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

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

In these candidly witty and poignant essays, comedienne and writer Julia Sweeney muses on the complex blessings of motherhood: deciding to adopt her daughter, a Chinese girl named Mulan (“After the movie?”); nannies (including the Chinese Pat); being adopted by a dog; 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. 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.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451674057 | 
  • April 2014
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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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If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother Prologue
I want to be alone. I really need to be alone.

I took so long to assemble my lovely family. I did it all a bit backward: first a delightful daughter, then a beloved husband. I went after creating family, like a golden retriever running after a ball—how much does the dog think about what he’s doing? He doesn’t think. He does. He is a doer. That’s me, too. I did it, I do it. I am doing it.

Every morning I get up and hustle.... see more
If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother CHAPTER ONE If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother
Because the pillow that I dream on [is] a threshold of a world I can’t ignore.

—Silver Jews, “My Pillow Is the Threshold”

First things first: Let me bring you in the house, which, you may notice, is quite old by American standards. It’s located in Wilmette, Illinois. It has a history, this house. It used to be the Village Hall and was originally built in 1878.... see more

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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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