People are excited over this book for a variety of reasons, and I am happy that Jennette McCurdy found her place to document the tumultuous life she has lived. Known best for her time on the Nickelodeon show iCarly, this is the memoir that sets her story straight. The title of the book gives the subject matter away, but it’s truly frightening how deep the abuse went that Jennette suffered.
The manipulation started from a super young age, as Jennette’s mom was clearly unstable and narcissistic. This was only further enabled through the cancer diagnoses, as it gave Jennette’s mom even more of a reason to have life centered around herself. One of the most cringe-worthy moments happens in the beginning of the book, where the mom makes the family re-watch footage from her cancer fight as a means of celebration, where she critiques the way every family member (regardless of age – Jennette was 2) handled this very traumatic and delicate time of their lives.
Jennette and her mom had an unhealthy relationship that was clearly co-dependent but relied on the fact that Jennette’s literal life purpose was to make her mother happy. It’s clear that everything Jennette did, from choosing the Nutty coconut ice cream flavor to pursuing an acting career, was to please her mom. There is abuse happening from every angle, and I applaud Jennette for being able to both recognize and also talk about it.
As someone who has struggled with disordered eating throughout my life, the book should have came with a giant trigger warning. While a lot of her words made me super uncomfortable to read, it was because of how easy it was to relate in what I’ve experience in my own relationship with food. The way that diet culture and body image was dealt with in the 90’s and early 2000’s is so damaging to those of us who were convinced by society that we were taking up too much space.
Overall, the book is a fast, intriguing, and emotional read that I really enjoyed. I hope that Jennette feels validation in documenting her story and her growth. I hope that justice is brought to the creator aka scum of the earth Dan Schneider. And I hope that through this, Jennette has found some sense of peace.
Thanks for reading!