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If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother Paperback – April 8, 2014
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"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 Sweeney’s 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 former SNL cast member leaves fame behind, moving to the Midwest and adopting a Chinese girl, in this endearing series of true tales from parenthood's front lines." (O, The Oprah Magazine)
"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)
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I have a tendency towards certain forms of naivete. I carried mail for ten years after I got out of the army, and the neighborhood that I was responsible for was quite a patchwork quilt of ethnicities and origins. There was Vietnamese, Egyptian, Israeli, Georgian (Russian Georgian, that is, although I regard Atlanta Braves fans not so much as foreigners but aliens), Croats, Sikh, Hindu, and Chinese, all within a thirteen block area. I felt proud that my country was home to them all, and I really believe that our strength is from diversity. And our love of diverse cuisines, too.
When Mulan Sweeney-Blum read her school report on the origins of her parents and herself, I again felt proud. Lovely job, young woman, and a fine job in your reading as well as your writing.
For the rest of the audiobook, it has the raw honesty, self-doubt, poignancy, sweetness, self-deprecation, self-honesty, and yes, naivete that is the essence of Sweeney. It's what make her memorable and noteworthy, and should make the rest of us feel very fortunate that we have her to enjoy and admire. I felt that 'Letting Go of God' was such an accomplishment that could have been the culmination of her career, but I'm terrifically glad that she's continued.
And if I am ever fortunate enough to meet her and her mother-in-law, I want to shake their hands and thank them for the courage to relate their experiences with abortion. I have acted as an escort for terrified young women going in for this wrenching procedure through groups of sanctimonious, vociferous, self-righteous protestors, and that experience combined with the images of back-room abortions convinces me that until birth control is cheap, easily available, and endorsed by religions, then a woman's right to medically safe methods to terminate a pregnancy must be legally protected.
Thank you, Julia Sweeney. You are indeed an ornament to our lives.
I did not even know till I started listening that Julia Sweeney is a neighbor. She lives maybe 5 miles north of me in the suburb of Wilmette. Pretty much my favorite line in the book is where Julia refers to Wilmette as a small town and her husband corrects her: "Wilmette is where people with money pay to have the small-town experience." So true.
The time frame of this story is a period of a month when she has her big ol' Wilmette house to herself (except for a brief stop-in by her husband between business trips). I'm sure it took longer to write than a month, but it is her time to catch up with herself and everything that has happened - the adoption of her daughter from China; a series of boy friends amusingly all designated "Joe" with numbers attached; the extraordinary meet-cute and subsequent marriage to Michael Blum; moving from L.A. to the Midwest; and her decision to stay home, observe and write and anchor her family.
Julia Sweeney is a funny lady, but not everything that happens in this book is funny. This is life, not fiction. She deals honestly, movingly and straightforwardly with the death of someone close to her, which I completely believe took place within the 4-week period. She has a conversation with her mother-in-law (this is why you have to have the audiobook, people) about abortion. Another reason the audiobook is mandatory: you must hear Mulan Sweeney-Blum read her essay on immigration in her family. Particularly after hearing Julia interpret her daughter's dialogue throughout the book, the sound of Mulan's own voice brought tears to my eyes.
Julia Sweeney was a featured player on one of the most popular TV shows on the planet, but she never got swept up in celebrity. She has said that she is living her dream right now. She has gone through some hard times but has the gift of finding humor when you need it most. It was a pleasure to listen to this book, start to finish. Highly recommended.
Julia decides to write a book when she gets an entire month to her self. With Mulan in summer camp and her husband away, Julia thought the peace and quiet would be refreshing.
Since her last performance going into the adoption of Mulan, Juliet got married. It seems to have caused a bit of jealousy from Mulan. The child's funny remarks are wonderful.
The funniest part for me were The Birds and the Bees chapter. This had to be the most awkward conversation any parent has with an inquisitive child. It is hilarious.
Check this out for your self. You will listen to it over and over.