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Mswas’ CBR-III Review #25 – God Said, Ha! by Julia Sweeney

08/21/2011

I heard Julia Sweeney being interviewed on NPR recently about atheism, and decided to get one of her books. God Said, “Ha!” is an account of her brother’s battle and loss of life to cancer. I like Sweeney a lot, and her book is just as funny and touching as she is.

I recently reviewed Betty White’s book where I commented that it was lacking due to the  wide margins and white space. God Said, “Ha!” is similar in format, but what I think works here is that it’s conversational and brief about a very hard subject, whereas the other book just muses about life and some of the things Betty White has done lately. God Said, Ha! is definitely Sweeney’s voice. And while the book is really about Mike’s cancer, and then Sweeney’s own cancer, her stories about her parents and family are hysterically precise.

My mother also has a thing about elevators. I discovered this while we were at the hospital in Rochester, where we took elevators many, many times a day. My mother would always act as if she were seeing an elevator for the first time, that it was some kind of miracle invention and she would react with awe whenever we approached one. Every single time.

Sweeney’s keen observations are particularly poignant as her brother’s health really fails. The passage about his actual passing was a tearjerker, and hit very close to home. I won’t reprint it here, but it was really sweet.

I would also encourage a library borrow on this one, due to its brevity. But God Said, “Ha!” is worth it.

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