27 March, 2018

[Review] The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Series: N/A
Release Date: 22 November, 2016
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Genre: Adult / Memoir
ISBN: 9780399565557
Edition: audiobook
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Written: 13 March, 2018
Summary: 2018 GRAMMY® Winner for Best Spoken Word Album
The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher's intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie. *PEOPLE Magazine Best Book of Fall 2016 *New York Times Bestseller *

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher's intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

Honestly, I was never a huge Star Wars fan. I grew up on Star Trek, and while I’d seen the original Star Wars movies, I wasn’t into them. The marching band used them as the staple movies to play on long bus rides (nearly the same as using Mr. Holland’s Opus for every single time they were absent from class), and it was a forced showing. I truly credit my eventual love to Star Wars to my friend Jessica, who convinced me to watch the movies in order to role play General Grevious in horribly self-centered stories. (Some of which are still kicking around on the internet, but no I will not link you to.)

From there, I fell hard into the world of Star Wars. My friend was obsessed, so I followed suite, watching the different movies with her and then eventually on my own. Now, I’m rare to miss the new movies coming out, and I found a small bit of hope in Leia, though I’ll admit I prefer the older General to young princess. I found The Princess Diarist an interesting look into the period of Carrie’s life devoted to Princess Leia in the beginning. She had little to no acting experience, she didn’t know how to survive, and she was convinced she wanted no part of show business. After all, she’d seen what the fame had done to her parents relationship. She endured listening to her grandmother criticise her mother for the waning fame during Carrie’s youth and her own shortcomings.

From an early age Carrie was acting in her mother’s stage shows before she finally moved out after doing a part in the movie Shampoo. From there she went to school for acting, though it was more for stage acting than movie, before dropping out to star in Star Wars. The book itself is highly informational about the time during then, how she was unaware how big it was going to grow, how she’d promised herself she wouldn’t have a fling with a coworker, and how she was doing a lot of pot during the time. Part of the book’s chapters are dedicated to diary entries from the time period (read by her daughter), and each and every one of them is very trippy. It’s not hard to tell how hard the drugs she was doing were effecting her.

The book also highlights how she initially never wanted to do comic-cons or the like, feeling that it was a theoretical lap-dance, without the dancing. The people were paying for her autograph (or was it Leia’s autograph) on pictures from decades earlier. Though I know some actors thrive on the interaction with their fans, Fisher was less than thrilled with it at times. That isn’t to say she didn’t appreciate and enjoy her fans, just that she would have preferred not to do the con circuits.

All in all, this book was interesting, a good read that didn’t require much thought to follow. I enjoyed it as a “breather” read between other books. I’d recommend this book to fans of Fisher, or to people seeking validation of Carrison.

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