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Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

She Loved Him. He Knew.

The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher

[Grrrrrr.  Another edition I "had to" create--yes, knowing full well I could just shelve one that wasn't "my" edition, but OCD.]


Note that the two stars I am assigning to this book are a "Goodreads" ** and not an Amazon **.  It's more like an Amazon ***.  This book is fair...  There are parts of it that are quite good, but there are parts that are more like filler and some that make me either cringe or feel impatient.


And yes, I miss Carrie Fisher.  Just hearing her voice doing the narration--it was like, "Awww.  Carrie Fisher."  She died such a short time after this book was released, it is eerie hearing her mention her obituary, her legacy, and other related ideas.


The impetus for writing the book was the discovery of journals Fisher wrote during the filming of the original Star Wars film back in 1976, when the actress cast to play Princess Leia was only 19 years old and had been in just one film (Shampoo, with Warren Beatty).   The focus of the journals was not so much the experience of filming the soon-to-be iconic film, so much as it was a three-month affair with the much older, married Harrison Ford.


Fisher shares that she went into the filming with the intention of having an affair, though she never wanted to have one with a married man.  After all, her father Eddie Fisher had notoriously left her mother Debbie Reynolds to pursue his affair with Elizabeth Taylor.  Fisher had seen what it had been like for her mother to be the "left" spouse, and as one of two "left" children, she'd internalized the feeling that she was somehow responsible for her father leaving, because of her not being "enough."


The Carrie Fisher of 2016 prefaces the actual "diary" part with a brief overview of her pre-Star Wars life, leading up to the audition, the news she had been cast, and the time spent filming in London.  She shares the story of a surprise birthday party for George Lucas, where crew members pressured her to drink alcoholic beverages that she didn't actually want, before an odd attempted kidnapping that Harrison Ford intervened in.  The intervention leads to a ride home, which leads to a "sleepover," as Fisher calls it.  No, she provides no lurid details.  Just a fling that comes off rather sad, since Ford is apparently emotionally unavailable and ostensibly misjudges how "experienced" Fisher is at this point in her life (one real boyfriend).


This article sums things up pretty well:  "Carrie Fisher's last Harrison Ford story isn't romantic, it's tragic."


Fisher has another, younger narrator deliver the reading of the diary entries.   They read like what they are:  the journal of a nineteen-year-old.  They alternate between angsty poetry and oblique journals referring to her lover's reticence and possible contempt.  I had to cringe--but not with judgement.  I expect I sounded fairly similar when I was 19.


In the chapter following the journal, Fisher notes that "My affair with Harrison was a very long one-night stand.  I was relieved when it ended.  I didn't approve of myself."


Her answer to "why now" is "it's been 40 years."  For his part, Ford has merely commented that he was surprised when Fisher let him know she was writing about their fling 40 years later.  He has not commented, otherwise.


After the post-journal chapter, the narrative shifts.  At this point, there is another 25% left (according to the Kindle edition).  The last quarter is really about the experience of being associated with the Star Wars franchise, and especially its fans.  Fisher likens autograph signings to "celebrity lap dances," so you can see that she did not consider this a dignified way to earn money.  There are segments where she creates bizarre dialogues with [I expect] fictionalized fans, to the point where I feel she is mocking them.  And as if she heard me thinking that, she assured me:  "I need you to know that I'm not cynical about the fans.  (If you thought I was, you would quite properly not like me, which would defeat the purpose of this book and of so much else that I do.)  I'm moved by them."


Don't worry, Carrie.  I still like you.  Love you, even.  But there were other things I would rather have heard from you, instead of the space you fill not mocking your fans.  That whole section could have been about reuniting with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill for Episode VII, and I would have been all ears.  You share the odd experience of meeting people who seemingly wish you could have stayed the 19-year-old Leia forever.  But I am more than happy to remember you this way:





RIP, Carrie Fisher.