Wise Girl: What I've Learned About Life, Love, and Loss

Overview

Everyone knows Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano on the HBO hit television series The Sopranos. But there's so much more to her, as her candid, outspoken autobiography proves. In Wise Girl, Jamie-Lynn reveals both the perks and the pressures that have come with fame, and how uncertain, fearful times have made her stronger, more confident, and able to face life's challenges. Writing openly and from the heart, she describes the emotional and physical toll taken when Lyme disease left the healthy 19-year-old ...
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Overview

Everyone knows Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano on the HBO hit television series The Sopranos. But there's so much more to her, as her candid, outspoken autobiography proves. In Wise Girl, Jamie-Lynn reveals both the perks and the pressures that have come with fame, and how uncertain, fearful times have made her stronger, more confident, and able to face life's challenges. Writing openly and from the heart, she describes the emotional and physical toll taken when Lyme disease left the healthy 19-year-old paralyzed at the height of The Soprano's popularity; an obsession with her weight that nearly destroyed her career; and the dark side of overnight success. Her story will both surprise and inspire you. For this wise girl, the key to success isn't just what's on the outside -- it's using your brains, going with your gut, and learning from your experiences, including the mistakes, every day.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Everybody knows me as Meadow Soprano, but there's a real girl behind that character," announces Sigler at the start of her chatty memoir. While the book will appeal to teen fans of HBO's The Sopranos, aspiring actors will also appreciate her direct discussion of what it takes to succeed in show business. This 20-year-old Long Island native offers readers insight into the "real girl" with a candid if cliche-riddled commentary on her life, beginning with her childhood, when she made her first foray into acting through community theater. A perfectionist, Sigler as a youngster felt she never lived up to her self-imposed high expectations and notes, "With my self-image so fragile, the door was wide open for problems to develop. My eating disorder just snuck up on me, but once it was there, it was like Alice falling down the white rabbit's hole." She discusses behavior that resulted in a 30-pound weight loss in seven months, as well as the steps she took to control her disorder. She also fills many pages with particulars about The Sopranos, describing how she landed her role, her relationships with the other actors, her favorite scenes and her sudden celebrity ("Someone pinch me 'cause this couldn't be happening!") Sigler emerges as a likable person as she dispenses tidbits of advice in a conversational tone. An afterword presents information on identifying and addressing eating disorders. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743453240
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 0.41 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 8.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheryl Berk most recently collaborated with Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn DiScala on her memoir, Wise Girl, and with Britney Spears on her autobiography, Stages. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Peter, and their own little miracle, daughter Carrie.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

So there I was on top of the world: starring on The Sopranos, appearing on magazine covers and talk shows, making my Broadway debut, releasing a record, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous on the red carpet. "Jamie, you are so lucky," people would tell me. And you know what? I felt pretty lucky. I remember thinking, "This can't be real. This can't be happening to me, Jamie-Lynn Sigler from Long Island. It must be a dream."

Well, I guess I spoke too soon, because the dream became a nightmare. Just as my career was soaring, my personal life came crashing down around me and I had to pick up the pieces. At twenty-one years old, I've probably seen and experienced more than most people twice my age. Why me? I've asked myself that a lot. Why did I almost starve and exercise myself to death? Why did I let other people's opinions shatter my self-esteem? Why was I suddenly left paralyzed by a disease that no doctors could diagnose?

But I also asked that question during the good times: Why was I chosen — out of dozens of girls — to play Meadow on The Sopranos? Why have I been so fortunate in my acting and singing career? Why am I blessed with friends and family who stick by me, no matter what?

Now I'm asking "Why me?" when it comes to writing this book (and maybe you're asking, "So why her?). That's a little easier to answer (all of the above I'll tackle in the upcoming chapters, I promise). Everybody knows me as Meadow Soprano, but there's a real girl behind that character. And trust me, at times, my real life has been just as dramatic (if not more so) than any TV show. I have stories and advice you might want or even need to hear. Which doesn't mean I'm going to lecture you like a teacher or a parent, because that's just not me. But I do enjoy sharing my life and I always have a lot to say. My best friends will vouch for me on this — I never shut up.

I'm going to tell you the way I see things now, having survived high school, heartache (and you thought Meadow had problems with Jackie, Jr.?), even life-threatening illness. I've made mistakes, and that's okay. Mistakes are only a bad thing if you fail to learn something about yourself and the world in the process.

As I write this book and relive my experiences, I can see that I'm not the same person I was three years ago. When I watch the first-season episodes of The Sopranos, I think, "Who is that girl?" I was so wide-eyed and naive back then. Now, I'm a stronger person, and I'd like to think I'm smarter, too. I'm not talking 1600s-on-the-SATs smart, I'm talking life-smart. I was thrust into an adult world at a very young age — I've been performing since I was eight. Maybe all I've been through has taught me to appreciate things more — simple things, like sharing quesadillas on the set with my "mom" Edie Falco, or hanging out on Christmas break with my best buddies and laughing at each other's dumb jokes. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not grateful for all that I have and all that I'm doing. But beyond the success, I've also been given this great gift: As an entertainer, I get to reach people and maybe, just maybe, make a difference in their lives.

So why me? Well, why not me? I'm not all that different from you, except that I now know some pretty important things that they don't teach you in school. I hope you'll laugh, learn, and maybe even cry a little when you read my book. Or at the very least, say, "Wow! I never knew that about Meadow!" I'll do my best to tell it like it is and it was.

Copyright © 2002 by Jamie-Lynn Singler

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 You Gotta Start Somewhere 5
2 Love, Loss, and a Dangerous Decision 17
3 A Slow Form of Suicide 27
4 Joining "The Family" 43
5 The Skinny on the Set 55
6 Living Large 75
7 Head Games 97
8 Mission Impossible 107
9 A Whole New Tune 121
10 What I Know Now 133
Afterword: Getting Involved 141
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Introduction

Introduction

So there I was on top of the world: starring on The Sopranos, appearing on magazine covers and talk shows, making my Broadway debut, releasing a record, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous on the red carpet. "Jamie, you are so lucky," people would tell me. And you know what? I felt pretty lucky. I remember thinking, "This can't be real. This can't be happening to me, Jamie-Lynn Sigler from Long Island. It must be a dream."

Well, I guess I spoke too soon, because the dream became a nightmare. Just as my career was soaring, my personal life came crashing down around me and I had to pick up the pieces. At twenty-one years old, I've probably seen and experienced more than most people twice my age. Why me? I've asked myself that a lot. Why did I almost starve and exercise myself to death? Why did I let other people's opinions shatter my self-esteem? Why was I suddenly left paralyzed by a disease that no doctors could diagnose?

But I also asked that question during the good times: Why was I chosen -- out of dozens of girls -- to play Meadow on The Sopranos? Why have I been so fortunate in my acting and singing career? Why am I blessed with friends and family who stick by me, no matter what?

Now I'm asking "Why me?" when it comes to writing this book (and maybe you're asking, "So why her?). That's a little easier to answer (all of the above I'll tackle in the upcoming chapters, I promise). Everybody knows me as Meadow Soprano, but there's a real girl behind that character. And trust me, at times, my real life has been just as dramatic (if not more so) than any TV show. I have stories and advice you might want or even need to hear. Which doesn't mean I'm going to lecture you like a teacher or a parent, because that's just not me. But I do enjoy sharing my life and I always have a lot to say. My best friends will vouch for me on this -- I never shut up.

I'm going to tell you the way I see things now, having survived high school, heartache (and you thought Meadow had problems with Jackie, Jr.?), even life-threatening illness. I've made mistakes, and that's okay. Mistakes are only a bad thing if you fail to learn something about yourself and the world in the process.

As I write this book and relive my experiences, I can see that I'm not the same person I was three years ago. When I watch the first-season episodes of The Sopranos, I think, "Who is that girl?" I was so wide-eyed and naive back then. Now, I'm a stronger person, and I'd like to think I'm smarter, too. I'm not talking 1600s-on-the-SATs smart, I'm talking life-smart. I was thrust into an adult world at a very young age -- I've been performing since I was eight. Maybe all I've been through has taught me to appreciate things more -- simple things, like sharing quesadillas on the set with my "mom" Edie Falco, or hanging out on Christmas break with my best buddies and laughing at each other's dumb jokes. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not grateful for all that I have and all that I'm doing. But beyond the success, I've also been given this great gift: As an entertainer, I get to reach people and maybe, just maybe, make a difference in their lives.

So why me? Well, why not me? I'm not all that different from you, except that I now know some pretty important things that they don't teach you in school. I hope you'll laugh, learn, and maybe even cry a little when you read my book. Or at the very least, say, "Wow! I never knew that about Meadow!" I'll do my best to tell it like it is and it was.

Copyright © 2002 by Jamie-Lynn Singler

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    Great read

    I loved 'Wise Girl' it was so honest that i was shocked. I have a friend who suffers from an eating disorder and throughout the whole book i was thinking to myself, 'that's her! that's just like what she has done!' i finished it in just two days because i couldn't put it down. and after i finsihed it, i went out and got another copy of it for my friend. in my opinion, everyone (boy or girl) should read this book. lots of good topics will be opened up for discussion after reading this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2002

    Jamie-Lynn

    I thought that the book Wise Girl is an amazing book that every teen girl and even boys should read. I am amazed how a young actress who you would think would of had the best life in the world has gone throught most everything one teen can go throught. She tells her story and we as a teen I can relate to her. I am greatful that their is someone out there who is not afarid to admit that she has made mistakes and tell about them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2002

    from her pen to my heart- this book rocks

    Never before has an actress put forth the energy and dedication to tell a story like this. Jamie speaks from the heart, from experience, and from her own errors and inner-strengths. She's able to tell her story (a story that many of us can relate to) with honesty and intergrity and I think it shows in this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2002

    Eating Disorders

    This is a very good book to help understand or get help from a girl who has had anorexia and excessive exercising and health problems. It also deals with the fate of stardom and what is expected of actresses in hollywood. Its a good book for many teenagers, even if you havent had an eating disorder (which is the main subject matter of the book) just to learn how to stay fit and healthy and happy. Jamie Lynn tells it like a big sister, and I definitley found this to be a good book as well as autobiography.

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