DR. MEL'S MESSAGE - From my novels to my other projects, no telling what you will read. This is the only place you will get to read about how I developed a screenplay into a novel and what is the driving force. I will talk about many things from films to books to acting to producing. It really will depend on where my mind takes me. I hope you will join me on this journey.
Struggling New York actress Alison has an outwardly good life: toned body, plenty of dates, a comfortable daily regimen. Still, she feels stagnant, empty, and as blocked as the river view from her Upper West Side apartment. Now divorced and in her mid-thirties, she has never gotten past an early childhood trauma of being torn away from her brother and sister when her parents separated. Since then, nothing sticks. No one stays. She craves a sense of permanence, a place to call home.
To shake things up, Alison makes a bold, possibly foolhardy move--she relocates to bureaucracy-riddled Rome, where she barely speaks the language, knows no one except the elusive Casanova who gave her one vacation night of pleasure, and has no acting work waiting.
In a series of tragi-comic encounters, she tries to settle into an exotic culture, looks for amore in all the wrong places, and begins to break into the acting world.
After a serious accident, Alison's hopes for an Italian fantasy life come crashing down. Back in New York, the personal tragedies and career obstacles pile up until salvation arrives from an unexpected source.
A Place Called Grace is a humorous, hopeful, bittersweet contemporary memoir that shows how a seemingly unmoored existence can find its safe, solid center after all.
A REVIEW BY JESSICA BELMONT, WRITER, BOOK BLOGGER & CHRONIC PAIN WARRIOR
A Place Called Grace is a memoir, which is not something I typically grab for, but thought it sounded worth a read. It was an interesting look at family trauma, separation, connection, love and belonging.
Alison Rand opens herself up to us and allows us to see the painful details of her past. But it isn't all doom and gloom, with some funny accounts of adventures and relationships. I enjoyed the breakup of pain and disappointment with some lighthearted humor. This memoir drew me in and kept me interested all the way through. Alison Rand's story is beautiful and definitely one I recommend reading. Jessica Belmont's site
.Books about getting to know who you are a sort of antithesis to #EatPrayLove - A Lonely Planet guide to Rome regarding Italian men, dating and getting by. Making mistakes, self-discovery and finding meaning to life that relates to the self. There had an interestingly bizarre likeness to Netflix's Crazy Ex-girlfriend, where a major decision to uproot and start again elsewhere is loosely masked in chasing after a potential man. Then throw into the mix a semblance of Reese Witherspoon's grieving journey in her film 'Wild'.
This book is about finding yourself and overcoming personal challenges, braving a very different dating world and mastering the art of how to deal with Italian plumbers and electricians! See Hazel's full blog about A Place Called Grace and other titles here.
Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2018
A Place Called Grace is a brave yet vulnerable, witty, poignant, and strikingly honest account of the writer's journey to find her path to a new chapter in her life. The conversational syle of writing immediatley draws you in to Alison's world and experience and her story becomes instantly relatable. I could not put it down!
Once in a rare while a memoir comes along that is so searingly honest it pierces your subconscious like a laser, plunging itself deep into the defenses that allow you lie to yourself-- and that let you sleepwalk through your life. A Place Called Grace by Alison Rand is such a book. From the first page it will have its way with you, and not loosen its grip till the very end. And even then--it will haunt you, and change you. Very different from "Eat, Pray Love." You will see why. What Alison did to heal her life is real and doesn't end with the "finding a man" solution. Her disappointments are palpable--and very relatable. Ultimately you will want to be her friend, to comfort her. Most of all, you will have entered into another person's soul. That's a lot to get from a memoir. Read it! Love it! Thank me!
Candid. Flowing. Direct. I felt her frustration. Alison has courageously written a story of struggle against forces of life not of her own making. I wanted to keep reading because I wanted her to win. I felt the pain of her youth. I wanted life to make it right, to balance the scales. It kept me going. A beautiful woman. Italy. Intimacy. Handsome men. Movie sets. Acting. Sex. But what of it? On the surface, it sounded like a life of glamour. She revealed it to be a myth. To a guy, it sounded sexy. But to the woman living it… it wasn’t. How does that work for her? Will that help her find the key to unlock her anxieties and insecurities? She didn’t lose me by writing about layers of mental gyrations looking for an unlocked door in her mind. No, the words and actions were real and lean and paced in a cadence that kept me guessing when the next cycle of pain and pleasure would turn. And when her words took me into another day of disappointment I wanted to reach out and hug her. For in her candor she made me care for her because she was authentic. The gift she gave me with this book is the feeling of compassion.
Alison Rand has written a brave, introspective book about themes intrinsic to many of us: family trauma, separation, the longing for connection , love and belonging, no matter where you are. While recounting the painful details of her childhood, she is open and giving to the reader and not self conscious about sharing her disappointment and pain. You'll also get some great chuckles. The accounts of her Roman adventures and relationships with a number of men while she lived in Italy is not only poignant but had me laughing. I read Alison's book when I myself needed comfort after a traumatic incident in my own life. Alison's book felt like being with a good friend, understanding, warm and oh so human.
"A Place Called Grace" is simultaneously illusive and yet within each person's grasp. This duality captures the contrasting struggles of life in today's world. Alison's ability to observe herself and others is as finely honed as the sharpest knife in the draw. She is complex and courageous yet direct, honest, loving and available while trying to find her way in a world that lacks the integrity that is integral to her essence. Alison is not asking so much from life. She seeks and asks for something as simple as grace.
Alison's memoir is a very candid, honest and, oftentimes, humorous look at her life! At the same time, I was extremely moved by her losses, health issues, a "geographic," and all she endured, during this chapter, in her life. I admire Alison's courage, to write about these events, and despite several tragic blows, she managed to get to the other side, with great insight, wisdom, and strength. She is very resilient, and we all have something to learn, from her experience.
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2018
This book will draw you right into it, providing a mental image of the people and places mentioned, it even gives a sense of how the main character feels and the fact that it’s a true story makes it so easy to relate to. The message I got from the story was to be persistent in following your dreams. The struggles to success are ilustrated very clearly because in life nothing is easy, I’m sure other could relate as well. A Must Read!!!!
A fast-paced, well-written, lay-it-bare memoir that balances alienation, loneliness, and loss with a sense of purpose, a tough-as-nails-actress core, and a certain game optimism. Really quite intimate and engaging, with the added benefit of offering an American ex-pat's view on life and love in Italy.
Alison was born and raised in Manhattan where she currently lives. She is a licensed Master of Social Work, and while not working in the field at the moment, continues to take continuing education classes to keep up.
She has been an actress, mostly in commercials, and an advertising copywriter.
Alison is an avid dog person and plans for her dog to become a therapy animal to those in need. In her spare time, she continues to take Italian classes in hope of becoming more proficient. She is also an exercise enthusiast, especially hiking and skiing.