God Said, Ha!by Julia Sweeney
1995 was, for Julia Sweeney, a truly horrible year. She got a divorce (amicable), bought a small bungalow in Hollywood, and looked forward to a life that said, "Here dwells a happily single young woman!" But then the ax fell. Her younger brother Mike was diagnosed with terminal cancer and moved in with her. Her parents came to be with Mikeand moved… See more details below
1995 was, for Julia Sweeney, a truly horrible year. She got a divorce (amicable), bought a small bungalow in Hollywood, and looked forward to a life that said, "Here dwells a happily single young woman!" But then the ax fell. Her younger brother Mike was diagnosed with terminal cancer and moved in with her. Her parents came to be with Mikeand moved in with her. Suddenly her tiny bungalow for one was filled to the rafters with Sweeneys. Here she was sleeping on her pull-out sofa bed while her father walked around, his Walkman on all day and her mother marveled at Julia's lack of such staples as stroganoff mixes. Every day was spent bringing Mike to and from chemotherapy, every evening watching "Chicago Hope" or "E.R." Julia was now on seriously intimate terms with the people she had spent half a lifetime growing up away from.Just weeks before Mike died, Julia was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancerwhat Mike called her "sympathy cancer"and within days of burying her brother, she underwent a radical hysterectomy, beginning her own journey through "the International House of Cancer." From these Job-like travails, Julia has written a remarkably funny and touching memoir about a family in extremis that manages to persevere with humor, grace, and love.
- Random House Publishing Group
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- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Read an Excerpt
During my third year on Saturday Night Live, my husband and I split up. It was an amicable breakup. In fact, we used to joke that it was a divorce made in heaven.
We were good friends and decided to honor that friendship by continuing it outside of the messy context of a marriage. It took us a long time to decide to break up and it was sad and painful.
But there was one thing I really looked forward to, and that was the chance to live alone again. I saved my money diligently while I was working, and I finally had enough for a down payment on a little bungalow in Hollywood. I made it my symbol of independence. For the first year that I had this house, I was still living in New York City and I scrimped and saved and sent my money back home so that I could decorate it. I wanted to make sure that it was really girlie, and strongly feminine. And I wanted to make sure that it said to anyone who walked in: "A woman lives here. Alone. And happy about it!"
I developed this elaborate fantasy for my Shangri-la. I believed that I would spend a lot of time alone there and I would give a lot of petite soirees and fabulous gourmet dinner parties. And there'd be lots of witty talk.
Maybe someone would drink a little bit too much. And I would insist that they spend the night in the guest room, a perfectly charming place to crash after an evening of rousing conversation. We'd be up late into the night talking about oh, say, the latest Coen Brothers movie, or maybe the problems in Bosnia with that horrible Slobodan Milosevic. Or we could all play a fun game where we name all the Justices on the Supreme Court. And everyone would just love the dessertI'd made, and someone would inevitably say, "This pie is fabulous, and aren't blueberries even out of season?"
I figured that I would spend long afternoons listening to Tchaikovsky and writing all those great screenplays that are just floating around in my head. Days would be spent like my vacation in Ireland, except all the time and every day. Brilliant minds would leisurely lounge around my house, laughing uproariously at someone's ingenious bon mot. We'd all hang out around the barbecue in the afternoon and at night we'd all drink sherry and smoke Cuban cigars.
I would never marry again! I would live in this house alone! Gloriously alone for the next sixty years! Well, me and my three cats: Gus, Rita, and Frank.
And after a few years, my neighbors would look down the street and they would say to their friends, "There lives Julia Sweeney. You know, she never remarried after a brief early liaison, but we've never known anyone who was happier and more full of life than that Julia Sweeney! How we envy her existence!"
I could see all of this happening as I organized my bedroom and picked out fabric for curtains and scoured antique fairs for end tables. I was finally an independent adult! I felt so mature and self-reliant. I had gone to college, I'd started my career, I'd even had the big wedding, and that BIG relationship. But nothing was more exciting to me now than having my own place.
And that's when God just said..."Ha!"
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