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

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

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.

"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 later, married and moved from Los Angeles to Chicago. She writes about deciding to adopt her child, strollers, nannies (including the Chinese Pat), knitting, being adopted by a dog, The Food Network, and meeting Mr. Right through an email from a complete stranger who wrote, "Desperately Seeking Sweeney-in-Law." She recounts how she explained the facts of life to nine-year-old Mulan, a story that became a wildly popular TED talk and YouTube video.

Some of the essays reveal Julia's ability to find that essential thread of human connection, whether it's with her mother-in-law, who candidly reveals a story that most people would keep a secret, or with an anonymous customer service rep during a late-night phone call. But no matter what the topic, Julia always writes with elegant precision, pinning her jokes with razor-sharp observations while articulating feelings that we all share.

Poignant, provocative, and wise, this is a funny, and at times powerful, memoir by a woman living her life with originality and intelligence.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2013.
ISBN: 9781451674040
Characteristics: viii, 246 p. ;,24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
ksoles Apr 26, 2013

In her comedic but heartfelt look at becoming an adoptive parent, Saturday Night Live personality Julia Sweeney blends laugh-out loud moments with honesty and despondency.

After numerous unsuccessful relationships, Sweeney gathered the courage and energy to adopt a Chinese girl, entering into motherhood much "like a golden retriever running after a ball." "If it's Not One Thing, it's Your Mother" reminisces about the author's childhood, finding a suitable nanny during her daughter's childhood, and life as a working mother. She also deftly tackles issues like same-sex marriage, immigration, prejudices, death and dogs. Ultimately, she pays great homage to her own mother, aunts and friends, all while allowing her daughter to become her own person.


Add a Quote
Jun 16, 2014

pg 64: At a Cantonese restaurant in SF a few weeks after I adopted Mulan, a waitress told me the sounds she was saying over and over again, sounds that I thought were cute Chinese versions of "ga-ga," sounds to which I responded mostly by smiling and tickling her, was actually a phrase. The phrase was "I am hungry. I am so very, very hungry."

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top