‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’ by Jennette McCurdy


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first learned of this sensationally titled book with the pinky perky cover photo of the author from the New York Times Book Review, I knew I had to read it because of its boldness and frankness that I believe would strike the chords of many who must have felt or wished it (let’s be honest). However, it was more like seeking a kindred spirit in such a titled book because I felt exhilarated with camaraderie and, once exonerated from such membership, a desire to revolt against mothers.


But the book isn’t an angst-ridden, hate-filled, violence-saturated memoir nowadays in-vogue among celebrities who live to tell their dark life histories. Although it isn’t precisely wholesomely hall-mark like loving family history, it is worth pointing out the moments of love and warmth that childhood memories sometimes invoke because we thrive as human beings on those memories. McCurdy’s mother may not have been perfect, but who is an ideal mother anyway? The Bard once said that look not with the eye but with the mind. She was the one who saw talents in her daughter, encouraged them, and made them blossom into a pink dandelion when many parents either ignore or overlook the bests of their children for their future. Although I can understand McCurdy’s disaffection with her passionate mother controlling her life, I am envious of having such a mother who was willing to sacrifice her hard labor for her daughter’s success.


The cover photo is puzzling. The author has a smile but not smiling, or instead trying to smile but is subdued as if her emotions are changing instantly or frozen in the moments between joy and sadness, independence and confusion in the transition of belonging to freedom. I can’t honestly fathom what the author thinks inside, but one thing is certain she loves her mother, who is now unburdened with the cares and pain of the world. Perhaps, that is why she is glad her mother died.



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Once More unto the Breach! Here comes my New Year’s Resolution

Once More unto another year, once more!

As the first day of the new year has almost ended, I feel the urge akin to duty to make a new year’s resolution. There’s not much but high hopes for low heaven, with a reasonable scope of expectation and humble measurement of happiness. And since none other writers know about the depth and breadth of humanity than Shakespeare, I deem it fit to match his quotes with the contexts of what I have resolved to make this year of Rabbit fruitful and blissful.

  1. Be Not Afraid of Challenges
    ‘This is a step on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap. For in my way it lies.’ – Macbeth
  2. Don’t be easily crestfallen
    ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’ – Hamlet
  3. Read More, Write More, No Matter What
    ‘We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.’ – Hamlet
  4. Keep it simple with humor
    ‘I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.’ – Much Ado About Nothing
  5. Let not a curse be my light purse
    ‘I say, put money in thy purse.’ – Othello
  6. Be vigilant at all times
    ‘Love all, do wrong to none, trust a few.’ – All’s well that Ends Well.
  7. Overcome existential malaise
    ‘Then I defy you, stars!’ – Romeo and Juliet

Nobody says life is easy, and we know it to the point that such a saying has become a cliche. But life itself shouldn’t be and is not because we are such stuff made of spirit, fire, and dew, harvesting sunlight and starlight. Now that I have listed my New Year’s resolutions as above, I feel fresh of spirit charged with new energy like the Energizer bunny to keep going in my life, even if perils will lie ahead. But in the meantime, let me be that I am who I am as I write this post in my tiny room with my two cats, Toro and Camille, and seek not to alter this moment of simple pleasure.

The Pope and the Heretic by Michael White

I first learned about Giordano Bruno through a tweeter thread about Shakespeare discussing his one of many influences, including this Don Quixote-like miscreant Dominican priest who wrote The Art of Memories, the subject I was and still am keen on to improve my regressing memory. Since then, Bruno has resided in my memory chamber as an enigmatic pariah, a formidable rebel without compromise. So when I came across this book by Michael White, a former member of the 80s pop group Thompson Twins, I knew I had to read it.

White describes Bruno as a martyr of enlightenment, thinking ahead of his time. Unfortunately, Bruno was born into the wrong place at the wrong time, so he suffered from the Catholic Church’s authoritarian rule that dominated the World’s knowledge. However, Bruno’s theory that Jesus was preternaturally a superb magician and therefore not the Son of God, not to mention that the Holy Ghost was the spirit of the World and that Satan would be saved, was sufficient to raise the eyebrows of the ecclesiastical figures. Also, he opined that the stars seen in night skies were actually suns and that there were other worlds in the universe where living beings like humans existed. I speculate such an opinion might have influenced a modern-day belief that we are not alone in this universe because there are extraterrestrial beings. All these ideas were indeed revolutionary. But unlike Galileo, who was said to murmur, “Still, the earth circles round the sun” after he was acquitted of heresy, Bruno was stubborn in his ideas. He proudly defied the Church’s intention to pardon him if he would recant before the death sentence. In his excellent lyrical portrayal of the dramatic confrontation, White sees it as the microscopic representation of the conflict between religion and philosophy, myth and truth, superstition and science.

Notwithstanding White’s admirable wealth of knowledge used in defense of Bruno, I cannot help but think that White’s stance on Bruno overlooks or connives at some facts. The Catholic Church put him at stake on account of his theological errors, deemed dangerous to the spiritual formation of the Church and the Faithful as a priest to the Church. Bruno was not a willing martyr of his ideas but a Simon Magus-like figure trying to trade his knowledge for recognition in the arms of different sects of Christianity, such as Calvinism, Lutheranism, and Episcopalianism, across Europe.

It’s an irony that rather than the man written about, the man writing about him turns out to be a genius in writing. Perhaps White, a former musician, attributes this to his lyrical rhythm of narration drawn from his emulous erudition. Moreover, he writes the language of the general reader in the panoply of academic disciplines, and the reader will find no time for disorientation or disinterest. This book carries a tone of what the Italian anti-Catholic activists campaigned against the Church, with Bruno as the symbol of persecution against what they believed in. Nevertheless, it is worth reading it if you are a proponent of Giordanism or just a curious bystander like me.