Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother” as Want to Read:
If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,263 ratings  ·  232 reviews
Julia Sweeney, the delightful former cast member of Saturday Night Live, takes readers into the depths of her family in this hilarious and unique parenting book.Since her time on Saturday Night Live, where she created the infamous androgynous character “Pat, Julia Sweeney has gone on to establish herself as a witty, captivating performer of one-woman shows, like God Said ...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Simon Schuster
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,263 ratings  ·  232 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
First, I would like to say thank you to the author and to Goodreads for my A.R.C. edition of "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother" which I received through the Goodreads First-Reads giveaways.

I must say I had no idea what to expect when I picked up "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother" and had decided to begin reading it (was even preparing myself to be highly bored and disappointed). Goodness was I in for a big surprise! I absolutely loved it! Not only because it is nothing like anythin
Jun 10, 2013 rated it liked it
(Author is the “It’s Pat” androgynous character from SNL.) I picked up this book b/c I heard Scott Simon (father of two adopted girls form China) interview her on NPR one Saturday morning and I learned it was about her 12-year-old daughter from China. It was funny and entertaining, and a lot of things about her experience becoming an adoptive mother struck a familiar chord in me ( am also a mom by adoption). Furthermore, I identified with her Irish-Catholic upbringing as the oldest daughter in a ...more
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comedy, library, memoirs
I wanted to like this a lot. I've always enjoyed Julia Sweeney's work on SNL and thought this would be right up my alley.
But the whole thing felt a bit disconnected, even worse considering that it's set up as if it was all written within a month or so, rather than a collection of essays published elsewhere and gathered for this book.

There were a couple of really jarring inclusions, like the quasi-interview with her mother-in-law about abortion. I didn't have a problem with the story, it was actu
Mar 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I won this book in a GoodReads First Reads giveaway*

First off to be fair, I'd say this book was more like 3.5 stars. It was good, but not great. Sweeney does a great job in making her writing seem conversational and I thought the way she referred to all her ex-boyfriends as Joe 1 through 12 (give or take a few) was hysterical. That being said there were certain things she wrote about that I found irritating and judgmental (as I sit here and judge her judgments). Overall though, it was a quick p
Ashlee Tominey
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Sweeney's take on motherhood and family coupled with humor yet a fair amount of poignancy.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It didn't take long to read "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother." Sweeney has an easy, conversational way of writing. It feels like sitting down for coffee with an interesting person, listening to them share all of their best stories. I could relate to her struggles to become a mother, and to a lot of the changes in thinking she experienced after becoming a mother: seeing our culture differently, wanting to be fully present to her daughter.

I have to admit, I was slightly irritated by the ch
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
At times I thought I would assign this book five stars. At other times four, and three. So I finally settled on two stars. It lacked continuity and I had a hard time discerning just where the author wanted to go with her stories. I expected that a book written by "Pat" from Saturday Night Live would be funnier, but I appreciated that it was funny, deep, and poignant at times. A few chapters in particular were jarringly out of place, however. The subject matter (abortion, for example) may be impo ...more
Jennifer Gibbons
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was lucky to get this through NetGalley, and enjoyed it. Julia Sweeney gets a gift from Heaven: A month off from her husband and preteen daughter. She loves them, but a month to write? Heaven! It picks up where God Says Ha left off: the relationship with "Carl" ends; she ends up going to China and adopting; meeting a new man and moving to a new state; and finding out that motherhood is an adventure, yet a worthwhile one. The most moving parts of the new memoir is the the death of a brother and ...more
Stacey Schubert
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I really liked this book (3 from me = really like!) but it isn't something that's going to stick with me in the long run. I enjoyed the voice, and I laughed out loud a lot, but ultimately I couldn't relate to Julia Sweeney. Although I am also single in middle age, I guess that's where the similarities end and I could not connect with her experience. Definitely not universal! I was especially agog at her child rearing story. I kept thinking how damn easy she had it, and how there would be no stor ...more
Of her three books, I think I liked this one best, and would suggest starting here if you've never read any of them.

Sweeney's strength is that, though she's been a Hollywood success, she's someone who's easy to identify with - I'm not a child person at all, finding her story of deciding to adopt, going through the process, raising a Chinese child, and then having to work at forming a family after later marrying. I will say I was tempted to believe that she exaggerated some of Mulan's scenes, but
Tracy Miller
Apr 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014, nonfiction
I picked up this book to read on a pleasant day, sitting outside. I should have been doing about 50 different things, but I like Julia Sweeney and I just wanted to read and enjoy the day. Instead, I ended up annoyed - annoyed that these random thoughts, with no craftmanship or editing, were packaged into a book and sold. Annoyed that, by my reading, I was telling Julia Sweeney that it was ok to slap together a book of random thoughts, that people will buy it. Annoyed that Julia Sweeney doesn't h ...more
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, non-fiction, memoir
I have seen a couple of Julia Sweeney's specials on cable and found her very amusing. This book is part memoir, part humor. some of the book has some more serious chapters such as the death of her brother.she gives tidbits of her life. she adopted a girl from China who was almost 13 now as of the writing of this book. Julia Sweeney wrote about motherhood with her daughter "Mulan" such as preschool, grammar school. and just raising a kid in general. one chapter was about her former boyfriends tha ...more
Jenni V.
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars. Julia is a natural storyteller, and this book was an absolute delight to read. I would describe this book as deeply funny - the perfect blend of depth and humor. Although her stories were light enough to read quickly (and I did; this book was completed in one sitting), they were also revealing, personal, and touching. Highly recommended.

Note: I would like to thank NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read this book.
Ayelet Waldman
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious. I want her to be my BFF.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great book. Very funny.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks

Julia Sweeney, the delightful former cast member of Saturday Night Live, takes readers into the depths of her family in this hilarious and unique parenting book.Since her time on Saturday Night Live, where she created the infamous androgynous character “Pat,” Julia Sweeney has gone on to establish herself as a witty, captivating performer of one-woman shows, like God Said Ha!, In the Family Way, and Letting Go of God. She gave a TED talk sharing how she explained the birds and the bees t
Bhavna Kapoor
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
I have mixed feelings about this book. Each chapter deals with a particular aspect of her personal life and is a story unto itself. Some of these stories were heartfelt, extremely relatable and with her characteristic style of humour. Then there were those which were just there and did not really capture my attention.

In her prologue she summarises her journey as a mother, how she loves more than anything else despite her wish that her family would disappear. The joy and the frustrations are true
Anthony Colozza
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The book is Ok, it had its moments. But in general it's just not that interesting. It gets a little preachy at times but there are also times when her sense of humor comes through making some segments are fun and lighthearted. The biggest issue I had with the book was that at times you start to question if the events being described actually did occur as presented. Usually I give the author the benefit of the doubt and really don't question the truthfulness of what is written, especially in a me ...more
Jamie Casey
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Schlatter
In my next life, can I please be related to Julia Sweeney in her own next life?? She's so freaking funny, relatable, flawed, and insightful. This collection of musings are framed by 4 summer weeks in which her husband and daughter were out of town. So the reader can imagine Sweeney pondering her life, being a mom, being a wife, being a sister and daughter, and just being. And she shares delightful nuggets like this...

"There should be a Food Network show just for people who've gone through excruc
This was actually a 4 star read for me. So why did I give it 3 stars? Because it is probably a 3 star read for you. I'll explain.

This book is really funny and relatable if you:
have adopted a child (check)
from another country (check)
while single (check)
and have or will soon have to explain sex to a pre-teen girl (check)
and are mortified about doing so (check)

See? Those are all really funny to me. But if you haven't done those things, this might be a pretty dry read. Julia Sweeny (of SNL's "Pat" f
Caleb Hoyer
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m a big fan of Julia Sweeney’s work. Her monologue "God Said Ha" is a terrific blend of humor and heart, and "Letting Go Of God" is one of my favorite pieces of writing in any format or genre ever. This book of essays about the formation of her family, from adoption to marriage to moving to the suburbs, is another great blend of humor and insightful intelligence, with a big dose of heart that somehow never veers into overly sentimental. Five stars may be generous, but her writing feels like a ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've listened to this audiobook about five times and I can't gush enough about it. I adore Julia Sweeney, so much so that my iPhone suggested those words; I didn't even type them. I'm a fan of all of Julia's work, including Letting Go of God and Go Said Ha!, but this is my favorite. So funny, so cute, so...GREAT (don't judge me, I'm not the writer here). It's comforting to know that people like Julia are out there.

Definitely listen to the audiobook. She reads it herself (and did I mention she's
Kristen Grennan
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought it was really funny, but it looks like not that many people got the hunor. It was a quick read, and nice and light--perfect for what I was looking for. I was cracking up on the subway while reading, so I'm quite happy with it. I like the cover too, I thought that was a well-done tie in to the story. I actually had really low expectations and this way exceeded it. I'd recommend it for this summer!
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting, memoir
A bit like Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me? in that the best essays were already published online. You should definitely read those, but otherwise, the book itself was one of those celebrity memoirs that has a little too much about the "present" time when the essays were being written.

I remembered Sweeney from her WTF episode, and I thought this would talk about SNL a bit, but nope, I guess I got all of it in the podcast. It's mostly about adoption and parenting, which, okay, was still alien and informative for me, specially when it's about adopting a child with a different background.

As much as I have enjoyed Sweeney's other work, this one left me flat. It is decidedly aimed at moms, or at least women, or maybe parents in general, but I don't believe most men would find it nearly as enjoyable. She does make some interesting observations and offers a couple of amusing stories, but overall it was not that interesting to me.
Kandi Lopez
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
While browsing at the library this week I came across this book and decided to give it a try. This book is written by Veteran SNL comedian Julia Sweeney, many may know her from her alter personality Pat. This book had me laughing in some parts and gave me a lot of insight into her personal life.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • No Happy Endings
  • New Year, Same Trash: Resolutions I Absolutely Did Not Keep (A Vintage Short Original)
  • Mycroft and Sherlock
  • Wolf's Bane (Otherworld: Kate and Logan, #1)
  • Dead Over Heels (Aurora Teagarden, #5)
  • Darkwood
  • Naked Came the Stranger
  • Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
  • Abandon Me: Memoirs
  • Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life
  • Spying on the South: Travels with Frederick Law Olmsted in a Fractured Land
  • Sabbath's Theater
  • The Heart of Change Field Guide: Tools And Tactics for Leading Change in Your Organization
  • It's Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too)
  • Finding Tess: A Mother's Search for Answers in a Dopesick America
  • Alone in the Wild (Rockton, #5)
  • An Act of God
See similar books…
Julia Sweeney is an American actress, comedian and author best known for her Saturday Night Live career and autobiographical solo shows.

Related Articles

Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman know the radical life-changing power of a good friendship. The two launched their hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend ...
0 likes · 0 comments
“I learned that being a mother takes a lot of energy.” 1 likes
More quotes…