Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

So, Star Wars has always played a huge role in my life.  Episode 4 - the original Star Wars for those of you that don't know anything about the Star Wars universe - came out two years before I was born. One of my earliest memories of movies was eagerly awaiting that opening credit with the theme music and the scrolling words.  Also, pretending to be Han Solo shooting TIE fighters as the Millenium Falcon blasts out of the Death Star.  AWESOME. And honestly, the Princess Leia character was the first legitimately tough, commanding, badass woman that I saw - she in some ways was a feminist role model to me before I was conscious of what feminism and its role models were (followed ten years later by Ellen Ripley of Alien fame, but that's another story for another time), so when I learned that Carrie Fisher wrote a memoir about her time on set at Star Wars, I was super excited.  This was compounded by the fact that Ms. Fisher passed away Christmas week, devastating me in the process.

Carrie Fisher, for those of you who live under a rock, is the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. She literally grew up in the spotlight - she was a toddler when her father left her mother for Liz Taylor, so there was never really a time when Carrie Fisher wasn't in the spotlight.  That type of associative fame - fame that was derived by being associated with someone else famous - was completely different from being famous in her own right and she was thoroughly unprepared for it. This memoir looks at how, at 19, she dealt with being thrust into the spotlight as an overnight hit and with sex and intimacy.

I loved Carrie's voice in this memoir. She was sardonic and witty when it came to her fame and amused when it comes to her love life.  Her big secret was that during the filming of the Star Wars movie, she had an affair with Harrison Ford, who was then a married father of two. We learn that the 33-year old Harrison Ford seduced Carrie in the back of a cab while she was seriously inebriated and after having rescued her from the clutches of some really drunk crew members at George Lucas' birthday party.  My eyebrows were certainly going up at that point. She includes excerpts from the diaries themselves, which I wasn't all too fond of. I skimmed through them. They were boring quite frankly and very "woe is me."  I wish that she had just stuck to telling the story because she is smart and funny. Generally a good read. 

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