This Will All Be Over Soon: A Memoir by Cecily Strong

By Cecily Strong

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.

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. 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.


“A devastatingly timely memoir.” — Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire

“[A] surprisingly fast-paced book that not only reads like a personal diary but is also universal enough in its description of the overwhelming anxiety of dealing with the unknown of a novel, world-changing virus to hit home for a massive amount of readers who have, in the past year and a half, suddenly experienced many of the same emotions. Strong may have originally written This Will All Be Over Soon for herself as a way to grieve and survive, but it ultimately works as a beacon of hope for a brighter future with the people we love. For that reason alone, it’s precisely the book we all need right now.” — Scott Neumyer, Shondaland

“Earlier this year, we discovered Cecily Strong has impeccable aim when she flung wine over her shoulder and repeatedly splashed Colin Jost on Saturday Night Live, all while singing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as Jeanine Pirro. But with her new memoir, This Will All Be Over Soon, we learn that the Schmigadoon! star also has a gift for beautiful prose.” — Patrick Ryan, USA Today

"Almost more common now than the one-hour stand-up special is the comedian memoir. Or the collection of slight if witty essays or (more rarely) mildly satirical or oddball short stories. The nonfiction often traces the comedian’s path to comedy, when it was they first realized they could be funny for a living. Beyond professional obligation or a large advance, there’s little sense from the writer that they needed to write the book. That’s partly why Cecily Strong's new memoir feels so notable. This Will All Be Over Soon details the Saturday Night Live cast member’s grieving of her cousin Owen, who died in early 2020 at age 30 due to cancer. After Owen’s death, Strong left New York City—during the pandemic’s early surge—and wrote the book in an isolated cabin upstate; its diary-like passages reflect the immediacy of the emotions she conveys." — Laura Adamczyk and Saloni Gajjar, The A.V. Club

Cecily Strong. Simon & Schuster, $ (272p) ISBN 978-1982168315