Library Journal Review
With her husband abroad on business and her daughter away at camp, Sweeney found herself alone at home (except for the cat and the dog) with time to reflect on her family. Her story deftly weaves between the present day and her childhood. As a young comedienne and writer in Los Angeles, she had a brief marriage that ended in divorce, followed by a number of boyfriends (whom she recalls as Joe #1, #2, etc.). In her later 30s, after a bout with cancer (God Said, "Ha"), she realized that she wanted to be a mother. She recounts the experience of adopting her Chinese daughter, Tara Mulan ("no, not because of the movie") and the struggles with nannies, strollers, playdates, and urban public schools that followed. She was introduced to her current husband, Michael, via an email from his brother, saying that she ought to be his wife. The brother (-in-law) was right. Julia, Mulan, and Michael became a family. Life in suburban Chicago has challenges-not only the weather but also being taken for Mulan's grandmother by the ponytailed, preppy women in the neighborhood. Sweeney's narration makes listening to the personal material even more intimate. Her interview with her mother-in-law about having an abortion in the late 1950s is candid and poignant. Sweeney's explanation of the facts of life to nine-year-old Mulan is side-splittingly funny. Verdict Recommended for all popular collections.-Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., Zion, IL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Sweeney, former cast member of Saturday Night Live (1990-1994) and creator of the androgynous character "Pat", takes readers on an intimate and humorous journey through her satisfying and occasionally messy family life. Married and now living outside of Chicago, Sweeney depicts the tribulations of adopting a baby girl from China and her life as a single-mother. With timing true to her comedic roots, she meanders delightfully through past histories, recounting her years in Los Angeles, her twenty-five year high school reunion, and the assortment of men she dated. Sweeney tackles a myriad of touchy topics with candor and bigheartedness. Any subject is fair game. Whether describing the long search for the right nanny for her daughter, her intense dislike of big strollers which she describes as "super-wide, almost Hummer-like in their obnoxiousness, a veritable trailer for their precious cargo," or the death of her beloved brother, Sweeney plunges right in. "Okay. Let me stop this lightly comic, chatty memoir and brings things to a dead stop. Emphasis on dead. My brother Bill died yesterday." Sweeney's devilish sense of humor successfully makes the transition to the page, linking the scenes of her life as daughter, sister, wife, and mother into a delightful whole. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
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.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2010 Booklist