“I was a horrible, horrible child,” said actress Marianne Leone about her upbringing, while speaking with Jim Braude on “Greater Boston.” A Boston native herself, Leone spent her early years eager to blend and quick to embarrass by a mother she considered un-American.

“I wanted Donna Reed,” said Leone, “I wanted her to… speak in a melodious voice and make horrible Jell-O molds.”

Best known for her portrayal of Christopher Moltisanti’s mother on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” Leone had plenty from which to draw, both professionally and personally, to pen her memoir “Ma Speaks Up: And a First Generation Daughter Talks Back.”

Leone describes the book as a vessel by which to spend more time with a deceased family member and, in it, she examines a constantly evolving relationship between mother and daughter.

“My mother was really singular, she was really memorable,” said Leone. “When I went through my own rebellious stage, the spillover happened and I started to realize that she was actually really funny.”

That humor often manifested itself in the form of cultural differences and familial dysfunction. “I had to take my mother and say, ‘Don’t say the f-word,’” said Leone, recounting the first meeting between her parents and those of her husband, actor Chris Cooper. The “f-word” remained unuttered, even when the dinner party devolved into a debate over euthanasia. Another instance featured a rare compliment from Leone’s mother regarding her daughter’s attire.

“She hated the way I dressed from when I was a teenager,” said Leone, “One day, I wore an actual form-fitting dress and [my mother] said, ‘You lookin’ nice, like a prostitute.’”

Learning to communicate with her mother helped Leone tremendously when her own child was born. Leone and Cooper’s son, Jesse, suffered from cerebral palsy before his sudden death at the age of seventeen.

“Jesse and my mother were really close,” said Leone, “and it touched me, because he was non-verbal and she had trouble with the English language.”

The author of “Ma Speaks Up” became an outspoken ma herself during the 2016 presidential campaign, authoring a Boston Globe article entitled “Donald Trump Doesn’t Have a Clue About My Son.”

“It was when [Trump] mocked that reporter with a disability and whose hands were almost exactly the way my son’s hands were,” explained Leone, “Hillary [Clinton] was so keyed in to disability… that’s what broke my heart the most [election] night.”

Asked whether she resents parents who presume to understand her experience without having endured such a tragedy themselves, Leone responded, “I get that you don’t get it.” Though she struggled to understand and identify with her own mother while growing up, becoming a parent revealed a great deal to Leone.

“I think that once you have a child, your whole life takes on a tectonic shift where you imagine all kinds of terrifying possibilities,” she said, “As it’s happening, you’re just in it and you fight.”