications of cancer in 2013 that McCurdy began to fully deal with the trauma he went through. Before therapy, McCurdy drank heavily and had unhealthy romantic relationships. Now, after years of working on herself, she shares her story with the world. Writing the book, she says, was an emotional roller coaster.
“I would be crying while writing it and then I would laugh when I remembered something. My mother’s way of speaking was funny and very different, and writing that was a very dynamic and emotional experience.”
McCurdy, who hosts a podcast called ” Empty inside, ” spoke to The Associated Press about looking back, therapy, and how she might get back to working on camera.
Answers have been edited for clarity and length.
AP: It’s one thing to realize your childhood through therapy, but it’s another to share those discoveries with the world. What made you want to publish it, first in a one-woman show (also called “I’m glad my mom died”) and now in a book?
McCurdy: I think finding form is very important. There are certainly many stages of processing. Processing the events that happened in my childhood took a long time in therapy. I needed to do a lot of that excavation work on my own.
AP: When you now remember your childhood and your mother, what do you think?
McCurdy: My grandfather passed away a few years ago, and I had the opportunity to experience what I consider to be a more conventional grieving process for a very close family member… It was heartbreaking and devastating. With my mother’s death, I would go from being so, so deeply angry to feeling so sorry for her. And then I could feel compassion and sympathy and then just anger and rage. I would cry because I missed her and I would be mad because I was crying because I missed her and I feel like she doesn’t deserve these tears. I think abusive love is so complicated… It’s going to be mixed and messy.
AP: Your book is also a reminder of how you never really know what’s going on with someone because people see you on these shows and maybe think, ‘Oh, she has it all.’
McCurdy: Right now my life is very boring. At the time, being on this kids’ TV show that’s so brilliant and so polished and so perfect… my real life felt the complete opposite. Living in that dichotomy felt really confusing. But also now in retrospect, I see that there is a lot of humor in that. As agonizing as it is to be in the ambulance with my mother while she is convulsing in the middle of a seizure, looking up and seeing my face (on a billboard) I felt like my life was mocking me.
AP: Are you definitely done with acting?
McCurdy: Recently, and just since I wrote the book, there’s been a part of me that says, you know, maybe I’ll write something for myself. I can see something like that happening where I think there’s a version of the performance that could heal me now, especially if I were the one to write the thing.
AP: Now we should really shout how great it is when you find the right therapist.
McCurdy: It’s very important, right? You have to try a couple because you are going to get some doozies. You’re going to have some people that will just make you feel worse. They’re kind of preoccupied with their doodles or whatever they’re doing.
AP: Are you still in therapy?
McCurdy: I am. I just saw my therapist yesterday. It’s funny because now if I look at my journal notes since I started therapy, it’s like, how many times did I catch myself and purge myself today? And, like, trying to have a better relationship with alcohol. Now it feels like tinkering or thinking about turning 30. How amazing to be able to go into a therapy session and just talk about (expletive) turning 30.
AP: How is your relationship with food now?
McCurdy: I’m so glad you asked because I don’t obsess over food at all. I say this because I want people to know that I think I may not be after you for the rest of your life. I feel great in my recovery. I consider myself recovered. For anyone who may be struggling right now, I want you to know that recovery is possible.