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

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  845 ratings  ·  185 reviews
"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 l
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Audio CD, 7 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Simon & Schuster Audio
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Rachel
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
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Thomas Pinkerton
Okay, so, to begin with, a confession.

I never watched SNL. Not really. Just segments here and there, and Julia was definitely on it before I was old enough to appreciate it. But knowing she was a cast member during the 90s (when SNL was still really highly regarded, pretty universally), meant I was willing to take a chance with this book.

Holy crap. I am so glad I did.

It took me so long to review it, because I'd honestly shelved it. I'd started on a project for my former grad school reviewing thi
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Ana
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
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Agatha
(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
Kenzee
*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
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paula
This sure didn't do it for me. It wasn't funny or interesting, and I could only get halfway through it. I get that it was an adventure to adopt her daughter, but other than that, Sweeney's life is just not that interesting, while she is seemingly under the impression that everything she does and thinks is just fascinating. I also really tired about reading of the string of "Joes" that she had no problem letting her daughter get familiar with and attached to.
Monika
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
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Ruth
This book was mildly amusing, but overall pretty weak.

If you can get by the stupid title, you might enjoy the gentle array of essays, about, of course, being a mother. To Ms. Sweeney’s credit, she is not the least bit braggy about her child, and she seems to be a pretty cool mother.

She does have some idiotic points of view (as most parents seem to), such as not telling her kid about Santa. When her girl is about four, Ms. Sweeney figures why be such a downer, and decides to do Xmas. Funnily, t
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Tracy
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
John
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
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Jennifer Gibbons
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
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
Lori
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.
http://readingatrandom.blogspot.com/2...

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.
Carrie Ardoin
I was very much looking forward to reading a memoir by a former cast member of Saturday Night Live. I figured if the stories weren't very interesting, at least they would be funny. It turns out I was not correct on either assumption: the stories Julia Sweeney tells in this book are barely interesting, and not funny at all.

As the book begins, Julia explains the format. Her tales are divided into four sections, which correspond with four weeks during which Julia is alone, her husband and daughter
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Dianna
I really, really wanted to give this book a 5-star rating. Julia Sweeney is funny, smart, and until the chapters on abortion and her nemesis, I wanted her to be my new best friend. The chapter on abortion left me cold, seriously angry, and I almost didn't finish the book. As I was reading it, I literally yelled out loud, "You are so selfish!" And maybe that's not fair, but it's how I felt. I miscarried a child and believe that each pregnancy is a gift, a promise of a life, and I cannot even begi ...more
Sarah
This audiobook was so bad. Just.... painfully bad.

My judgement of it was very much colored by two books I've read in the past about international adoption, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce and Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption edited by Jane Jeong Trenka and Julia Chinyere Oparah.

Watching Sweeney bumble with the exact white privilege that these two other books document as being harmful to internationally adopted children w
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Ayelet Waldman
Hilarious. I want her to be my BFF.
Jennifer
Great book. Very funny.
Barb
I read this book because it is our Book Club's selection this month. I was looking forward to reading it. I enjoy autobiographies. I enjoy the stories behind the faces that we ordinarily just see in public. I like the connections that I usually feel to the authors.

Somehow I just didn't feel any kind of connection here. Maybe it's because I expected it to be somewhat like Erma Bombeck's books when the book first began, after all, Julia Sweeney is a comedian. Whatever the reason, I did plug along
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Meg
Hmm. I enjoyed this book quite a bit but found it wildly erratic in tone, style, and content. The tone ranged from serious and emotional to straight narrative/ informative to extremely funny. In theory this seems kind of cool to me - after all, that's how life is, right? - but in practice it just felt confusing. There were some hilarious pieces about parenting (the "birds and the bees" part still made me laugh hysterically despite having watched the video of Sweeney reading it a gazillion times) ...more
Shani
I always loved Julia Sweeny’s character on SNL (Pat!) so when I read that she had a book, with a hilarious title, I was hooked. I was surprised to find something that was so emotional! The book traces four weeks in her life as she writes her book about her life, from adopting her daughter Mulan, to serial dating that eventually lead to marrying her husband Michael, to raising her daughter and losing a brother. Her writing was sharp, thoughtful, and witty.

“My rage bubbled up recently…a mother wi
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Karen
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
Carin
Julia Sweeney, while one of the funniest cast members ever of SNL in my opinion, always struck me as deeper and more real than some of her fellow funny-men. I particularly was intrigued by her guest star role on an episode of Sex and the City where she played a nun with cancer, who was sitting next to Samantha at a doctor's office day after day, trying to get in to see a superb specialist. I'd heard that her monologues were great and wished I lived in a city where I could go see them. She was al ...more
The Reading Countess
I enjoyed the conversational tone of Julia Sweeney's memoir. Assuming a "girlfriend-like" voice kept the flow moving and easy to read. Memoir is a particular favorite of mine, and this one didn't disappoint. At times funny, at times poignant, I walked away from IF It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother with a deeper appreciation for life...and isn't that the point of a well-written memoir?

In particular, I admired how Julia decided to adopt a child as a single woman after being unable to bear one o
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Stephanie (the nerdy princess)
I got a copy of this book from the goodreads first-reads giveaways!

I was very excited when my copy of the book came. I could not wait to get started! I love funny memoir's especially from an SNL actor….! This book was like Tina Fey's book bossy pants but BETTER!
It was fun, easy, enjoyable read about Ms. Sweeney's life. Her story was wonderful, I felt like I was sitting next to her while she was telling me about her family, her life. I would get so wrapped up in this book that I would have to rem
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Barbara Bryant
I shouldn't give this 3 stars as it gave me about 2 stars worth of pleasure through a lot of it, but like some other things I've read lately, I enjoyed it more as I went along. Julia Sweeney, who I really didn't know anything about, has worked on SNL, is a writer and comedian, does voice-over acting and many other things.

This is a sort of memoir, largely connected to the adoption of a Chinese toddler as a single woman. The adoption process was interesting, and her descriptions of parenting are
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Jane
I got this book as a Mother's Day gift, and it does seem to be the perfect read for contemporary parents. This is mostly about parenting -- Sweeney has one daughter, called Mulan, whom she adopted from China when the girl was 17 months old -- yet also about family in general.

The conceit of the book is that her daughter and her husband, whom she met, in a very funny way, after she had already adopted Mulan, are away for a month, and Sweeney has all the time to herself. So, she writes. The autobio
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Lenny Husen
This is probably a 3.25 but I rounded down, just because I was so bored. There are a couple of poignant parts, such as the part her mother-in-law contributed, and a death in Julia's family, but other than that, it was dull. Julia comes across as extremely like-able but extremely self-aborbed. And I'm sorry, but Mulan is insufferable. She comes across as bright and very spoiled. And while Julia is not "braggy" overtly there was a lot of self-satisfaction and a benign, sweet narcissism in her essa ...more
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Julia Sweeney is an American actress, comedian and author best known for her Saturday Night Live career and autobiographical solo shows.
More about Julia Sweeney...
Letting Go of God God Said, "Ha!" It's Pat: My Life Exposed an Official Saturday Night Live Book My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story: A Memoir Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today's Pop Mysticisms

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