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God Said, Ha!: A Memoir
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God Said, Ha!: A Memoir

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  442 ratings  ·  45 reviews
1995 was, for Julia Sweeney, a truly horrible year. She got a divorce (amicable), bought a small bungalow in Hollywood, and looked forward to a life that said, "Here dwells a happily single young woman!" But then the ax fell. Her younger brother Mike was diagnosed with terminal cancer and moved in with her. Her parents came to be with Mike--and moved in with her. Suddenly ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 4th 1998 by Bantam (first published 1997)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  442 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Apr 23, 2007 rated it liked it
I was on a minor Julia Sweeney kick the past couple of weeks and read this last night and today after watching the movie of the same title (produced by Quentin Tarantino). Basically the book is just the stand-up routine in text, although it was interesting to see the pictures of Sweeney and her family that are included. It was a quick read and not terrible, but you'd be better off listening to the This American Life episode in which clips from the stand-up appearances dealing with this time in h ...more
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
I actually listened to a recording of her live stage show from Audible (I didn't even know there was a book!). But I can highly recommend the recording -- Sweeney is a master storyteller and her skills as an actress shine through when you listen. Highly recommended, but listen (or watch the video of the show) rather than read. Or maybe read it after you've heard her tell it -- there's a lot of humor as well as touching moments that probably don't pack as much of a punch if you're not hearing her ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is very possible to laugh and cry at the same time. I really, really liked this book. I have to remember that it’s okay to laugh about the insanity of life, especially the darkest parts of it.
Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Julia Sweeney ("Pat" on Saturday Night Live) writes a wonderful memoir of a family fighting cancer. She was newly divorced and excited to start a new life on her own. Soon after buying a home of her own, her brother is diagnosed with cancer and she has him come live with her so that she can care for him. While she's caring for him, she is diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer. She blends these tough times with enough humor that it isn't a maudlin tale, but a story of love and support. Th ...more
Donald Jans
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Saw this on stage at the Magic theater in SF. How Sweeney could make you laugh your ass off, and while you're still doing that, spring on you that her brother dies (imagine jumping on a trampoline,, and you just jump off the trampoline) and I'm in mid guffaw and then he dies. Never before have I felt guilty for laughing, but that's exactly what she wanted, and I feel like her brother would have wanted, so you could stop and pause and think about his life, but then get right on laughing again. Br ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm on a humor writing kick right now. I recently watched a video of Julia Sweeney reading a story she wrote about giving her daughter the "birds and the bees" talk, and it was so funny to me I decided I had to read something of hers. I picked this book up yesterday and finished it this morning. The book ended up being centered around her family finding out her brother had lymphoma and the events that ensued because of it. Even though the topic was really heavy, it was an entertaining and surpri ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I interviewed Julia for an article I'm writing about how humor can be helpful when you're dealing with cancer. This memoir is about her brother's battle with cancer (she was his caregiver) and then her own diagnosis of cervical cancer just a month before he died. It's a quick read, although not deep. But the humor is there and that's what she was going for. In fact, the memoir came about after she did a stand-up act about her family's battle with cancer.
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A year in the life of Julia Sweeney ("It's Pat!" from Saturday Night Live) after she has left the show. Don't let the title scare you off. It has virtually nothing to do with God. It's a humorous and touching look at a year in which her brother finds out he has cancer and he and her parents move in with her to help support him. It's a really good read and you'll find it very easy to get through at only 172 pages.
Aug 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Julia Sweeney is an entertaining storyteller without doubt. Unfortunately the mediums of theater and written literature require some different skill sets. Having experienced both, I would recommend skipping the book if possible and renting the HBO version of her one-woman show. Delivery and non-verbals mean a lot. Trust me.
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was a disappointing read. From the title I had expected humor, which is difficult when part of the story revolves around her brother suffering from and succumbing to cancer. But that wasn't the only disappointment: I found this poorly written, with limited vocabulary and uninteresting structure. BTW, the author played Pat on SNL.
April Hamilton
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Heartfelt, deft and funny. Sweeney manages to wring tears AND laughter in this bittersweet memoir. Even when she's dealing with Big Issues like terminal illness and religion, she's always frank, never whiny or martyr-like. Best of all, she manages to come out on the other side of some very, very dark times with her sense of humor intact and a positive outlook.
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
This book was funny in places, but her humor is really sweet (my mom has funny sweaters! she cooks funny!) and maybe I'm just more a fan of scathing irony. It just didn't pack enough good moments or ideas to make it a life-changing experience. That said, I did like it and it felt nice while I read it. It's like a tapioca pudding cancer book. I bet the stage show is much better.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I actually have this as an audiobook, but I couldn't find it on here. I love Julia Sweeney's memoirs, and listening to her perform them just adds to enjoyment. A touching, funny, sweet, tragic, honest story of her brother's death by cancer.
Sherry (sethurner)
Sweeney, an alum of Saturday Night Live, tells the story in a monologue of her brother's cancer and her own illness. At turns funny and very sad, she tells a compelling story with the wit of, say, Gilda Radner.
Elizabeth Schlatter
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very sweet and amusing group of short essays about a tumultuous year in Sweeney's life, along with some memories strewn in. It feels like she's talking to you when you read it. If you can imagine her voice, then it's icing on the cake.
Lori Rader-Day
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
The live Uncabaret set on This American Life is much better, but still a good read. I've decided that I should get the audio book for comedian's books. It's so much better listening to their voices telling the stories.
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Most wonderful hilarious look at life and at cancer. As someone who has lost and is losing loved ones to cancer I cannot recommend it highly enough. It will make you laugh out loud and cry in the best possible ways.
Apr 28, 2012 marked it as to-read


May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: so-funny
This was both hilarious and inspiring. A quick little read, Sweeney's comedy is clean, witty, and real. I laughed, I cried and I saw a whole new side to the "Pat" actress/comedian. She is complex, intelligent, compassionate and yes...very, very funny.
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I do not care for Julia's characters on SNL, I really love, love, loved her book!!!! She seems like someone who would be fun to be friends with. This book was touching and in parts very, very funny....i mean snort out loud funny!
Jennifer Kronk
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
My only real complaint about this book is that I wanted more. Sweeney has such a wonderful sense of humor that it is even more painful when the heartbreak happens.
Very inspirational and sweet. I would have liked to see the show this was based on.
Summer Munger
Feb 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, memoir
I simply adore Julia Sweeney.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
A touching portrayal of a sucky year (her brother dies of cancer and she is diagnosed with caner) of a kind-hearted woman. I enjoyed traveling along with Julia.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have the film on VHS, the book, and now the audiobook, read by the author. I recommend this to everybody.
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Funny,and Sad, but mostly funny she is a tour de force. An evening spent laughing and crying with Julia.
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt guilty, rolling with laughter while reading a book about cancer, but Sweeney manages to highlight the humorous and absurd amidst the dark and stark.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, humour
Profoundly inspiring and courageously funny.
Sep 30, 2008 rated it liked it
a passage in the life of the person behind Pat.
Greg Oberlin
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
great book about cancer.. that doesn't leave you feeling sorry for her.. or for anyone.. but just happy that you're alive.. and should make the best of it, and not take it (life) too seriously
Alex Norcross
Jul 16, 2009 rated it liked it
A humorous and poignant look at the life of comedian during the tragic year that both she and her brother were diagnosed with cancer.
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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.