The Princess Diarist Paperback – 2 Nov 2017
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"Smart and funny...the pages crackle with one-liners" (Guardian)
"It’s an eye-opener for fans, but it also shows a gifted writer even at a young age. There was a lot going on between Princess Leia’s hair buns." (USA Today)
"An unflinching, sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious look inside the mind of a 19-year-old … It’s invasive, juicy, sad, nostalgic and gripping all at once. It’s as if you’ve knocked the lock off of your cooler older sister’s journal and discovered she’s been sleeping with the hottest boy in school this whole time." (LA Times)
"Fisher offers a thoughtful, sardonic meditation on the price of fame, cost-of-living adjustments included." (J.D. Biersdorfer The New York Times Book Review)
"[The Princess Diarist] is a radical truth bomb" (Julia Felsenthal VOGUE.com)
"Carrie Fisher was so real it was dangerous…. My God, girls, we owe her a lot." (Sharon Horgan)
"She didn't need The Force. She was a force of nature, of loyalty and of friendship." (Steven Spielberg)
The most talked about memoir of 2016 is now in paperbackSee all Product description
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As a lifelong Star Wars fan, this was already on my radar. However with the recent and tragic passing of Carrie Fisher, I instantly elevated it to my first read of 2017 - and what a read it was.
A warning here - often Fisher's thoughts are disordered and chaotic; she was a rambler. If you don't think you'd like that then perhaps this isn't the book for you. However this is also painfully heartfelt in a way which makes you breathe that little bit harder and labour over each page - especially the diary entries themselves. Fisher's insecurity and self consciousness radiates through in the forms of disjointed sentences and poetry. She is candid about her teenage years and the beginnings of her foray into the world of Star Wars and celebrity.
She also goes into some detail about her affair with Harrison Ford during the filming of episode four. This too is bittersweet - with Fisher clearly developing feelings which Ford doesn't return. There's nothing explicit or titillating about her account. Instead she reveals the emotional affair she felt she had (and the lack of one which Ford seemed to experience).
Carrie Fisher seemed like a witty, expressive, creative woman. For all her struggles she writes with a brutal and compelling honesty which captured me as a reader from the first page. Her loss is one the world is bereft by. This, her last work, is an absolute must read.
The book comes in three parts.The first part starts well, explaining how she came to be in the right place at the right time and got the role of Princess Leia. She makes a few interesting comments about the famous 'earphone' hairdo and the ludicrous 'slave bikini' and about being the only woman on the set of a surprisingly low-budget movie. But let's be honest, if you've bought this book it's quite likely you've done so because you want to read the dirt on that affair and I suspect you'll be disappointed. I can't decide whether to admire her for not going into details or to feel used and tricked and to ever so slightly doubt the veracity of the account. After 40 years of keeping quiet about an ex-love, it's hard to understand what she was trying to prove by opening that can of worms. As far as I can tell, Harrison Ford has kept his silence on the matter and probably been more admired for doing so than Fisher is for spilling the beans.
The second part contains extracts from her teen diaries - mostly about that affair. I'll come clean, I don't much like good poetry and I can't abide BAD poetry or childish introspection about failing affairs, so I skipped most of this. I found it boring and rather embarrassing to read. Carrie, you were worth more than this terrible sell-out of your 19-year old self.
The third part is my favourite because it brings us up to date with how hard life is when you used to be 'someone'. She writes about the film that brought the cast of Star Wars all back together (minimal comments about HF 40 years on) and about how her life was both made and then ruined by the character of Leia. She writes about going to sci fi conventions, signing autographs and faking interest in fans whilst feeling like a stripper or a lap dancer. We're left realising that being the star of a film that launched a multi-gazillion dollar franchise doesn't guarantee wealth for the actors and it's clear that the book, the signings, the personal appearances, are all part of paying the bills when you're a member of the has-been inter-galactic royalty.
I love Carrie Fisher and I recently read Wishful Drinking because I wasn't ready to pay full price for the Princess Diarist. Much to my surprise, Wishful Drinking is a much better (but still not brilliant) read. I was thrilled when this came up as a discounted offer on Amazon Kindle but I'm rather glad I didn't pay full price.
All in all, a bit rushed, a lot self-indulgent and overall a poor final testament of a woman who was so much more than this book suggests.
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