Excerpt: 'Wise Girl' by 'Sopranos' Star

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.

Excerpted from Wise Girl: What I Learned About Life, Love and Loss. Used with permission from Pocket Books, Copyright 2002 by Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

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