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If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother Hardcover – April 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145167404X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451674040
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

An author, playwright, actress, and comic perhaps best known as the androgynous Pat on Saturday Night Live, Sweeney’s most challenging role came as a late-in-life single mother when she adopted her 18-month-old daughter from China. With a failed marriage behind her and recovering from the cervical cancer that left her unable to have children, Sweeney embraced new motherhood with an exhilarating combination of zeal and doubt. Chronicling her adventures in international adoption, novice parenting, and disastrous dating in a series of riotously candid essays, Sweeney demonstrates how her trademark sense of humor and hard-won optimism enabled her not only to raise a bright, well-adjusted, and accomplished child but also helped her find a husband who would face these challenges with her. From the typical awkward discussions with her 8-year-old daughter about the birds and bees to reluctantly opening her heart and home to a straggly stray dog to adjusting her career goals to accommodate her new family, Sweeney takes life’s quotidian rituals to hilarious heights. --Carol Haggas

Review

"What a gift! If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother is an intimate and hilarious book that will leave you resenting your mother less, hugging your children tighter, and glowing with gratitude that Julia Sweeney has put it all into words." (Maria Semple author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette)

“Reading If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother gave me the delightful sensation of being Julia Sweeneys best friend. I curled up in bed with this book and we shared secrets, swapped parenting fiascos and boyfriend dramas, complained about our mothers, laughed a lot, cried a little, and just generally had an awesome time. Write another book soon, Ms. Sweeney! Legions of your friends are waiting!” (Ayelet Waldman author of Red Hook Road and Bad Mother)

"A deep, candid, insightful, and emotional look at love, family, independence, and commitment. . . . Reading it is like catching up through a long, soul-baring night with your funniest old friend." (More)

"A thoughtful set of essays on motherhood embroidered with humor . . . As you'd expect, there's humor here, but it's also a deeper read about relationships and the unpredictability of life." (Chicago Tribune)

"Frank, funny." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Julia Sweeney can you make you laugh about anything. . . . Wry and honest." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"Funny, funny stuff . . . clever and quirky . . . she exhibits that rare ability as a writer to make the ordinary seem interesting." (San Antonio Express-News)

"Outlandishly funny . . . For every mother who could use a laugh—in other words, every mother—If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother offers a touch of wisdom and plenty of wit." (Tampa Bay Times)

"Intimate and humorous . . . Sweeney's devilish sense of humor successfully makes the transition to page, linking the scenes of her life as daughter, sister, wife, and mother into a delightful whole." (Publishers Weekly)

“Laugh-out-loud moments blended with honesty and despondency.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"Sweeney takes life’s quotidian rituals to hilarious heights." (Booklist)

"This is the sort of book that made me want to be the person who wrote it. Pithy, painful and very, very funny." (Emma Thompson)

"I am hereby breaking my vow to not write any more blurbs because . . . it's Julia Sweeney! In my opinion, any new creative offering from Julia Sweeney, no matter what the medium, is a cause for celebration because she is such a spectacular combination of insightful, hilarious and honest. So, yay! A new book from Julia Sweeney! Drinks are on me!" (Merrill Markoe, author of Cool, Calm, and Contentious)

"What a delicious treat! Julia Sweeney is one of the truest, warmest, wittiest voices in the world today, and we're so lucky that she spent her precious alone-time (while her husband and daughter were away) writing a book that invites everyone into her heart and home." (Cindy Chupack, a writer/executive producer of HBO's Sex and the City and author of The Between Boyfriends Book)

"[Sweeney's] sharp humor shines through . . . singles looking to adopt will find inspiration along with the giggles." (Library Journal)

Related Media

Customer Reviews

I read this book because of the title and was hooked.
Amazon Customer
It is great writing because it is easy to read but not simple. it is clever, witty, well thought out and complex and well organized with a nice flow.
Tiger mom
Julia Sweeney did an amazing job sharing her life story and putting it into words.
Rachel Wiebe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Wiebe on April 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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 anything I would normally pick up to read (usually sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, romance, post-apocalyptic, etc.), but because I thought it would be a book I would have to push myself to finish reading. Oh was I so utterly and completely (and happily I might add) wrong! I found myself speeding through it and losing track of time as I let myself fall into her story. I laughed with her, smiled with her, felt her sadness and happiness as if it were my own, and found myself experiencing her triumphs and downfalls as if I was there with her. I even caught myself reading aloud parts of it to my sister because it is such a wonderful story that I had the urge to share it right there and then.

Julia Sweeney did an amazing job sharing her life story and putting it into words. She'll make you feel as if you're sitting down with her, talking over brunch and coffee, instead of reading. I cannot give her book enough praise or recommend it more highly. Definitely needs to be put on everyone's To-Read list and I urge you to go out and buy it the day it comes out! I promise you'll never regret it! I'm already passing it on to my sister as we speak and will be saving a spot for it on my shelf of favorite books for when I get it back. If I get it back that is.

And yes, before you ask, I'm serious about the possibly not getting it back part. It's simply that good!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Monika on April 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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 chapter on strollers. It seemed kind of harsh, with little allowance for the possibility that some people may appear completely normal, but have special circumstances. Even though I understand what she was truly referring to, these pages started to take on a judgmental tone. I was glad to move on from it, and that it was a short chapter.

But Sweeney presents herself honestly and openly. She is who she is, without pretense. I loved that - it was so refreshing! Although this book does focus around motherhood, I think it also offers a look into varied slices of Sweeney's life. I especially enjoyed the pages about her adventures with her brother, Bill, who reminds me of a dear friend of my own.

This was an enjoyable read!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Socalme on April 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Through out my years...I have had the privilege of watching Julia on TV, reading her books and seeing her 1 woman shows in LA. Somehow I am lucky enough to have her when I need her most: to make me laugh, cry and understand life a little better. Thank you once again, Julia, for a wonderful read and a new perspective on life as I know it. It's always a pleasure to share yours.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tiger mom on April 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have not even finished this book and I find myself laughing, stopping to ponder what I just read in that last line, and thinking of the next free moment I have to pick up my iPad and continue reading. It is great writing because it is easy to read but not simple. it is clever, witty, well thought out and complex and well organized with a nice flow. I am buying 5 hardcover copies to give as gifts because I think it would be a shame to not have shared this with the other women I consider my friends!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bert Walker on July 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very funny with many heartfelt moments. Julia has had some really hard knocks but keeps on getting up, dusting herself off and moving forward. Her relationships with her mom, her friends and lovers, and especially her daughter provide lots of entertaining reading for anyone who was ever a brother, sister, mom, dad or child. I guess that's pretty much everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kai Opaka on June 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Even when I don't like Julia Sweeney, I like her, by which I mean even when she is discussing opinions or experiences that are far from my own, she manages to convey them in a manner that is not off-putting. I do not get offended and she never seems too preachy, but she writes in a manner that makes me care to read more to discover why she feels as she does. This particular book was a very good read for someone stressed with issues about her own aging, sometimes exasperating, but always much loved mother. It reminded me in places of some of Amy Tan's beautifully evocative words in The Joy Luck Club about the power of motherhood and a mother's depth of feeling. It is not that sort of book, but many of the same issues are touched on and Sweeney does so with a delicate grace, just as Tan does. Well worth a read, and a comfort if one needs something to read on a rainy day or late at night when one is having difficulty sleeping, or when one wishes to read about someone else's problems and get one's mind off one's own. It is a well-paced, well-structured and soothing sort of book & I highly recommend it on that basis.
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