Nibbles & Bits, Vol. 7
I read it and I'm not sure I liked it, but is it worthwhile to read? For many, yes.
I’m back home from several days in Southern California, and feeling rested. It was a fun and not overly scheduled trip, a welcome relief. I had a great time with my family, we did a few fun touristy things, and I finished a couple of books; all in all, this vacation was exactly what I needed. I have newfound clarity on several things that have been on my mind lately, friendship being at the top of that list, and a plan of action moving forward. Enough with the introspection; let’s talk about books.
I struggled with writing about this book because I can’t really say I liked it. It’s getting a lot of buzz in the media, but I’m not in the ideal age group for it. It was like watching a train wreck; you hated to see what was getting ready to happen, but you couldn’t turn your eyes away. I knew of the story and the ending, but I was unaware of all of the details in the middle. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy is the book in question. I wasn’t sure if the title meant that the mother had been sick for a long time and the daughter was glad that she was no longer in any pain or if the daughter was glad her mother was dead and gone because she was a truly horrible mother. Maybe it was either, both, something in between, or all of the above. I believe the case is made for all these possibilities.
I knew of McCurdy through her TV show iCarly, as my grandkids watched it several years ago. Other than that, I knew nothing about the actors on the show or their personal lives, but this book is very revealing about the “bad” in the TV industry where children are concerned. The Jackie Coogan law sets out to protect 15% of a child actor’s gross earnings that neither the child nor the parents can touch to avoid what happened to child actor Jackie Coogan when he discovered in 1938 that his estimated $4 million of earnings as a child had been spent by his parents.
Unfortunately, no specific TV law or regulation protects a child’s physical and mental well-being. This memoir is a testament to how detrimental a bad parent can be to a child. Is this a memoir that most people would enjoy? Probably not. Is it a book that would be helpful to read? Yes, if you have a teen or young adult in your life or if you are a teen or a young adult as it addresses eating disorders and parental manipulation over a child, which can happen for various reasons; in this case, it happened because of money and control and dealt with the ramifications of those. It deals with a parent’s self-gratification and obsessive control in making their child a star when they just want to be a child. It tugs at your heart to read about an emotionally absent father and the trauma of how that plays out at home. It sheds light on eating disorders and the fallout (literally) from those disorders. It breaks your heart knowing that this child didn’t have the opportunity for a normal childhood, but it gives you hope to see McCurdy struggling to come out alive with renewed hope for the future.
At this point, I usually tell you how much I enjoyed the book and why I think you should read it, but I’m at a loss for any more words about this book. Memoirs similar to this are hard to read, and I struggle to recommend such a book. According to McCurdy’s website, she does have a novel coming out in 2024, so maybe that will be more to my liking. I guess I’ll leave it at that, along with a few links to interviews if you would like to learn more in advance of reading the book yourself:
A Guardian interview article goes into much more detail than I did above about the abuse, what it’s like to be a child in the TV industry, and so much more. There are many spoiler details here, so if you want surprises, don’t read this article before reading the book.
This Today interview with McCurdy discusses her memoir and how she never expected it to connect with so many people.
A Back from the Borderline podcast episode where she discusses her book. This link will also provide trigger and content warnings to help you decide whether to read the book, as I only offered a few warnings above.
If you are a Jeopardy fan, no one can replace Alex Trebek, but Ken Jennings is the best thing to happen to Jeopardy since Trebek passed away in late 2020. I loved this article about his time on Jeopardy as a contestant and now as one of its hosts (gift link).
I’m not a fan of her books, but Colleen Hoover doesn’t need my fandom; she has millions of other fans that adore her. Love her books or not, she has provided many in-demand books for her readers, and her bookstore in east Texas funds her non-profit mission in her local community (gift link).
This is an interesting and thought-provoking read on Southern Fiction authors and why most scholars don’t understand these authors or the fiction they write. Be sure to read to the end for a list of southern states and the famous southern writers from each of those states.
Is your personal library just a random collection of books taking up physical space in your home, or is there some underlying method to the madness? This article looks at several ways to nurture a personal book collection to provide order and meaning to the haphazard and unordered.
I’m starting to see many bookish gift guides in newsletters that I subscribe to and in my social media feeds. I enjoy all the unique ideas and creations available to readers and book lovers. I don’t have the research time to put one together for my newsletter, but I have time to share links to gifts. Between now and Christmas, in each newsletter, I’ll share one or two or more links to some bookish gifts I’ve discovered that the readers in your life might enjoy.
If the book lover in your life is a part of a book club or has bookish get-togethers, here are some wine glass charms to add ambiance to the event. These can be used for any bookish get-together, and these can be customized with specific book club member names.
Give the gift of a reading or listening subscription to the book lover in your life. Libro.fm is an audiobook subscription service that benefits an independent bookstore of your choice, and Scribd offers unlimited (with exceptions) ebooks, audiobooks, and more for one monthly price. You own the audiobook when purchased through Libro.fm, but you only borrow the ebooks or audiobooks from Scribd.
Have you read McCurdy’s book yet? I’d love to know if you liked it and your thoughts about it. Do you have any bookish gift recommendations that are so good that you recommend them over and over? I’d love to know more about both of these; you can tell me in the comments below.
I’ve got a busy week at work, and then I’m taking most of Thanksgiving week off work. I hope to use that time to get a few newsletters written ahead as I’m swamped at work during December and don’t always feel like writing on the weekend. I hope this week is a good one for you and that you accomplish any goals you have set for yourself. Happy reading!
Some of the links in this newsletter may be affiliate links. That means that if you click through and purchase anything, I may earn a small commission. This costs you nothing and helps me feed my voracious reading habit, and for that, I thank you.