BOOK REVIEW: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

BOOK REVIEW: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Bantam Press
November 2016
Paperback, $34.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Biography/Memoir/Entertainment

9/10

I can’t promise that this is going to be an objective review; I feel this needs to be made clear from the outset.

Five days ago, Carrie Fisher died, and in a year of deeply meaningful celebrity deaths from an era of entertainment so many of us look back on fondly, this felt like a final kick in the gut (followed a day later, of course, by her mother, Debbie Reynolds).

Who do I think I would’ve been if I hadn’t been Princess Leia? Am I Princess Leia, or is she me? Split the difference and you’d be closer to the truth. Star Wars was and is my job. It can’t fire me and I’ll never be able to quit, and why would I want to? (This is both a rhetorical and real question.)

Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia meant a lot to so many young girls and women who grew up watching these films. From her (them?) we learnt that a princess (or a girl, for that matter) doesn’t have to sit around waiting to be saved, and that we could be opinionated, strong, speak our minds, and have a sense of humour. Of course, many male fans of the show adored her just as much. This hurt is not to be felt by only the womenfolk. 

There’s the girl with my signature tattooed to her ass, the couple that named their child Leia Carrie, the guy who had his name legally changed to Luke Skywalker. (Imagine the policeman’s face when he stops Luke Skywalker for speeding: “What happened, Obi-Wan wouldn’t let you use the X-wing fighter tonight?”) They have marriage ceremonies where, instead of the more traditional vows, one says, “I love you,” and the other says, “I know.” They come dressed in the outfits, and not only are the women in the metal bikini but some men are wearing it, too, and it looks fantastic.

Whoever you are, if you were and are a big fan on the movies (the original three; four five and six) you will have your own share of fond memories tied to the franchise.

 

If I were to try and be objective, I might point out that more than half of the book is about “Carrison”, focusing on the affair the two stars had behind the scenes unbeknownst to Harrison’s wife at the time, while the blurb suggests that it is more focused on the filming. What we are offered in terms of the filming and Star Wars-making side of things is just snippets here and there and not much of an overall picture. 

But, in the reading of the book, one can’t help but relate to the teenager in love, well out of her depth in the “romance” department, at the center of something that was going to be so important to so many of the people, not-quite-dating someone older and more experienced who was bound to leave her heartbroken.

The voice she uses is all at once honest, humorous, and maybe a little self-deprecating, and one can’t help thinking “me too, me too!” while reading of her misadventures (and surrounding thoughts), albeit on a less-famous level. This is why the book feels like having a conversation with Carrie, and why you would likely come away thinking you could have a conversation if you met her somewhere, without being treated like a lunatic. 

Though sadly time has run out on the chance of meeting her and striking up said conversation, and as such the words in this book are some of the last offered up by such an icon, and in some ways perhaps more honest than that we’ve been privy to before, delving into the aforementioned Carrison situation for the first time, some forty years later.

 

Remember the white dress I wore all through that film? George came up to me the first day of filming, took one look at the dress and said: ‘You can’t wear a bra under that dress.’
‘OK, I’ll bite,’ I said. ‘Why?’ And he said: ‘Because … there’s no underwear in space.’
He said it with such conviction. Like he had been to space and looked around and he didn’t see any bras or panties anywhere.
He explained. ‘You go into space and you become weightless. Then your body expands but your bra doesn’t, so you get strangled by your own underwear.’
I think that this would make for a fantastic obituary. I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.
Vale, Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia, you will be missed.
BOOK REVIEW: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

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