Friday, January 13, 2017

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist
by Carrie Fisher [Biography Fisher] 

Following the unexpected and saddening loss of actress, author and activist Carrie Fisher at the end of 2016, I eagerly sought out her final autobiographical book, The Princess Diarist, which came out just months before her death. I was a huge fan of her two previous autobiographies — Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic — particularly in audiobook form, read by the actress herself. She’s had a wild and crazy life, filled both with international fame and with drug addiction, mental illness and an immense number of personal neuroses. Her previous introspective works covered her entire life, with her work on Star Wars being an important element, but not necessarily the primary focus.

With The Princess Diarist, Fisher tackles her experiences in “A Galaxy Far, Far Away…” more directly. Since repeating her role as Princess (now General) Leia Organa in 2015’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Fisher uncovered a set of personal journals she kept during the 1976 filming of the original 1977 Star Wars (now called Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). For The Princess Diarist, Fisher spends about 70% of the book reminiscing about the casting and filming of Star Wars: A New Hope, with liberal references to the other Star Wars films in which she has appeared. The other 30% is her sharing the actual content of her original 1976 journals. The biggest revelation in The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s admitting that she (19 at the time) and Harrison Ford (34 at the time) had an ongoing physical relationship during the filming of the first movie. Her journal entries at that time are filled with self-doubt, confusion, free-floating anxiety, and occasionally witty poetry.

I’m not sure what I was expecting with The Princess Diarist. As a long-standing Star Wars fan, I was hoping for insight into her time filming the saga. But a large portion of this book turns into a bogged-down soap opera of relationships that should never have happened. This is an enjoyable book, in the end, but if you find the concept of a sexual relationship between movie co-stars with a 15-year age difference to be a little skeevy, you may want to avoid this one. Having specifically enjoyed Fisher’s own narration of her previous books, I ended up buying this one as a book-on-CD (a format the library does NOT currently only, although The Princess Diarist is available as a downloadable audiobook). Fisher narrates the “contemporary” parts of the book, while her daughter, Billie Lourd narrates the section reproducing Carrie’s 1976 journal. It was an emotional journey to listen to Carrie share her story, in her own voice, less than two weeks after her death.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Wishful Drinking, or Shockaholic, both by Carrie Fisher, preferably in the audiobook format!]
[ publisher’s official The Princess Diarist web site ] | [ official Carrie Fisher web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read or listen to this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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