What We’re Reading Wednesday, September 21st

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Happy Wednesday, book friends! I can hardly believe we’re so close to the end of September, but then again, the first month of the fall semester always goes by in a flash.

My intro to writing students have submitted their rough drafts, and a good amount of my reading energy this week will go into reading and providing feedback for those.

In non-bookish news, the latest season of Great British Bake Off has begun, which means the third annual GBBO Fantasy League has commenced. We drafted our teams of bakers on Friday and watched the first episode. I feel confident in my first pick, but the rest of the team is a bit of a mixed bag thus far.

Plenty of reading updates this week as I’m back on my audiobook game and in a good routine of morning and evening reading (most of the time). Let’s dig in.

(Full disclosure(s): This post uses Bookshop.org affiliate links. Titles marked with an asterisk were recieved as complimentary review copies).


Recent Reads

I’ve already finished Jeanette McCurdy’s memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died and I have to say, I get the hype. I was a little skeptical initially, wondering if the attention-grabbing title coupled with McCurdy’s fame was responsible for the buzz. But no, this woman has some serious writing chops.

She doesn’t pull punches, and there are a lot of grim, stark depictions of her childhood and her eating disorder that can be uncomfortable to confront. This is a big “check the content warnings” title, but it is truly a powerfully written memoir. My mini review went up earlier this week, here: Mini Review: I’m Glad My Mom Died

I also finished The Family Compound, which I really enjoyed as well. Liz Parker has won me over on the family drama with multiple perspectives. My full review went up late last week, and you can check it out by clicking the thing: Secrets and Lies Abound in “The Family Compound“.


Current Reads

Next up on audio, I’m finally reading essayist Samantha Irby, whose work has been recommended to me numerous times. I’m starting with her essay collection Wow, No Thank You, which is narrated by the author. I’m 17% of the way in and can definitively say that the people who kept saying I needed to read Irby were right. I love a good funny cultural essay, and this book is chock full of them, including a spectalar take on what it’s like to try and enjoy a night out when you’re in your 30s.

In print, I’m finally on to Kerry Winfrey’s latest, Just Another Love Song. As far as second chance romances go, this one has a plausible reason for the breakup that lets me forgive both characters with ease. That’s my pre-requisite for buying in, so I’m enjoying it well enough so far. As always, Winfrey goes hard on the Ohio references, which the Ohio girl in me loves. There’s a whole Ohio themed inn, which is just the cherry on top of the small town vibes in my opinion.


Up Next & On to You

Most likely it’ll be Witchtober by the time I’m picking up something new to read, which means I’ll be tackling my witchy stack. I’m planning to buddy read From Bad to Cursed, so I’ll start that when my friend is ready. We haven’t determined a date yet because, well… adulthood. That means I just have to decide which book to read first this month if she’s still waiting on the library copy to come in. Decisions, decisions.

What about you, book friends? Are you leaning into the Fall vibes (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere)? Or clinging to the last hints of summer?


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Mini Review: I’m Glad My Mom Died

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Format Read: Audiobook

The word “unflinching” is, in my opinion, over-applied to the memoir. Being honest about one’s life is apparently so unusual that one must be unflinching to do so. And yet, I can’t help but feel tempted to call I’m Glad My Mom Died an unflinching excavation of McCurdy’s difficult childhood as an actor who didn’t want to be one.

McCurdy’s writing style is blunt and to the point. She doesn’t shy away from the unglamorous reality of the life she has lived. I appreciated this frankness but do think it could be difficult for some, particularly those who are sensitive to depictions of eating disorders and abuse/manipulation by a parent.

This memoir delivers a little bit of the juicy behind-the-scenes stuff one expects from a celebrity memoir, but it is first and foremost a deep dive into McCurdy’s mental health struggles and the road to accepting her mom’s contributing role in fostering those struggles. It doesn’t pull punches. It showcases McCurdy’s writing chops, her ability to capture her point of view across various stages of life.

In my opinion, this book deserves every bit of the hype it’s getting. That said, it’s not a fluffy or cute memoir about being a child star. It’s a difficult and painful book to read. But it’s worth it.