Book Review: The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher

Armed with her acerbic wit and a blaster pistol, actress Carrie Fisher recounts the past and present of her immortal character, Princess Leia from Star Wars.

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There are few actors, like Carrie Fisher, who will be remembered for such an array of aspects of their life: daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher (who, publicly, left Debbie and his two children for Elizabeth Taylor); author of the semi-autobiographical work, Postcards from the Edge; self-proclaimed drug and alcohol addict – which she brought to the stage, in full-frontal honesty, in Wishful Drinking; her mental health issues and subsequent shock therapy treatment, captured in Shockaholic, her second memoir; and, of course, her defining role, Princess Leia Organa, in (what was once just called) Star Wars.

Now, Fisher returns, armed with her acerbic wit and a blaster pistol, to recount the past and present of that immortal character in The Princess Diarist. It began with an audition for both George Lucas and Brian de Palma, which could have resulted in Carrie playing the character Carrie in the film Carrie!

Four decades after her career-defining role, Carrie Fisher was cleaning out a storage space when she came across the diaries she kept on a film set, a long time ago, in a studio far, far away – well, Elstree Studios, near London.

With her characteristic self-deprecating humour, the tale of a young actress from a ‘Hollywood Royalty’ family, unfolds – from the earlier days featuring in the film Shampoo with Warren Beatty, to being the only female cast member in a galactic ‘Boy’s Own Adventure’ and her subsequent affair with an older man. That man was one Harrison ‘Han Solo’ Ford. Fisher reveals her inner most thoughts and awkward poetic expressions of her 19-year old self, adoring a man who would go on to become the embodiment of rugged, manliness.

It’s not all reflections in a rear-view mirror, though. Fisher also discusses her recent return to the fold in 2015’s The Force Awakens in a body which she freely admits would look out of place in a metal bikini. She also talks about attending the conventions, meeting the (now adult) fan-boys/girls and their families, hearing stories of their infatuations and fanatical devotion, and signing autographs – her description of which, alongside the accidental public use of same, is priceless.

This book is DEFINITELY one for the Star Wars fans – those mid-40s and over, in particular – and anyone who loves the honesty of a 60 year old, trapped in a 19 year old cinematic body. May the Force carry Carrie and be with you, always!

Reviewed by Glen Christie

Released by: Penguin Random House
Release Date: November 2016
RRP: $45 hardback, $34.99 trade paperback

Rating out of 10:  9

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