Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The news that Carrie Fisher died early this morning just broke my heart, the capper in a year that has seen so many of my childhood and teenage movie and music icons leave us.  

 I had just finished listening to the audio version of The Princess Diarist last week, and was shocked at my timing.  It was my first Carrie Fisher book experience, and I am so glad I listened to the audio, narrated by Carrie and her daughter, Billie Lourd. I never would have been able to appreciate Carrie's humor if I hadn't listened to her tell her stories.

The biggest news from this memoir is, of course, her affair with Harrison Ford during the first Star Wars movie.  She was 19, he was 35 and married.  Carrie talks about her previous relationship with a young man who was also attending drama school with Carrie in London; he was really her first relationship with a man.  She was pretty innocent at 19, and Harrison Ford thought she was much more experienced than she was, and didn't realize it until they were into their short, three month affair.  Carrie reminds us frequently that this happened 40 years ago; she doesn't really remember too many details (which is what everyone wants to hear), but her diaries reflect her struggle to understand why him and what it all meant.  Her daughter Billie reads parts of the diary entries that reflect on how Carrie feels about Harrison; how she knew he wasn't someone who would last because she was always attracted to men who ran away, or weren't accessible.  She had crushes on gay men, too.  In a way, she felt she didn't deserve love.  And she looks back at her young self, and is amazed that she felt so fat and unattractive, when she really was such a beautiful girl.  The diaries she refers to are diaries she wrote during the filming of Star Wars; she happened upon them last year while sorting through old paperwork at home.  

Carrie's humor is sharp, biting, loud, and will make you chuckle.  She's a remarkable writer, and she truly learned to not give a shit about anything.  She lived with no regrets, and accepted her place in cinema history and pop culture as Princess Leia.  Her skill as a script doctor and writer is evident in the funny conversations she constructs about meeting fans at Comic Con; her ability to create characters with dialogue was amazing.  What a talent.  

I'm so glad I listened to this book while Carrie was still alive; I liked to think about what she was doing while I was listening to this book every morning and afternoon on my commute.  A fitting final story from an amazing, ballsy, brilliant woman.  

Rating:  8/10 for the sheer pleasure of listening to Carrie Fisher and her daughter tell her story.  A peek inside the phenomenon of Star Wars when it was a little science fiction movie that no one knew much about.  

Available in hardcover, audio, and e-book.

1 comment :

  1. What a great example of reading synergy. I would like to read her books someday.