Ok, so the blurb for this book describes it as ‘heartbreaking and hilarious’, and I need to have a very stern word to the editor because WOW there is nothing hilarious in this book.
Jennette McCurdy has, unflinchingly and honestly, recounted a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her mother within these pages. You think Dance Moms are bad? They don’t have #$%& on Mrs McCurdy.
The McCurdy household used and abused their youngest, Jennette, and forced her into child stardom. She was trotted out to auditions from 6 years old and never given a choice in the matter. She was groomed by her narcissistic mother to do nothing but try to please her and she had no bodily autonomy. It is a profoundly tragic tale, and not once in the 90 or so chapters of trauma did I so much as crack as smile. This is not hilarious. It is not light and entertaining. But it was excellent.
I listened to this book on audible, narrated by Jennetter herself. In her dry and sardonic tone, she unloaded untold horrors about her stifling relationship with her mother to the listener. From the banal (her mother insisting on washing Jennette’s hair well into adulthood) to the deeply disturbing (her mother coaching her to extreme calorie restriction when Jennette first started to show signs of puberty). It’s a miracle that Jennette has survived to tell her story, and I’m so glad she is sharing it in her own voice.
Though her tale improves and it seems Jennette is in a better place now (thanks to a great deal of hard work and therapy on her part), I cannot help but be left with a feeling of impotent rage for all that she had to endure. I will never think of a child star the same way.
Overall, 5 puke-toilet-paper-dingleberries out of 5, but be forewarned: this one is not for the faint-hearted.