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If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother

If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother

“I took so long to assemble my lovely family. If only they would disappear.”

While Julia Sweeney is known as a talented comedienne and writer and performer of her one-woman shows, she is also a talented essayist. Happily for us, the past few years have provided her with some rich material. Julia adopted a Chinese girl named Mulan (“After the movie?”) and then, a few years later, married and moved from Los Angeles to Chicago. She writes about deciding to adopt her child, strollers, nannies (including the Chinese Pat), knitting, being adopted by a dog, The Food Network, and meeting Mr. Right through an email from a complete stranger who wrote, “Desperately Seeking Sweeney-in-Law.” She recounts how she explained the facts of life to nine-year-old Mulan, a story that became a wildly popular TED talk and YouTube video.

Some of the essays reveal Julia’s ability to find that essential thread of human connection, whether it’s with her mother-in-law, who candidly reveals a story that most people would keep a secret, or with an anonymous customer service rep during a late-night phone call. But no matter what the topic, Julia always writes with elegant precision, pinning her jokes with razor-sharp observations while articulating feelings that we all share.

Poignant, provocative, and wise, this is a funny, and at times powerful, memoir by a woman living her life with originality and intelligence.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451674040 | 
  • April 2013
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Julia Sweeney on Motherhood

Julia Sweeney, the brilliant former cast member of SNL, writes as only she can on modern family.

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About the Author

Julia Sweeney
Photograph by Lauren Topel

Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney was a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1994. She has also written and performed in several successful, critically acclaimed one-woman shows, including God Said Ha!,which played on Broadway and was made into a film; In the Family Way, which appeared Off Broadway; and Letting Go of God, which was performed Off Broadway and made into a film. She lives outside of Chicago.

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