Misery memoirs are still going strong with another couple of nightmare childhoods being laid bare.
Jeannette McCurdy, teen star of “iCarly”, was a poster child for children’s TV, seen weekly by millions, her face on Hollywood billboards, T shirts and party balloons, every little princess’s dream but it was all a gigantic lie. Her super-controlling, failed actress stage-mother dominated her every waking moment, made all her decisions for her, tried to push her into anorexia to delay puberty and when she finally started to break free trashed her to her fans on social media. Only after her mother died of cancer did she fully face the abuse that had destroyed her childhood. Hence her memoir, titled “I’m Glad My Mom Died” which according to reviews is sharply funny and empathetic.
A decade of therapy has seen her pull back from eating disorders and alcohol abuse and into a stable relationship. She has directed a few short films; has a book of essays and at least one novel in the works; and may venture back into acting.
She was born 26 June 1992 10.36pm Garden Grove, California and has an entertaining Sun Venus in Cancer conjunct her South Node in her entertaining 5th house which will radiate sunshine when she’s in front of an audience. Behind the facade, however, she has a Taurus Moon opposite a possessive Pluto and in a bleak square to Saturn in Aquarius – and that is one cold, controlling and destructive mother. She also has an Earth Grand Trine involving Jupiter which would be her saving grace with Jupiter in her 7th house of relationships trine Mars in determined Taurus trine Uranus Neptune in Capricorn. It will help her build a secure life for herself.
Her mother Debra McCurdy, 17 July 1957, was a Sun Cancer square Neptune; with an attention-seeking Mars Venus in Leo opposition Jeanette’s Saturn and square her Moon and Pluto – so an aggravated interface. Her disciplinarian Saturn fell in Jeanette’s 10th house of career. The worst kind of Cancerian mother.
Their relationship chart had a central Saturn square Pluto tied into the Sun – so again that cold, dominating chemistry.
The other memoir is writer Kit de Waal’s Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood about growing up in an Irish-Caribbean family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She was one of five children caught between a sullen Caribbean father and an energetic but erratic Irish-British mother in Birmingham in the Sixties and Seventies with both grandparents opposed to the match. The religious fervour added another layer of strain. “Three times a week I am reminded that the world will end and I will die.”
The Bible was the only book allowed which makes her subsequent career all the more laudable and surprising. She is the author of two highly acclaimed novels, My Name Is Leon, shortlisted for the Costa prize, and The Trick to Time, longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and two collections of short stories. Having escaped the rigours of her childhood she got in with a bad crowd and nearly went under. But managed to climb over the challenges and got her life together.
Reviews suggest it is moving and heart-warming, so not all doom and gloom.
She was born 26 July 1960 in Birmingham, no time, with a Leo Sun and Venus. Like Jeannette McCurdy she has Mars in determined Taurus, in her case conjunct Algol, and square Uranus.
Algol, planet of Medusa, is infamous for being destructive but it can have another purpose which is to force us to face suffering and horror and not brush it aside. When Algol’s death-dealing capabilities are quelled it produces a surge of imaginative power which allows ugliness to be faced without being destroyed by it. In the myth after Medusa is beheaded, Pegasus, the winged horse of creativity springs forth. Makes sense she’d be a writer.
Her Moon is probably conjunct Pluto in Virgo and probably trine Saturn – not quite as bleak as Jeanette McCurdy’s but not a warm and comforting childhood.
What would be her saving grace is a super-confident Jupiter in optimistic Sagittarius on the focal point of a Yod to Mars and Algol sextile Mercury – it would sustain her through dark moments with the thought there was bound to be better round the next corner.
Moon Pluto seems to be a recurring theme with disastrous mothers, with Anne Heche as well (below). In shorthand I tend to describe it as a possessive mother but that can sound emotionally close. In reality a Moon Pluto mother can be smothering, suffocating, death-dealing.
Maybe better rename misery memoirs as redemptive remembrances.