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This Will All Be Over Soon: A Memoir

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A powerful memoir from the Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong about grieving the death of her cousin—and embracing the life-affirming lessons he taught her—amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cecily Strong had a special bond with her cousin Owen. And so she was devastated when, in early 2020, he passed away at age thirty from the brain cancer glioblastoma. Before Stro A powerful memoir from the Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong about grieving the death of her cousin—and embracing the life-affirming lessons he taught her—amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cecily Strong had a special bond with her cousin Owen. And so she was devastated when, in early 2020, he passed away at age thirty from the brain cancer glioblastoma. Before Strong could attempt to process her grief, another tragedy struck: the coronavirus pandemic. Following a few harrowing weeks in the virus epicenter of New York City, Strong relocated to an isolated house in the woods upstate. Here, trying to make sense of Owen’s death and the upended world, she spent much of the ensuing months writing. The result is This Will All Be Over Soon—a raw, unflinching memoir about loss, love, laughter, and hope. Befitting the time-warped year of 2020, the diary-like approach deftly weaves together the present and the past. Strong chronicles the challenges of beginning a relationship during the pandemic and the fear when her new boyfriend contracts COVID. She describes the pain of losing her friend and longtime Saturday Night Live staff member Hal Willner to the virus. She reflects on formative events from her life, including how her high school expulsion led to her pursuing a career in theater and, years later, landing at SNL. Yet the heart of the book is Owen. Strong offers a poignant account of her cousin’s life, both before and after his diagnosis. Inspired by his unshakable positivity and the valuable lessons he taught her, she has written a book that—as indicated by its title—serves as a moving reminder: whatever challenges life might throw one’s way, they will be over soon. And so will life. So make sure to appreciate every day and don’t take a second of it for granted.


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A powerful memoir from the Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong about grieving the death of her cousin—and embracing the life-affirming lessons he taught her—amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cecily Strong had a special bond with her cousin Owen. And so she was devastated when, in early 2020, he passed away at age thirty from the brain cancer glioblastoma. Before Stro A powerful memoir from the Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong about grieving the death of her cousin—and embracing the life-affirming lessons he taught her—amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cecily Strong had a special bond with her cousin Owen. And so she was devastated when, in early 2020, he passed away at age thirty from the brain cancer glioblastoma. Before Strong could attempt to process her grief, another tragedy struck: the coronavirus pandemic. Following a few harrowing weeks in the virus epicenter of New York City, Strong relocated to an isolated house in the woods upstate. Here, trying to make sense of Owen’s death and the upended world, she spent much of the ensuing months writing. The result is This Will All Be Over Soon—a raw, unflinching memoir about loss, love, laughter, and hope. Befitting the time-warped year of 2020, the diary-like approach deftly weaves together the present and the past. Strong chronicles the challenges of beginning a relationship during the pandemic and the fear when her new boyfriend contracts COVID. She describes the pain of losing her friend and longtime Saturday Night Live staff member Hal Willner to the virus. She reflects on formative events from her life, including how her high school expulsion led to her pursuing a career in theater and, years later, landing at SNL. Yet the heart of the book is Owen. Strong offers a poignant account of her cousin’s life, both before and after his diagnosis. Inspired by his unshakable positivity and the valuable lessons he taught her, she has written a book that—as indicated by its title—serves as a moving reminder: whatever challenges life might throw one’s way, they will be over soon. And so will life. So make sure to appreciate every day and don’t take a second of it for granted.

30 review for This Will All Be Over Soon: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Cecily Strong is probably most notably persistent in our lives as she goes viral on a weekly basis after a sensational, hilarious performance on Saturday Night Live. This book, while it has its humorous moments, is definitely sensational, but more heart-wrenching than hilarious. The memoir is told in a series of diary-like entries where Strong splays heart and guts open for the reader to comb through with her. She discusses her grief of losing her cousin to brain cancer while being terribly isola Cecily Strong is probably most notably persistent in our lives as she goes viral on a weekly basis after a sensational, hilarious performance on Saturday Night Live. This book, while it has its humorous moments, is definitely sensational, but more heart-wrenching than hilarious. The memoir is told in a series of diary-like entries where Strong splays heart and guts open for the reader to comb through with her. She discusses her grief of losing her cousin to brain cancer while being terribly isolated and alone in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the reader can *feel* the loneliness, we simultaneously feel like we're with her the whole way. The vulnerability and rawness of Strong's memoir is exactly as striking as any of her performances, and as a fan of hers, as well as Saturday Night Live, I don't say this lightly. Strong's book intermingles the crippling reality of anxiety and depression, intermingled with long-ago stories of her youth, not-so-long-ago stories of her blossoming romance, and just-a-minute-ago stories of her heartbreak as loss after loss rips through her in what she calls the worst year of her life. But maybe, she suggests, the worst year of your life can also be the best year of your life. I really hope so, for all of us. There's something so lovely about the way Cecily writes this memoir, like you're talking to an old friend who goes on segues in the middle, but always winds it back around to The Point. While not necessarily poetic prose, Strong writes in a way that will connect to all kinds of readers and all kinds of people in one fell swoop. She really is so special, and this book is proof.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Cecily Strong is well known from her time on Saturday Night Live (and now on Schmigadoon!) - she also experienced quite a bit of loss in 2020, her cousin friend Owen but also other people close to her, much less the shutdown of a city and then the world that we all experienced. I will always recommend grief memoirs to people who have experienced grief because the number one thing they accomplish is to help you feel you aren't alone. Cecily wrote this like a diary (unclear if they started that wa Cecily Strong is well known from her time on Saturday Night Live (and now on Schmigadoon!) - she also experienced quite a bit of loss in 2020, her cousin friend Owen but also other people close to her, much less the shutdown of a city and then the world that we all experienced. I will always recommend grief memoirs to people who have experienced grief because the number one thing they accomplish is to help you feel you aren't alone. Cecily wrote this like a diary (unclear if they started that way) so the posts vary in tone and focus, just like life. She has some days where anxiety is the focus and others where she reflects on something happening in the world politically or even in pop culture, but others where she is writing about her cousin, Covid, isolation, etc. I expect we will see more books reflecting on Covid. Since we're still in it, it was a bit surreal reading about it in a finished book, but I think some are ready to see each other's experiences. I wouldn't come to it expecting a lot of humor - there are chuckle moments but this is not a comic work. (I would think this would be obvious from the title, but just in case.) Thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing access to this title via Edelweiss.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This book admittedly isn't quite what I expected. While I knew that the core of the book was about the author dealing with her cousin's death, I did not think that the entire book would be quite so melancholy since it is written by a comedian. It is a book primarily about grief. The format of the book wasn't for me. It is mostly like a stream of conscious narrative plucked from a diary. There aren't really defined chapters on certain themes and it often jumps around some timelines (digging back This book admittedly isn't quite what I expected. While I knew that the core of the book was about the author dealing with her cousin's death, I did not think that the entire book would be quite so melancholy since it is written by a comedian. It is a book primarily about grief. The format of the book wasn't for me. It is mostly like a stream of conscious narrative plucked from a diary. There aren't really defined chapters on certain themes and it often jumps around some timelines (digging back into her memories). There are some run on sentences and imperfect grammar (mostly a lack of commas). The title of the memoir could easily have been "I had a shitty year" since it's based around the time of the start of the pandemic (I don't hate the current title). It gets really repetitive in moments as she delved into text after text between herself and her cousins. The love Strong has for her family is really apparent in the pages. There's some breaks from that in the middle where she finally gets into her childhood and briefly some horrid relationship trauma. It's clear that despite having a rather cushy gig on SNL, Strong's life has not been very easy. If you're down for a rather glum tale of the loss and then perseverance during a pandemic, that is what you will get. If you're hoping for a comedic book, you can probably skip this one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kerilyn Marina

    This is not a complete book but rather a series of hard to follow, stream of consciousness ramblings with incomplete resolutions of thought and emotion. While the author’s transparency about her anxiety and grief is raw and real, her story isn’t tied together through any manner of cohesive narrative. It reads like a first draft and not an edited publication. If this had been submitted for publication by a non-celebrity, it would have been rejected.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    Definitely don't read this until you feel prepared for it. I know a lot of people aren't ready to revisit 2020 (mainly because it seems to be trying so hard to repeat itself this summer) and it's not an easy read. But I'm glad Cecily took the time and found the strength to write about some very dark days for her. A timely book, and well worth checking out if you're feeling up to it. There's enough hope to make it an uplifting book, but you do have to relive some very dark times before you get th Definitely don't read this until you feel prepared for it. I know a lot of people aren't ready to revisit 2020 (mainly because it seems to be trying so hard to repeat itself this summer) and it's not an easy read. But I'm glad Cecily took the time and found the strength to write about some very dark days for her. A timely book, and well worth checking out if you're feeling up to it. There's enough hope to make it an uplifting book, but you do have to relive some very dark times before you get there (although she also does a good job of spreading the happy around with the sad, too). She doesn't claim to have all (or any) answers. She basically just says "This is what I went through, if you went through it too, I want you to know you weren't alone." And with something like covid, that can be enough.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Cecily Strong wrote this book from the depths of her heart and it reads that way on every page. This book really makes you remember how important family is and how pain doesn’t last forever. You feel like you grow with her while reading passages from what feels like her journal. An emotional, beautiful journey of the authors life that’s easy to read for all levels of readers.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    There are so many things I am feeling right now as I think about this book. I had no idea it would be so deep and yet also uplifting at times. While this book is about grief and the loss of Cecily's cousin Owen, she touches on so much more, opening up painful parts of her life in ways most of us will never be brave enough to do. Cecily did a wonderful job honoring her cousin Owen with this book, but she also honors herself by speaking truth about her own life. I listened to this on audio and I s There are so many things I am feeling right now as I think about this book. I had no idea it would be so deep and yet also uplifting at times. While this book is about grief and the loss of Cecily's cousin Owen, she touches on so much more, opening up painful parts of her life in ways most of us will never be brave enough to do. Cecily did a wonderful job honoring her cousin Owen with this book, but she also honors herself by speaking truth about her own life. I listened to this on audio and I stand by that choice and recommend it, but whenever Cecily's voice sounded heavy with tears, they were welling up in my eyes, too. I felt this girl, I really did and I also felt seen - which probably sounds ridiculous, but there were times she said something about her grief that really resonated with me. While I'm not a celebrity and I'm not funny or outgoing, I do have these bouts of anxiety that Cecily explains in such excruciating detail and I knew how she felt in those moments. Because this was on audio and I wasn't reading line by line, I do not have the direct quote, but at one point she was talking about being with friends and she was laughing and then she checked herself to see if there was anything she needed to be worried about and found there wasn't at that time. That is exactly how my brain works. I've never heard anyone else ever describe that feeling. She also gets very real about her relationships with her family and with significant others. She doesn't stay on the surface, she tells it like it was, like it is, and I admire her so much for putting that out there. The way she had relationships that weren't the best, but they had moments in them that mattered and they will stay with her, even though she couldn't stay with them. I also dealt with grief in 2020 and it did make the pandemic all the more scary and lonely. It still does. Losing someone is very hard, especially when you convinced yourself it would not happen. When you believed it would all be okay and it turns out that it isn't. I wouldn't say I "enjoyed" this connection to her words, but somehow it helps to know you were not and are not alone in those thoughts and feelings. I didn't know Cecily Strong other than watching her on SNL, but now I feel like I do know her. I am thankful to her for writing this book, I'm thankful to Owen for inspiring her to share her love of him and her family and friends with the strangers of the world so that we might gain insight into ourselves and find some snippets of love to take with us. We're still in the middle of this horrible pandemic and dealing with human tragedies on large scales and it's my hope that somehow we will learn through our fear and pain that we aren't so different. This book helped me see that more clearly and I hope it helps other readers, too.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    3.5 Musings from a pandemic year: one with “people taken out of it” as Strong says. I think we’ve all had similar conversations with friends and colleagues since March 2020, about how this or that has been weird since the pandemic; and we’ve all waxed philosophically about displacement and how we’ve been ‘muted’ in one way or another. Cecily’s book is a lot like those convos: a regular memoir wrapped in a pandemic memoir, and compounded with the death of Owen Strong, her young funny musician cou 3.5 Musings from a pandemic year: one with “people taken out of it” as Strong says. I think we’ve all had similar conversations with friends and colleagues since March 2020, about how this or that has been weird since the pandemic; and we’ve all waxed philosophically about displacement and how we’ve been ‘muted’ in one way or another. Cecily’s book is a lot like those convos: a regular memoir wrapped in a pandemic memoir, and compounded with the death of Owen Strong, her young funny musician cousin who succumbed from cancer during the year. The cousin, a terminally ill yet irrepressibly positive person, seemed to provide important grounding for her in her otherwise charged life as an Emmy-nominated cast member of SNL. Recommended audiobook as not only is it read by Cecily herself, but ends in a beautiful song sung by Owen that you should hear: “Do As it May” by The Evening Fools.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I loved this emotional heartfelt memoir so much.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Raw, poignant, hopeful.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Two suggestions: 1. Have tissues handy. 2. Listen to the audiobook. The last five minutes are everything.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    This is a beautiful memoir about the author written in a diary about how she made her way through the pandemic and coped with grief after losing her cousin, Owen. The book resonated with me on so many levels. One, the loss of your cousin and how beautifully the author wrote about it. I loved how she flashed back and showed us all about him as a person. This wasn't just about her loss; it was also about celebrating his life. We all got to know Owen, how their relationship evolved, and the impact o This is a beautiful memoir about the author written in a diary about how she made her way through the pandemic and coped with grief after losing her cousin, Owen. The book resonated with me on so many levels. One, the loss of your cousin and how beautifully the author wrote about it. I loved how she flashed back and showed us all about him as a person. This wasn't just about her loss; it was also about celebrating his life. We all got to know Owen, how their relationship evolved, and the impact of that loss on the author's life. She also took us through the pandemic and showed us how people weren't just grieving loss because of COVID during COVID. People were suffering and grieving many other losses that happened in their lives. There were so many beautiful passages about grief in this book. On April 17th, 2020, the author wrote, "Do you also cry yourself to sleep? So often, I keep approaching okay, but I'm never fully there. I'll only ever be okay-adjacent. I'm everything-adjacent because words are hard to find these days. I'm living life-adjacent right now." To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/cec...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Armstrong

    Wow. This book. Just wow. Let me start this by saying Cecily Strong was already one of my favorite people in the world. The characters she plays on SNL are just the best, and she genuinely seems like an extremely kind and caring person. So, when she announced that she was releasing a book I was automatically enthusiastic to read it. What I didn’t know was how amazing it would be. Her writing skills are so spectacular, I can’t even describe the detail she goes into with each story she shares. And Wow. This book. Just wow. Let me start this by saying Cecily Strong was already one of my favorite people in the world. The characters she plays on SNL are just the best, and she genuinely seems like an extremely kind and caring person. So, when she announced that she was releasing a book I was automatically enthusiastic to read it. What I didn’t know was how amazing it would be. Her writing skills are so spectacular, I can’t even describe the detail she goes into with each story she shares. And what I really loved was how she described her experience and thoughts about COIVD because I’ve never truly understood how much It affected people with extreme anxiety, so it was very eye-opening for me. I knew going into this book that it was mainly about her grieving process after losing her cousin in a battle with cancer. Although, I didn’t know it would be the same type of cancer one of my close family friends has. That aspect made it very hard for me to get through this book. These pages were filled with many laughs, cries (the eleven pages broke me), and just life lessons. I can honestly say it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and to know it was written by someone I admire so much makes it even better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chloe (Always Booked)

    Thank you to LibroFM for a chance to listen to this memoir early! For me I think this was the wrong book at the wrong time. This is Cecily Strong's account of 2020 and the craziness it was. She lost a cousin to cancer and many near her were impacted by COVID and as I read this I am going through a really stressful life season so this kind of compounded the anxious feeling. There were some funny and hopeful parts but overall I think this book would be better for people who are fans of Cecily Stro Thank you to LibroFM for a chance to listen to this memoir early! For me I think this was the wrong book at the wrong time. This is Cecily Strong's account of 2020 and the craziness it was. She lost a cousin to cancer and many near her were impacted by COVID and as I read this I am going through a really stressful life season so this kind of compounded the anxious feeling. There were some funny and hopeful parts but overall I think this book would be better for people who are fans of Cecily Strong or people who are in a really secure and steady place and ready to reflect on a tough year!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Welsh

    This book immediately had me in tears and I’m not even exaggerating when I say I cried every single time I read it (well listened bc audiobook). I think it’s the mixture of honesty and comedy that makes me really vibe with her story telling. I love listening to other peoples COVID experiences. She refused to let complex and unique and lovely people be reduced to numbers during the pandemic. This book ripped my heart right open

  16. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Kacmarcik

    This book was not what I expected and I would echo the other reviews that say don't read it unless you're really ready to revisit what 2020 felt like for so many people. This really is a book about grief and trauma (Cecily has not had an easy life!!!) and although I didn't resonate with all of this, I feel like I can't rate someone writing so honestly about their life anything less than 5 stars! This book was not what I expected and I would echo the other reviews that say don't read it unless you're really ready to revisit what 2020 felt like for so many people. This really is a book about grief and trauma (Cecily has not had an easy life!!!) and although I didn't resonate with all of this, I feel like I can't rate someone writing so honestly about their life anything less than 5 stars!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Touching diary by Cecily Strong of SNL fame. 2020 begins with her cousin Owen’s death and the coronavirus pandemic happens. NYC is greatly affected and she stays at a place outside of the city. She gets the idea of writing a memoir and discusses her life.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    3.5 🌟 rounded up

  19. 5 out of 5

    Moorea

    This was not about what I thought it would be and maybe that’s why it didn’t hit home as much for me? Felt strange reading about covid from someone in nyc who left and had a very different experience than I did. Some parts of this were so beautiful but others just felt too specific and personal for relating.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sean Muller

    this book really was not for me. i got this just because i love cecily strong. i knew this was going to be a sad book going in (it’s really sad and melancholic) and i left disappointed. the big thing that really turned me off for this book was how this was written and structured. it’s not written like a lot of memoirs i’ve read (like educated and stray), it’s a lot more like a diary than an actual book. and while that gives it a more intimate and personal feel to it, it’s what ruins the book for this book really was not for me. i got this just because i love cecily strong. i knew this was going to be a sad book going in (it’s really sad and melancholic) and i left disappointed. the big thing that really turned me off for this book was how this was written and structured. it’s not written like a lot of memoirs i’ve read (like educated and stray), it’s a lot more like a diary than an actual book. and while that gives it a more intimate and personal feel to it, it’s what ruins the book for me. it rambles a LOT, and it talks about the same things a lot. that’s not a bad thing, but it made the book hard to read. another thing that really turned me off from enjoying this more was the structure. it goes from the present, to a couple months prior to the date she was writing, all the way to decades ago. it feels messy, it feels unfinished it some ways, it feels very repetitive. while this book did disappoint me, i’ll give it another chance in the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    junia

    So... I love Cecily Strong on SNL. And i remember in their last episode of the season in the spring of 2021, i remember seeing her tear up. I wondered why. I remembered that whole season, missing her presence. And i think for me, although this is a valuable memoir, i begin to wonder why is her experience being given a book deal? I don't think she'd disagree with that question and she does mention her privilege both in general and in that she was able to retreat to a forest Airbnb during the worst So... I love Cecily Strong on SNL. And i remember in their last episode of the season in the spring of 2021, i remember seeing her tear up. I wondered why. I remembered that whole season, missing her presence. And i think for me, although this is a valuable memoir, i begin to wonder why is her experience being given a book deal? I don't think she'd disagree with that question and she does mention her privilege both in general and in that she was able to retreat to a forest Airbnb during the worst of COVID... I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's a glimpse of one person's walk through loss in 2020, but I don't understand why this is the experience that gets a book deal. Is it well-written? Yes. Are there parcels of wisdom and perspective? Sure. Is it something I'd recommend to others to read? Not really. But i also feel super weird rating a memoir especially one that's super fresh.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Blumeyer

    This was a tough one to get through. In fairness, I listened to the audiobook and that may have impacted my rating, because it was difficult at times to listen to Cecily tell this story when she was still genuinely working through her grief. The chapters were disconnected and rambling, repetitive and oversimplified, and I kept waiting for a bigger theme to come up other than, “here’s a story about another person I know who died.” In places the story was raw, but it felt unedited, disorganized, a This was a tough one to get through. In fairness, I listened to the audiobook and that may have impacted my rating, because it was difficult at times to listen to Cecily tell this story when she was still genuinely working through her grief. The chapters were disconnected and rambling, repetitive and oversimplified, and I kept waiting for a bigger theme to come up other than, “here’s a story about another person I know who died.” In places the story was raw, but it felt unedited, disorganized, and honestly like a teenager’s diary.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brianna

    I feel like I got nothing from this memoir. I'm sure her grief was/is genuine and she put her all in this, but it was a hard miss for me. I feel like I got nothing from this memoir. I'm sure her grief was/is genuine and she put her all in this, but it was a hard miss for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party. An off-the-wall Jeanine Pirro. Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Cecily Strong can play anything and everything on “Saturday Night Live.” In THIS WILL ALL BE OVER SOON, we see how her anxieties and fears about her family, her job and the world at large would make lockdown, COVID-19 and the death of her favorite funny cousin even more painful and historic than she originally thought they would be. Written in diary-style entries starting in Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party. An off-the-wall Jeanine Pirro. Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Cecily Strong can play anything and everything on “Saturday Night Live.” In THIS WILL ALL BE OVER SOON, we see how her anxieties and fears about her family, her job and the world at large would make lockdown, COVID-19 and the death of her favorite funny cousin even more painful and historic than she originally thought they would be. Written in diary-style entries starting in March 2020, Strong brings us uneasily into her world of pain and her struggle to learn joy again. “I don’t know how to tell this story,” she begins, trying to show us that so much happened in such a short period of time that she isn’t quite sure where to dig in. Her cousin gets sick and dies from brain cancer. Her new boyfriend gets the virus. She goes into lockdown with two friends in an Airbnb in upstate New York --- and while she is there, Hal Willner, the inestimable and furiously creative songwriter/producer/writer/funny man, loses his life to the pandemic. Strong wants to live up to her actual name, but the constant influx of bad news wears away at whatever resolve and hope she is mustering while grieving big losses in her personal life. Strong is guarded as she tells the story of her cousin, Owen. She shares texts and tales about her relationship with him but never quite cements us to his image the way she does to her own foibles from the past, such as getting kicked out of high school and having to find a new school to attend, an arts school where she starts building the creative community of co-stars she calls “home.” The stories about her growth as a performer are the ones she seems most comfortable telling; through them, we get a deeper look into her warm and worried soul. Like Bo Burnham’s “Inside,” Strong tries to capture the raw feelings of overwhelmingness and fear that we’ve experienced over the last 18 months. We’ve all said goodbye to people, places and norms that we still haven’t figured out how to replace. Grieving is taking place, not in a vacuum but side by side with horror on a global scale. Add in climate change and political unrest, and you have a Tolstoy novel on your hands. Unfortunately, unlike Burnham’s show, Strong doesn’t quite grasp the bigger picture to which we all can relate through her personal lens. THIS WILL ALL BE OVER SOON maintains a sullen but hopeful sense of purpose as it moves through the year. Strong finds revelry in her friendships, warmth in her family relationships, happiness and whimsy in her tales of Owen, and abject fear in facing the restrictions she hopes will keep COVID from affecting any more loved ones in her life. It is an attempt to write from the moment without having the opportunity to look back on a completed situation --- the pandemic is still here, the losses are forever, and the trajectory of her career might be changing. However, it is in her most vulnerable moments that she slings an arm around our shoulders and reminds us that this is how life works. It’s uncomfortable and wondrous in equal measure. On June 14, 2020, she writes, “Today is the first day I wonder whether the ending to this story might be happy. And I don’t even want to say it out loud, but wouldn’t it be amazing, after all of these days in isolation trying to find magic and trying to learn how to grieve Owen and grieve Hal and just plain grieve…if maybe I get a happy ending?” In that moment, with her trusty canine Lucy by her side, she imagines that her boyfriend situation will work out and life still might have the spark she used to find in it. With these words, she clearly creates the prayer that all people have been speaking throughout this difficult time. If you like a good celebrity read, told in the voice of a perfectly neurotic and creative actor and writer, you will enjoy the many stories and references about everyone from Kobe Bryant to Lorne Michaels and Chris Redd. Her old boyfriends are outed, and some of those stories are hard to read as they contain a lot of pain and subordination to which we all can relate when looking back on bad relationships. Strong uses her personal lens to give the reader her take on this insane period. It is strongest felt when she is talking about her own life and her memories of growing up in a world that doesn’t exist anymore. THIS WILL ALL BE OVER SOON is a good and sincere first take on these pandemic times. I hope Strong finds her rainbow and her happy ending because we need her heartfelt, keenly observed humor now more than ever. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    Honestly, this may be the best book I’ve read this year. More on that in a minute… I’ve been a Cecily Strong fan for years - since the first time I saw her roll up to the Weekend Update desk as “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party.” (Learn a book, Seth.) If you told me she wrote a book about the history of stainless steel bath fixtures, I’d buy it. That said, there was no earthly possibility of me passing on her memoir, especially after recently tackling Colin Jost Honestly, this may be the best book I’ve read this year. More on that in a minute… I’ve been a Cecily Strong fan for years - since the first time I saw her roll up to the Weekend Update desk as “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party.” (Learn a book, Seth.) If you told me she wrote a book about the history of stainless steel bath fixtures, I’d buy it. That said, there was no earthly possibility of me passing on her memoir, especially after recently tackling Colin Jost’s book. Admittedly though, I thought this was going to be another laugh-out-loud, chronological origin story of an SNL cast member. It wasn’t. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of that and I think that’s why I’m enamored by it. So what *is* this book? It’s a Masterclass in vulnerability. It’s written by someone who is skilled at showing others humor and joy, but can’t find either herself because life isn’t always a 90 minute sketch comedy show, especially lately. Specifically, here’s why I loved this book…with intentional vagueness to avoid spoilers… (1) Her candid truth about COVID. For the better part of eighteen months, we’ve all been acting like COVID interrupted our life. In a lot of ways, it did; but in others, it wasn’t an interruption as much as it was a multiplier. Rather than substituting one lifestyle for another (one day I work from the office and the next I work from home), Cecily showed how COVID compounded the challenges that we were dealing with when COVID hit (in her case, grief and loss). Rather than it being a distraction, it just added unimaginable complication to the baggage we were already dealing with. It made life exponentially more messy — making the hard things harder while suffocating any of the coping mechanisms that were helping us get by. It was the saltiest salt in some already festering wounds. While I don’t mean to patronize her story, I really hope that 200 years from now, anthropologists find a copy of this book to understand what it felt like trying to survive a global pandemic. (2) How she shares her history. We learn about Cecily in the most non-linear way, which felt like art imitating life. The format of the book is largely a chronological series of diary-like essays beginning at the start of the pandemic lockdown. Some entries are very matter-of-factly set in the present, but others trigger a memory that takes the reader down a rabbit hole to an event in her past. An encounter with a stink bug as she’s writing triggers a thought of Zen Buddhism which evolves into a story about an exchange student she befriended in high school. This stream of consciousness style of storytelling is perfect because it’s how our minds work in real-life. If every autobiography from here on out is written this way, I’d never read anything else. (3) It’s like holding a mirror. This book isn’t one that will leave you laughing uncontrollably, but rather smirking from time to time because it is incredibly relatable. There’s a story about how the language learning app DuoLingo failed her in Ibiza or how there’s always one kid on a schoolyard playground that misses social cues. From the book’s highest of high points to its lowest of lows, you’ll find yourself in the stories in a way that is uniquely gratifying and affirming. I may not have a network TV paycheck, but I certainly felt seen. If you’re still reading this review, I’ll stop here so you can give this book the rest of your attention. You’ll be glad you did.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    Sorry, this is an absolute disaster. A rambling mess from an incredibly anxious woman who can't seem to put cohesive thoughts together. I was looking forward to funny insights into the star, never expecting it to be this bad, but it's almost unreadable. The main problem is her non-stop jumping back and forth in the timeline without making it clear what happens when, which is very confusing. Her cousin gets sick, COVID happens, she speaks at the funeral, she meets a new guy, she has to go to Calif Sorry, this is an absolute disaster. A rambling mess from an incredibly anxious woman who can't seem to put cohesive thoughts together. I was looking forward to funny insights into the star, never expecting it to be this bad, but it's almost unreadable. The main problem is her non-stop jumping back and forth in the timeline without making it clear what happens when, which is very confusing. Her cousin gets sick, COVID happens, she speaks at the funeral, she meets a new guy, she has to go to California, her cousin gets serious brain cancer, her new guy gets COVID, she moves out of town because she's too scared to live in her apartment in NYC during COVID, etc. I had to keep going back to figure out what was going on and when because she offered no help mixing everything together and out of order, even going back to rehash things to make it even more confusing. An editor should have pointed out that none of this made sense without context, there's absolutely nothing humorous, and that the story of her cousin's struggle with cancer would have been much stronger if it was done chronologically. Instead we get the ending in the first few pages, and by the time you're at the final pages she admits she doesn't know what to write. If she knows her own ending isn't good, why would we think it was good? Cecily Strong's last name is ironic because she comes across as the most insecure person in the world. Everything about COVID scared her, everything about her cousin's health challenges scared her, but everything about everyday life scares her. She has serious mental health problems, and while early in the book she tries to claim she wants to bring light to the subject this book instead just makes her look unqualified to carry out her job or personal relationships. I can't figure out why anyone would hire her or want to be around her after seeing how serious her anxiety issues are. Hopefully she gets some serious help but this explains why she isn't better used on SNL, where the live shows produce incredible stress. What upset me the most was that during the time period the book is written she went off to Canada (despite the borders being closed for COVID) and spent 11 week doing Schmigadoon. While she mentions leaving to do a TV series she's excited about, she doesn't say the name of the show nor anything about the making of it. WHY? Schmigadoon premiered before this book was released and it would have been a great tie-in to include details about it. But she thinks her blabbering about not liking rain is more important I guess. There's also very little about SNL here. ANY content would have added actual substance to the book instead of the verbal vomit that is on the pages. Some may argue that this is a heartwarming tribute to her cousin, who did a great job fighting cancer. But there's so little detail here beyond her saying how much she loved the guy that I didn't feel I understood why he was considered so great and she actually could have done a better tribute by writing a short magazine article about him. After 250 pages of all this I kept looking forward to it being done, telling myself "this will all be over soon." I don't think the title of the book was meant to be taken that way.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    Thank you to Libro.fm early listening program for the gifted audio copy. I wouldn't have picked up this book if not for a NYT article about it and the author Cecily Strong. I'm a long time fan of Saturday Night Live and was familiar with the comedian. I wasn't prepared for this memoir. Written in diary form, and narrated by Cecily she shares the loss of her beloved cousin, Owen, to brain cancer, and also the loss of so much more as we headed into the pandemic in early 2020. Strong was honest abo Thank you to Libro.fm early listening program for the gifted audio copy. I wouldn't have picked up this book if not for a NYT article about it and the author Cecily Strong. I'm a long time fan of Saturday Night Live and was familiar with the comedian. I wasn't prepared for this memoir. Written in diary form, and narrated by Cecily she shares the loss of her beloved cousin, Owen, to brain cancer, and also the loss of so much more as we headed into the pandemic in early 2020. Strong was honest about her fears and how she got the hell out of NYC. I was struck by her deep love for family and friends. I admit I found it all very well done, but then it ended in early 2021, when I too was hopeful that we now have a vaccine for Covid 19. Just a few months later with he Delta variant and the lower than anticipated numbers of fully vaccinated adults I wonder will this all be over soon? Kudos to Cecily for being brave and writing and sharing her story. I want to have hope for all of us.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Deedee

    i was highly anticipating this book, because i think cecily strong is one of, if not the strongest cast member on SNL. she definitely pulls a sketch together even if she isn't in the forefront of it, and seeing her successes over the years has been so great. as funny as she is, this book is not necessarily funny, but rather a deeply personal and honest exploration of loss and grief. i did not expect to relate to cecily as much as i did, but i could identify with so much of what she wrote about i i was highly anticipating this book, because i think cecily strong is one of, if not the strongest cast member on SNL. she definitely pulls a sketch together even if she isn't in the forefront of it, and seeing her successes over the years has been so great. as funny as she is, this book is not necessarily funny, but rather a deeply personal and honest exploration of loss and grief. i did not expect to relate to cecily as much as i did, but i could identify with so much of what she wrote about in this book, whether it was social anxiety, complicated family relationships, or having a hard time finding your place in youth as well as adulthood. she has experienced a nearly astonishing amount of loss over her life, and i agree with another reviewer that recommended keeping tissues nearby as you read this. i really loved this book and i'll gladly snatch up anything that cecily writes in the future.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Devin Boehmer

    Really enjoyed this, although it was very sad and I don’t think this book is for everyone. I loved the diary-entry style and thought it worked great as an audiobook, although I don’t know if I’d have liked it as much in print. This is a great story about intense grief and being human, and having to deal with the shit show that was 2020. The March - September 2020 timeline really felt like a COVID time capsule. Although I don’t know Cecily or her family I felt very attached to them by the end of Really enjoyed this, although it was very sad and I don’t think this book is for everyone. I loved the diary-entry style and thought it worked great as an audiobook, although I don’t know if I’d have liked it as much in print. This is a great story about intense grief and being human, and having to deal with the shit show that was 2020. The March - September 2020 timeline really felt like a COVID time capsule. Although I don’t know Cecily or her family I felt very attached to them by the end of the book. I can see how some people may be turned off by the privileged aspects of Cecily’s story (not everyone could just up and leave NYC and retreat to the Hudson valley during the pandemic) but I wasn’t bothered and got a lot of enjoyment out of just learning about her and hearing her verbalize her thoughts.

  30. 4 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    An incredibly touching memoir from SNL actress Cecily Strong about her experience grieving the death of her cousin from brain cancer and her thoughts from the past year of surviving and working during the pandemic. This was such a real, relatable and moving memoir that gives people permission to feel all the feels and that it's okay to not be okay. Excellent on audio, with a bonus track included at the end of the book of her cousin's song, "Do as it may." I really enjoyed this book a lot and rec An incredibly touching memoir from SNL actress Cecily Strong about her experience grieving the death of her cousin from brain cancer and her thoughts from the past year of surviving and working during the pandemic. This was such a real, relatable and moving memoir that gives people permission to feel all the feels and that it's okay to not be okay. Excellent on audio, with a bonus track included at the end of the book of her cousin's song, "Do as it may." I really enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it for fans of other coronavirus memoirs like Amanda Kloots's "Live your life." Favorite quote: "It's beyond frustrating. It's exhausting and it's devastating and everyone is mourning. And we can't truly express our sympathies to each other because we are still grieving ourselves."

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