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Check It Out

Courier Article by Pam Locker
Sunday, January 14, 2007

Women's Stories Come with a Set of Resolutions

What did women write about in 2006? Scanning the year-end bestseller charts, I found an assortment of titles. And, for those who have procrastinated in making their New Year's resolutions, I've included a few suggestions.

On the Couch by Lorraine Bracco (G. P. Putnam's Sons).

The Academy-Award nominated actress, best known for her role as psychiatrist Dr. Melfi on the HBO series The Sopranos, has penned a gutsy and funny autobiography.

Being voted the "ugliest girl in sixth grade" didn't stop her from becoming a top fashion model in Paris or working her way up the ladder in the film industry. And even though her tempestuous marriage to actor Harvey Keitel and the ensuing five-year custody battle for her daughter nearly bankrupted her, she has found financial security and acclaim through The Sopranos.

Originally asked to read for the role of Carmela, she fought for the part of Dr. Melfi and has used her own history of depression – which she deals with honestly – to flesh out the character. The American Psychoanalytic Association has honored her for creating "the most credible psychoanalyst ever to appear in the cinema or on television," and she is often "consulted" for her "professional" advice.

Resolution: Don't give up.

Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers by Elizabeth Edwards (Broadway Books).

Having come away from the 2004 election with a mixed view of the wife of the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, I almost didn't pick up this heartfelt biography. But I am glad I did.

I knew that Elizabeth Edwards was so devastated by the accidental death of her sixteen-year old son that she underwent fertility treatments at age 48 in order to have more children. But I didn't appreciate the fact that she had long ago traded in her legal career for a fulfilling life as a full-time mom. Her house had become the center of firstborn Wade's lively circle of friends, and the resulting silence was devastating.

Elizabeth emerges from these pages as a warm, vibrant woman whose primary focus is creating family wherever she is – in her community or on the campaign trail.

Resolution: Cherish your friends.

Extreme: My Autobiography by Sharon Osbourne (Springboard Press).

This no-holds-barred memoir is U.K.'s top-selling biography of all time.

Sharon's father was one of Britain's top rock promoters, so she grew up in the raucous world of rock music. She dropped out of school to join the business and by her early 20s was managing the American west coast operations.

She met her match in Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, an artistic genius from an impoverished background who had the same sense of humor and similar tastes for drugs and alcohol. Their marriage has been a rollercoaster ride, tempered for Sharon when her children were born but continuing for Ozzy until sobriety three years ago.

If you ever watched "The Osbournes" or owned a Black Sabbath album, read this book. If not, avoid it like the plague. Rated R for language and adult situations.

Pam Locker is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.