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Editorial 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

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.

There's lots more Julia Sweeney available at Audible®! Just click here to download In the Family Way, her appearances on This American Life, her Un-Cabaret performances, and other great programs.
©2006 Julia Sweeney; (P)2006 Julia Sweeney

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

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a great spring board for additional discussion.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed learning Julia's story and hearing how she has searched and thought out a spiritual foundation for herself. She asked many of the same questions, struggled with the same text, attitudes and dogma I did while attending seminary. I have great respect for Julia, because her beliefs are her own based on her own prayer, meditation, study and search, and not that of a closed minded faith that was handed to her without her own participation. I found this book to be smart, fresh and thoughful. Blessing to you Julia on your continued search.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Barry
  • Petaluma, CA, United States
  • 08-01-12

Brilliant story of one person's spiritual journey

I don't agree with Sweeney's conclusions but that didn't stop me from absolutely enjoying every minute of the story of her evolving relationship with religion, spirituality, and God.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jes
  • Hobart, IN, United States
  • 04-30-12

Never look under the hood

A few years back someone challenged me to take a look at religion again because I wasn't declaring a faith or lack of one. They didn't like some of the things I was pointing out in the bible. It also led me to look into the Koran. Julia goes through the points throughout her life that led her to let go of God. This is a very similar journey many others have taken. If you want to learn about some of the hidden facts of religion this is for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • oliver
  • MARTINSBURG, WV, United States
  • 03-15-12

It was so moving. I was there with her every step

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, Julia tells a wonderfull story of a happy little girl growing up and beginning to ask questions as why we believe these things were taught. The deep and harder she looked at these gems the prevalent the flaws became.

What did you like best about this story?

She managed to make a sound argument without being disrespectfull to others who cherish thier faith.

What about Julia Sweeney’s performance did you like?

You could easily sense how dificult this journey was her to make. Each corner a new dispointment.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed, at the banter with her priest. I cried at the realazation that those we love are just gone that all we keep with us is the memmories.

Any additional comments?

Such a prize to have found this ,

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ken
  • Davis, CA, United States
  • 07-13-11

Let Go and Listen

Raised an atheist, I have sometimes found the voices of atheists can be loud, uneducated and dare I say intolerant. This book will not change your views, but it will challenge you to examine them. Humor and personal anecdotes can be the best way to express one's views. Ms. Sweeney is honest and funny! What a great combination.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Graeme
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 12-31-10

Humble, touching and smart

Letting Go Of God is a refreshing change from the usual smug arrogance of atheistic literature. It takes us on a believers journey to unbelief, addressing the fears, feelings and confusion this process stirs up while also humorously spotlighting in hindsight the absurdity of some of the pillars of religion that so many either are ignorant of or sweep under the carpet. It is never an exercise in religion bashing, but rather a wistful, sometimes even nostalgic account of Julia's sincere search for truth.
I listened to this in its entirety in one sitting, and can see myself coming back for another listen.
My only very minor gripe would be in regard to the listening experience - because this seems to be a set of live performances stitched together, sometimes one section ends abruptly, followed by a gap of silence where I usually went grasping for my iphone to see if my headphones has come loose or if the battery had gone dead!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Julia Sweeney was a happy Catholic who went on a spiritual quest as an adult, and wound up a non-believer. She recounts her journey here with great insight and humor.

I've read or listened to all of the "New Atheists", (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris), and for my money, Sweeney tops them all. They're all great, in their own way, but they are sooooo serious. Julie covers the same ground, but does it in such a humorous way that it's impossible not to love her, unless you're some sort of fundamentalist believer. In that case, the humor, brilliant as it is, is bound to fly right over your head. God does not believe in humor or tolerate questioning, at least these people's world.

For people who can listen to a person veering off of the path of belief, or making jokes about religion, while treating belief with affection, this recording is for you. I love it, and refer to it often. I've given it to many Christian friends, but only those with a sense of humor. Hard-core believers will not be amused. Modern religious or secular thinkers, on the other hand, will be delighted.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • C.J.
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • 07-02-08

Definitely down load this...

This has been my favourite audio book. Julia delivers it like a stand up routine, with thoughtful moments that are inspiring. I never knew of her work before I happened upon this, and will now look into everything else she has done. Its really fun, intelligent and humble.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Justine
  • Chandler, AZ, USA
  • 12-31-07

Hysterical, yet touching!

Being a former SNL fan, I had to listen. Julia leads you through her religious self discovery with an amazing wit, pointing out the ironies of organized religion from her personal perspective. I have enjoyed it over a dozen times since I downloaded it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela
  • Dayton, OH, USA
  • 12-15-07

Smart and Funny

A refreshing, smartly comedic commentary on daring to take a realistic look at inherited belief systems. Two thumbs way up!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful