Catch a glimpse of McCurdy’s process to create her hit memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died.”
BY MADALYN GODFREY, CULTURE EDITOR
You may remember her as the butter-sock, food-loving, co-host of iCarly, but now you know her as the author of The New York Times Co. bestseller “I’m Glad My Mom Died”. Becoming the 2023 Homecoming Headliner, Jennette McCurdy talks about her new memoir at the Center for the Arts (CFA).
From the long lines outside of the CFA to the crowded theater with no seats left empty, as soon as the lights started to dim, the audience soon transformed into a live-studio audience as they cheered for McCurdy as she took her seat at center stage.
Christina Casais, a graduate student at Mason and moderator for the event, started off the night of questions by asking McCurdy, “How would you describe your sense of humor both in the book and in real life?”
“I was really serious growing up although I always loved Saturday Night Live and funny Jewish men… so there is something in me that I was just drawn to humor and so I kind of started. I don’t think I really developed a sense of humor until I was 18, I was a bit more sarcastic and then I eventually found what I feel like is my sense of humor now. Not ever being flippant of tragedy, but finding levity when necessary” said McCurdy.
This developed sense of humor added to her book as she chose to write from a child’s perspective. “Something I think is really funny is the child’s perspective…As odd as it might sound, it’s really funny. My mom might be chasing my dad around the house with a kitchen knife and I would be like ‘Go Mom! You got this!’ like cheering her on” McCurdy explained while laughing.
However, before it was a memoir, the original premise of “I’m Glad My Mom Died” was to be a one-woman show. Similar to most things in the works during 2020, it was shut down due to COVID-19.
“I was really disappointed and I felt like I didn’t know what to do with [the show]…My manager, Norm, knew I wanted to write a book and so I brought those ideas back to life into a cohesive narrative and one story to focus on,” said McCurdy.
As McCurdy brought those ideas back to life with her memoir, included with it was the relationship she had with her mom growing up and the healing process she began to experience after her mom’s death.
“Within the book, you clearly described the layered-complex relationship you have with your mom and the journey you take during healing from the relationship you had from her. Have you been able to find forgiveness? If not, when did you come to realize that it wasn’t for you?” Casais asked.
“Forgiveness is initially why I went to therapy. The first time I went to therapy, I was going to process losing my mom. As I started to share these anecdotes and stories, every single thing I would say about my mom, I would disclaim it on why she was actually doing these things from a good place.” said McCurdy.
It wasn’t until McCurdy’s first therapist made it clear to her about the abuse she was experiencing, “I quit therapy. I couldn’t handle the idea of my mom being imperfect…Until, it was a series of events and I couldn’t keep her on a pedestal. I needed to go back to therapy to find forgiveness for her.” said McCurdy.
After a year of going to therapy and trying to find it with no luck, her therapist told her she didn’t need to forgive as “[McCurdy] chasing forgiveness is you doing [her mom’s] work.” “That relief washed over me when I had that permission to live life for myself and not be chasing it to find forgiveness for a person who abused me. Owning that was healing itself,” said McCurdy.
Along with her healing process, McCurdy has found hobbies on her own terms, owning the “Disney Adult” label and enjoying things that make her feel free to have fun. As well as new career directions such as retiring from acting at 24 and becoming a director.
Ending the night with the final few questions from the moderator Casais, McCurdy shared new information with the audience to get them on their toes for the future.
“I am working on a novel now actually and a feature which I wrote and will direct…[in the future] I would really like to start a production company and develop other writer’s projects,” said McCurdy.
As people anticipate McCurdy’s upcoming projects for the coming years, until then, check out a copy of McCurdy’s memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died” at Fenwick Library.