Title: If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your MotherAuthor: Julia SweeneyPublisher: Simon & SchusterExpected Release: April 2, 2013Source: publisher (NetGalley)Synopsis: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.
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. If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother will be released on April 2, 2013 by Simon & Schuster.
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.