In her memoir, the former child star is unflinchingly honest about her toxic relationship with her overbearing stage mother.

Jennette McCurdy had an extremely complicated relationship with her mother — the title of her upcoming memoir, I'm Glad My Mom Died, spells that out for you in no uncertain terms. And EW has your exclusive first look at the unflinchingly honest, heartbreaking, yet still hilarious book, with two excerpts that detail just how toxic their mother-daughter relationship was.

In I'm Glad My Mom Died (available August 9), McCurdy, best known for playing Sam Puckett on the Nickelodeon series iCarly, looks back at her life and struggles as a former child actor and how her overbearing mother controlled her every move. As a result, she felt constant anxiety, shame, and self-loathing that led to eating disorders, addiction, and a series of unhealthy relationships. The book chronicles how those issues only got worse after her mom died of cancer right as the actress went on to star in the 2013 iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat opposite Ariana Grande. It wasn't until McCurdy, 30, started therapy and finally stopped acting that she began to take back control of her own life and figure out what she really wants for herself.

In the exclusive excerpts below, McCurdy reveals how she wanted to quit acting at a young age because she never enjoyed it. But when a particular audition made her feel uncomfortable and she tried to tell her mom how she felt, her mom freaked out and guilted her into continuing acting despite how much she hated it. The second excerpt tells the story of the moment McCurdy found out she landed one of the lead roles on iCarly — her first series regular job — and the only reason she was happy about it was because it was her mom's dream come true, not her own.

"It was important for me to explore the emotional and psychological abuse I endured during my time as a young performer," McCurdy previously told EW. "I feel I didn't have the tools, language, or support necessary to speak up for myself back then, so this book is a way for me to not only honor that experience and give voice to my former self, but hopefully to encourage young people to speak up for themselves in environments where they may be conditioned to just 'play ball' and 'be a good sport.' (Sorry for the sports idioms, I've never played sports so I have no idea why they're spilling out of me.)"

Check out the cover and read both excerpts below.

'I'm Glad My Mom Died,' by Jennette McCurdy
Credit: Simon and Schuster

Two excerpts from I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Emily's dad has just been murdered and her mom is a suspect. A crying-on-cue audition for yet another network police procedural, Without a Trace, has just come through. The audition scene is a scene where Emily gets called in for an interrogation and starts getting overwhelmed and then the tears fall.

I'm sitting in the waiting room mustering up all my sadness when something shifts in me. It feels strange. I don't know how to describe it, but I know, my gut knows, that the tears aren't gonna come. I feel detached, disconnected, and then irritated.

I tug on Mom's arm. She dog-ears the diet section in her current issue of Woman's World. The diet section is her favorite, even though I'm not sure why. Mom's very petite, four foot eleven "and a whopping ninety-two pounds!" as she often announces with proud irony, knowing her pound count is far from whopping. She sets the magazine down on her lap and leans closer to me so I can whisper in her ear.

"Mommy, I don't think I'm gonna be able to cry." Mom looks at me, puzzled at first, then her confusion turns to intensity.

I can tell immediately that she's switched into pep-talk mode, a role she switches into more often than is necessary because it makes her feel necessary. She furrows her eyebrows and tightens her lips. There's a childishness to this expression of hers, like she's a kid pretending to be an adult.

"Of course you will. You're Emily. You are Emily." Mom often says this when she's "getting me into character." She'll say, "You ARE Emily." Or Kelli. Or Sadie. Or whoever I'm supposed to be that day.

But today, right now, I don't feel like being Emily. I don't want to be Emily. This has never happened before, but it's happening now and it's scaring me. A part of me is resisting my mind forcing this emotional trauma on itself. A part of me is saying, "No. It's too painful. I'm not doing this."

That part of me is foolish. That part of me doesn't realize that this is my Special Skill, that this is good for me, for my family, for Mom. The more I can cry on cue, the more jobs I can book; the more jobs I can book, the happier Mom will be. I take a deep breath, then smile up at Mom.

"You're right. I'm Emily," I say half to convince Mom, half to convince myself.

The part of me that doesn't want to cry on cue is not convinced. That part of me screams that I'm not Emily, that I'm Jennette, and that I, Jennette, deserve to be listened to. What I want and what I need deserves to be listened to.

Mom finds the fold in her magazine, but just before she goes to reopen it, she leans over once more.

"You're gonna book this one, Emily."

But I don't. The audition doesn't go well. My heart isn't in it. I don't "feel my words." And worst of all, I do not cry on cue. I tank.

We're on the way home, in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 101 South. I'm sitting in my booster seat since I'm still small enough to be required to sit in it. I try to work on my history homework but I'm unable to focus because I'm too upset at myself over the audition.

I was in my head during it because that scary part of me decided to try and speak up. That part of me that doesn't want to be doing this.

"I don't want to act anymore," I say before I even realize I've said it. Mom looks at me in the rearview mirror. A mixture of shock and disappointment fills her eyes. I immediately regret saying anything.

"Don't be silly, you love acting. It's your favorite thing in the world," Mom says in a way that makes it sound like a threat.

I look out the window. The part of me that wants to please her thinks maybe she's right, maybe it is my favorite thing and I just don't know it, I just don't realize it. But the part of me that doesn't want to cry on cue, that doesn't want to act, that doesn't care about pleasing Mom and just wants to please me, that part of me screams at me to speak up. My face gets hot, compelling me to say something.

"No, I really don't want to. I don't like it. It makes me uncomfortable."

Mom's face looks like she just ate a lemon. It contorts in a way that terrifies me. I know what's coming next.

"You can't quit!" she sobs. "This was our chance! This was ouuuuur chaaaaance!"

She bangs on the steering wheel, accidentally hitting the horn. Mascara trickles down her cheeks. She's hysterical, like I was in the Hollywood Homicide audition. Her hysteria frightens me and demands to be taken care of.

"Never mind," I say loudly so Mom can hear it through her sobs. Her crying stops immediately, except for one leftover sniffle, but as soon as that sniffle is over, it's complete silence. I'm not the only one who can cry on cue.

"Never mind," I repeat. "Let's just forget I said anything. Sorry."

I suggest we listen to Mom's current favorite album, Phil Collins's . . . But Seriously. She smiles at the suggestion and puts it in the CD player. She flips to "Another Day in Paradise," and the song starts blasting through the speakers. Mom sings along. She eyes me in the rearview mirror.

"Come on! Why aren't you singin' along, Net?!" she asks giddily, her mood having switched.

So I start singing along. And I throw on my best fake smile to go with it. Maybe I wasn't able to bring the tears for Without a Trace, but I was able to bring the smile for Mom on our drive home. Either way, it's performing.


I'm sitting in the back seat of the Ford Windstar. We're driving to the Art Supply Warehouse to visit Dustin on his shift. Dustin seems to hate this, but Mom loves it. I think she enjoys knowing people who work at the place she's visiting. I think it makes her feel like a VIP. Her posture and energy shift completely whenever she walks into Best Buy to visit Marcus, or the ticket stand at Disneyland to visit Grandpa. She gets this aura like she owns the place. I love seeing Mom so confident.

As we drive over, Mom's on the phone with a bill collector, asking for an extension, when she turns to me excitedly.

"Susan's calling!"

I know why Susan's calling. Yesterday I screen-tested for a show called iCarly, a new Nickelodeon show about young teenagers who create a web show together. And next week I'm supposed to screen-test for a show called Californication, a new Showtime show about a man who mistreats women. By the time you get to the screen test for a TV show, they already have the contracts all written up, and apparently it's good when you're testing for more than one show at the same time, because your manager can use that as "leverage" to get you the best deal possible. (Mom loves saying the word "leverage" on calls with Susan. She says it makes her sound "in the know.") There's also this weird rule that whichever show tests you first gets first choice on whether to pick you or not. They get a designated amount of time to decide if they for sure want you, then if they haven't decided by that point, the other network gets first choice.

I had my screen test for iCarly yesterday, so they have first choice as to whether they want me. Susan calling right now means Nickelodeon has made up their mind.

As excited as Mom is to talk to Susan, she finishes up with the bill collector first, like she always does.

"I'm not gonna drop the call after I've been waiting on hold for an hour."

Mom weeps her way through an extension, but by the time she hangs up with Brandon at Sprint PCS, her tears are dry. While she dials Susan, she thrusts her hand back behind her and toward me. I'm sitting in my booster seat. (I'm fourteen and still in the booster.) I have to lunge forward as far as I can to grip her hand, and since the seat belt is pulled through the booster seat, the length of the belt is shortened so it locks sooner. The second I lean forward to grab Mom's hand, the belt makes the clicking sound of it locking. I'm trying to reach her hand but I can't. Click, click, click.

"Hi, can I speak with Susan? It's Debbie McCurdy."

Click, click. Mom's hand wags around, trying to find mine. Our fingers almost graze. "Okay, yeah, I think I can figure out how to put it on speaker."

Mom presses buttons aimlessly on her phone until something works, and Susan's voice starts blaring from the phone speaker.

"She booked iCarly! She booked iCarly!"

Mom's hand flies forward to accompany her woohoo in what can only be described as a questionable fist pump. Whatever it is, it takes her hand away from mine and my whole body feels that. But just for a second. Because then it hits me. I've booked my first series regular role.

Mom pulls into the Art Supply Warehouse parking lot while we both scream at the top of our lungs. She pulls into a reserved-for-handicapped space—she's thrilled she has a handicapped card since her diverticulitis diagnosis. I unbuckle my seat belt as quickly as I can.

I jump into Mom's arms. She squeezes me. I'm elated. Everything's going to be different now. Everything's going to be better. Mom will finally be happy. Her dream has come true.

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