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Gracefully Gone Paperback – 5 Jun 2013
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About the Author
You know me from CBS’s Jericho, the only television show in a decade to be renewed after cancellation due to popular fan response. You also know me from the 141 episodes of primetime television that I have done in my twenty-year career: From Lorna Devon on NBC’s long running soap opera Another World for which I was nominated twice and won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Younger Leading Actress to starring in television series such as TNT’s Bull, NBC’s Cold Feet, to name a few. I am highly recognizable for my roles in CBS’s CSI and Two And A Half Men, NBC’s Law And Order; Criminal Intent, Crossing Jordan, USA’s SUITS and the feature film National Treasure 2, Book Of Secrets. I have recently recurred on ABC FAMILY’s Nine Lives Of Chloe King and USA’s Common Law. You will see me very soon playing Talia Hale in the much anticipated flashback episode of MTV’s Teen Wolf. It brings me back to my home network where I began my career during my college years at NYU, as the hostess of the iconic popular MTV game show Remote Control alongside co-host Colin Quinn. My father was Matthew Louis Coppola Sr. He was born October 30, 1942 and died January 13, 1991. Everything in between these dates was a life well lived and well loved. According to the people who knew him best my father had a great sense of humor and a childlike sense of fun. He was a great athlete, a hard worker and a terrific friend. He was a pied piper to all children, a supportive, loyal husband, a dreamer, an actor and a present, fair and loving parent.
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It's a situation almost everybody can relate to. Lucky people, who haven't lost a loved one to a disease, be it cancer, Alzheimer's or any other life-changing and -taking illness! But even then, it is possible to feel for the 12 year old girl who tries to belong while her emotional vulnerability - having to deal with the fear of losing her father - makes her "a gazelle with a twisted ankle lying just outside a lion's den" (p. 37). Or with the teenager who is desperately trying to find an anchor. Or, of course, the young woman of 22 years, who tends to her father in the final five months of his life, torn between nerve-wracking dreams and most precious moments like a father's smile, that keep one going in such a situation which would consume everybody, let alone a young adult who already lost her childhood to the impending loss. As Alicia puts it: "Today was a hard one: A good one because I got to spend all day with my father but a hard one because I got to spend all day with my father." (p. 121).
"Gracefully Gone" is split in four parts, the memories of her father, which are interspersed throughout the book, her own recalling the years from 1980 (when he was diagnosed with brain cancer) to August 1990, her journal from August 1990 to January 1991, and an epilogue 2013.
While reading this book, I partly felt like watching a movie, or reading a novel and I had to remind myself that it is in fact a true story. Not because it's so unreal - it isn't, as I stated above - but because it's written in such a nonchalant, direct, non-artificial way, that it was as easy and entertaining to read as a novel should be. It made me not want to lay the book aside until I finished it. Although the whole situation is, of course, sad and partly tragic - you probably will cry, at least once! - , this book is far from being a tragedy. Be prepared to burst out laughing because of a funny turn you weren't expecting, a phrasing that puts sassy teenage Alicia right in front of your mind's eye, or because of dry wit shining forth. Something will make you laugh or smile even in the chapters about the gravest and most sorrowful times (to pick just one cue: nickname; p. 130).
One cannot possible miss that Alicia has written this book from her heart. Her love for her father shines out of and stands strongly behind every page. The honesty and depth of emotion in "Gracefully Gone" will certainly touch your heart.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is not just some actress's memoir about auditions and awards shows. This is pure love between a child and parent poured out onto the page. I think it's a must read.
I found this book to be emotionally endearing and real. I felt like she was telling my story. Alicia writes how I would speak; in a sense, she is kind of like me. At other times, I found parts of the book to be hysterically funny. Coppola's sense of humor and her ability to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them is refreshing. Her comedic writing/timing is if you will a gift. Readers will be surprised with a chuckle in the midst of reading "Gracefully Gone." Coppola has a natural gift for writing the humor in a bad situation. Laughter after all, is the best medicine and in dying there's not always sadness. Alicia has a natural gift for pointing out the irony and absurdity of life. Absurdities can be pretty damn funny, and sometimes can be the only things that save us during pain.
Since reading this amazing love story between a dying father and a daughter, I've been able to terms with my own past. We all go through death, dying and pain in different ways, in reading "Gracefully Gone" I can forgive my mom. I've since given her this book to read with a lovely note "Gracefully Gone" is not about a death but about a journey. I forgive you."
Congratulations to Alicia, I believe everything does happen for a reason. Your father would be so proud.
It remains the highest rated book I have ever read.