Letting Go of God

  • by Julia Sweeney
  • Narrated by Julia Sweeney
  • 2 hrs and 6 mins
  • Performance

Publisher's Summary

Julia Sweeney says she was a "happy Catholic girl" when, one day, she walked into church and signed up for a Bible-study course. "What an eye opener that was!" she says. "Next thing you know, I was on a quest for something I could really believe in. I traveled to places like Bhutan, Ecuador, and my local Starbucks looking for answers. Would I embrace Buddhism? New Age pseudo-science? Was I a freak for feeling the way I did, or were there other people out there just like me? I was grappling with serious questions. But, somehow, a lot of the things that were happening to me seemed, well, funny."Equally comedic and insightful, Letting Go of God is Sweeney's brilliant one-woman show about her struggle with her faith. Grappling with the seeming contradictions in Adam and Eve, Noah, the Ten Commandments, and even the teachings of Jesus - and trying to understand the Bible's messages about morality, family values, and human suffering while faced with door-knocking Mormons and wise-cracking priests - Sweeney takes listeners on her very personal journey from God to "not-God".
This performance was recorded on November 19, 2005, at the Ars Nova Theatre in New York City.
Julia Sweeney was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1989-94, and is best known for the mysteriously androgynous character, "It's Pat!". She has also served as a consulting producer on Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives. Letting Go of God is her third monologue. She performed her first, God Said, "Ha!", in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and on Broadway, as well as in a film produced by Quentin Tarantino. The CD version was nominated for a Grammy.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Anyone who thinks that Julia Sweeney is just the comedian who played "Pat" on Saturday Night Live, doesn't know Julia Sweeney. Letting Go of God, an elegantly written and beautifully performed monologue about her loss of faith, made me laugh - a lot - and think even more. Far from being an angry atheistic screed, it is an uplifting journey of the heart. —Steve Feldberg

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What the Critics Say

"Searing and bracingly funny....Letting Go of God is refreshingly unrancorous, lucid and, yes, inspirational." (The New York Times)
"Letting Go of God is a gale-force breath of fresh air into the mostly political dialogue about religion in our time." (Los Angeles Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Brilliant Personal Journey of Discovery

You can read Dawkins, Harris, or Dennett and find yourself informed, inflamed, or even affirmed, but none of them is as "humanly" insightful as Julia Sweeney. This is not juat another comic "rant" about the foibles of religion. Sweeney's deep personal journey was not just about her reactions but also about her explorations. She speaks profoundly as someone who both feels the emotional implications of her journey and the knows the intellectual basis for it. If you've ever been anywhere near the route she's traveled, you'll recognize the terrain as if it's being described by an old friend. If you've been afraid to take the journey, Sweeney's caring and poignant account will urge you forward. And if you're threatened by such journeys of discovery, you might just discover there's less to be afraid of that you thought. All of this is delivered in Julia Sweeney's impecable comic timing - she's speaking from the heart but she's also speaking as someone who knows how to get her message across in a way it can be heard and enjoyed. At 2 hours, this audiobook is just the right length to engage you but not overwhelm you. Buy, listen, enjoy, and think.
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- Mark

Wise, touching, and awfully funny

Julia Sweeney has come a long way since her "Pat" days on Saturday Night Live, when she suffered by comparison with a born character actor like Gilda Radner. Instead, Sweeney is a master of the comedy that comes with experience and insight, the comedy of maturity. "Letting Go of God" is a performance by a woman who has grown tremendously as a humorist as well as a person.

This Audible.com title is a live recording, before an audience, of her one-woman show. It comes without context or introduction, which is a bit startling: after "This is Audible" you're thrown right into the opening story of Sweeney as a 7-year-old learning that her Catholic church now considers her to have reached the "age of reason" (meaning that God starts keeping score).

The rest of the narrative fits squarely into the genre of spiritual autobiography, but not your forefathers' pilgrim's progress: hers is hilarious, and it leads away from Catholicism and belief in God to a confident humanism.

Totally missing from "Letting Go of God" are the stridency and pugnaciousness of this year's defenses of atheism by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Sweeney honors the part of herself that will always be Catholic, and while she's as impatient as Dawkins or Harris with narrow-minded fundamentalism she doesn't share their tendency to call people she doesn't agree with idiots. (Well, okay, except for Deepak Chopra, but that's like making fun of mimes or something--you just *have* to do it.)

The quality of the recording is excellent, and the audience response mostly adds to the experience and never intrudes on Sweeney's storytelling.
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-04-2006
  • Publisher: Julia Sweeney Blum