Impactful I’m Glad My Mom Died Quotes by Jennette McCurdy

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What are the most insightful I’m Glad My Mom Died quotes? How did Jennette McCurdy’s relationship with her mother make her resentful?

McCurdy is best known for her roles in the popular Nickelodeon TV show iCarly (2007-2012) and its spinoff, Sam & Cat (2013-2014). She released her memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died to expose her difficult childhood and relationship with her mother Debra.

Discover more with these I’m Glad My Mom Died quotes.

Quotes From I’m Glad My Mom Died

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the life of a child star? It’s not always glamorous, and in some instances, it’s downright toxic. In her best-selling memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, former child star Jennette McCurdy explores the ways in which her acting career and her entire identity are inextricably linked with her difficult, often traumatic, relationship with her controlling mother.

Here are I’m Glad My Mom Died quotes to get the main ideas.

“She wanted this. And I wanted her to have it. I wanted her to be happy. But now that I have it, I realize that she’s happy and I’m not. Her happiness came at the cost of mine. I feel robbed and exploited.”

Debra had always wanted to be an actress, but her parents wouldn’t let her. When McCurdy is six, Debra tells her that she should be an actress because Debra wants to give McCurdy the life she never had. McCurdy knows being an actress is what she has to do to make her mom happy.

Debra takes McCurdy to audition for an agency and McCurdy is accepted as a background actor. She starts to get more work because she’s good at cooperating and doing what she’s told, which she says are important traits for a child actor. She auditions to work as a principal actor with a better-known agent, and she doesn’t get it, but Debra talks the agent into taking McCurdy on as long as she takes acting classes.

McCurdy hates the acting classes. She doesn’t enjoy acting at all, but she’s glad it makes her mom happy. To add to the discomfort, Debra insists on sitting in on her acting class, so McCurdy has the additional pressure of knowing her mom is watching, judging, and coaching her (by using facial expressions and mouthing the lines).

McCurdy becomes known for crying on cue. To do so, she has to imagine horrible things happening to her family. It makes her miserable, but she usually books roles if she cries on cue in the audition. After she’s done this for a while, she has one audition where a part of her rebels against having to feel so much pain again, and she isn’t able to cry. After the audition, she tells her mom that she doesn’t want to act anymore. Her mom throws a fit, crying and banging on the steering wheel. When McCurdy retracts her statement, her mom stops crying immediately. McCurdy notices that she’s not the only one who can cry on cue.

“I was conditioned to believe any boundary I wanted was a betrayal of her, so I stayed silent. Cooperative.”

McCurdy and her mom are so close that there are few emotional or physical boundaries between them. When teenaged McCurdy finally starts to assert some independence from her mom, Debra punishes her for it.

Debra doesn’t have many friends and, until McCurdy meets her co-star Miranda Cosgrove on iCarly, McCurdy doesn’t, either. When McCurdy is a young girl, Debra tells her repeatedly that she is her best friend and that she’d rather have McCurdy than any man. It makes McCurdy feel special to be so close to her mom.

Throughout McCurdy’s childhood—until she is 17—Debra showers with her. Sometimes Debra showers with both McCurdy and her brother Scottie, who is 16. This makes McCurdy and her brother extremely uncomfortable. Debra says she has to shower with her because she was trained as a hairstylist and only she knows how to properly shampoo and condition McCurdy’s hair.

During the showers, Debra performs breast and vaginal “exams” on McCurdy. She says this is to check for cancer. McCurdy dissociates from her body when this is happening and thinks hard about Disneyland to remove herself mentally from her present reality. When the “exams” are over, McCurdy feels immense relief.

After Debra’s cancer comes back, she’s in a wheelchair and unable to drive McCurdy to the set of her show. McCurdy is 18 but Debra didn’t want her to learn to drive because she said her time would be better used doing other things, such as practicing lines. So she arranges for McCurdy to get her own apartment closer to the set. McCurdy is excited to finally be living on her own, but on her first night there, Debra invites herself over to spend the night—and never leaves. She sleeps in McCurdy’s bed with her; it’s hard for McCurdy to sleep because Debra clings to her all night.

“I’m becoming an angry person with no tolerance for anyone. I’m aware of this shift and yet have no desire to change it. If anything, I want it. It’s armor. It’s easier to be angry than to feel to pain underneath it.”

Debra dies when McCurdy is 21, leaving McCurdy feeling lost and unsure of who she is. Debra’s death causes her to stop caring about many things and feel angrier about others. She continues drinking and binging and purging. She exercises excessively: running 5-10 miles every other day and 13 miles twice a week. She feels bitter about things like her co-star, Ariana Grande’s, regular absences from the set in pursuit of her singing career. She loses her virginity to a man when she’s drunk just to get it over with, even though she doesn’t really want to have sex with him. 

She also realizes that she’s spent her life focusing on her mom—trying to understand her and doing whatever it takes to make her happy—and has never focused on understanding or getting to know herself. She feels lost.

“I take a longer look at the words on her headstone.
Brave, kind, loyal, sweet, loving, graceful, strong, thoughtful, funny, genuine, hopeful, playful, insightful, and on and on…
Was she, though? Was she any of those things? The words make me angry. I can’t look at them any longer. Why do we romanticize the dead? Why can’t we be honest about them?”

McCurdy visits Debra’s grave regularly after she dies, but as the years pass, she visits less and less frequently. On one of her visits, McCurdy notes all of the superlative adjectives the family had placed on her gravestone and reflects on how she always believed her mom was all of these and more—a kind of goddess who could do no wrong. But now she recognizes the truth: Her mom was a narcissist who emotionally, mentally, and physically abused her.

Despite the abuse, McCurdy still misses her mom and reflects fondly on some aspects of her personality. Sometimes she imagines that if her mom were still alive, she would have apologized for her actions, and the two could have a healthy relationship.

But then McCurdy realizes that this is just a fantasy. She knows that her mom never acknowledged her issues or made any effort to change during her lifetime, even though her behavior was harming her family. McCurdy knows that if Debra were still alive, she’d still be trying to manipulate McCurdy into doing and being exactly what Debra wanted, she’d still be encouraging McCurdy’s eating disorder, and she’d still be pushing McCurdy to continue in an acting career that makes McCurdy miserable. McCurdy gets up from Debra’s grave and walks away, knowing that she’ll never come back.

Impactful I’m Glad My Mom Died Quotes by Jennette McCurdy

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Here's what you'll find in our full I'm Glad My Mom Died summary:

  • Former child star Jennette McCurdy's autobiography
  • McCurdy's difficult, often traumatic, relationship with her controlling mother
  • What it's like to grow up as a child in the spotlight

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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