Saturday, 3 June 2017

Grace Notes

Author: Katey Sagal
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 245
Source: Local Public Library
Publisher: Gallery Books
First Published: March 21, 2017
First Line: "I am getting older."

Book Description from GoodReadsGripping, singular, and gorgeously reflective, Grace Notes is a memoir told in essays by beloved actress, Hollywood veteran, and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal—perfect for fans of Mary Louise Parker’s Dear Mr. You and Patti Smith’s M Train.

Popular and award-winning star Katey Sagal chronicles the rollercoaster ride of her life in this series of evocative and beautifully written vignettes, resulting in a life story recounted unlike any other Hollywood memoir you’ve read before.

Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children.

Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age fifty-two with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. Intimate, candid, and offering an inside look at a remarkable life forged within the entertainment industry, Grace Notes offers unprecedented access to the previously unknown life of a woman whom audiences have loved for over thirty years.

My Rating: 3 stars

My Review: Grace Notes is group of essays that look at Sagal's life as a musician, an actress, an addict, and most especially, a mother. She's a proud mom of three and candid about her struggle with addiction and her struggle to make it big. I was surprised at some of her celebrity connections including singing back-up for some famous women, her celebrity romances and a friendship with a certain awkward and, at one point, sensational star of children's TV and movies. 

And yet I can't say that I loved this memoir. It's much drier than I had expected and while she touches on some serious issues, it felt like she kept her readers at an arm's length even though it has an inner monologue feel to it. In these essays, she has snippets of lyrical, almost poetic, one-line prose scattered throughout but these one-liners felt a little odd - like she was adding song lyrics to her life story - and quickly became overdone. 

Grace Notes details Sagal's youth as the eldest of five kids growing up with a depressed mother and a erratic director father as well as her rise to fame as a musician and later actress. Some parts were interesting but others I struggled to get through. If you're looking for an insider's look at life on Married, With Children or Sons of Anarchy sets you'll be disappointed. She just touches on her experiences on-set with much of the book being devoted as a love note to her three kids. That is lovely and a touching way to honour her children -- but not necessarily interesting for people outside of her family.

Her life has been filled with tragedy and loss as well as fame and success. I applaud her for sharing her personal losses and struggles with her readers. That takes guts and Sagal has proven she has that in spades. She has led an interesting life and while I'm still a fan of her acting work I can't say I feel the same about this book.

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