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I'm Glad My Mom Died

a skinny young blond woman holds a pink urn, kind of shrugging
I'm Glad My Mom Died, by Jennette McCurdy

We all kind of know that child actors are by definition kids who are put in a position that kids should not be in. Kids should not have jobs! And also, especially, kids who are still developing as people, exploring their own selves and shaping their own personalites, should not have full time jobs that involve grown adults literally dressing and making them up to fit into Disney narratives.

We all know this! And, also, pretty much all of us watch tv shows with kids in them. I'm not even a huge TV person, and I do, from time to time, see children on the tv screen. This book made me seriously reconsider whether that's a moral thing for me to view.

McCurdy's experience isn't universal, of course. This book is a memoir about her relationship with her mom, which is related to but distinct from her relationship with acting. Her mom was uniquely abusive and weird and upsetting, and it's not exactly true that all child actors have the same level of exploitation and verbal abuse and coercive control in their lives... but it's not exactly NOT true, either, is it. McMCurdy's mom's abusive nature might well have come out even if Hollywood never existed, and she alone is responsible for the choices she made (like teaching her 11 yr old daughter how to have an eating disorder!). But, you know. Hollywood has produced a series of really messed up kids because of the incentives of film and TV work, and like. Maybe we should do something about this.

This book is good, btw. Solidly written, lightly funny in places in spite/because of the heavy subject matter, and McCurdy herself does the audiobook narration, which is splendid. Trigger warning for memoir things like intense feelings about close family members who are trash, eating disorders, child abuse/neglect.


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