casket with flowers in hearse

And the winner of the most shocking book title of the decade goes to . . . I’m Glad My Mom Died, by Jennette McCurdy.

McCurdy starred on Nickelodeon TV shows as a child. In her well-written and gut-wrenching memoir, she chronicles her unusual childhood. Her mother is a colorful character whose most cherished wish is not to die of cancer. Her second most cherished wish is for her daughter to have what she herself wanted but never got in life: to be a famous actress.

McCurdy’s mom proves to be something of a genius in conditioning her daughter for the acting profession and cajoling Hollywood players to take her on. Meanwhile, McCurdy proves to be something of a genius in learning the tricks of the trade. Unfortunately, when she achieves fame, not everybody wins. McCurdy writes of her mother and her own acting career:

“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.”

It becomes increasingly clear, as the reader progresses through the book, that McCurdy’s mother is manipulative and abusive. From earliest childhood, McCurdy is caught in a trap that she doesn’t fully comprehend until adulthood. By then, much damage has been done.

Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do because someone you loved wanted it?