Carrie Fisher: known only in the eyes of most as Princess Leia herself. But this legendary role, taken up when she was just 19, is far from her only achievement. Fisher has recently released her third memoir, once again demonstrating her talent for honest and hilarious writing.
For years, Fisher worked as a script doctor , “punching up” screenplays to make them faster, funnier, and just generally better – she can take credit for making The Wedding Singer Adam Sandler’s best movie.
But her writing skills are truly able to shine in their own right in her books. Fisher’s written four novels, all of which feature brushes with addiction, the reality of Hollywood, and relationship complications-all set at a fast pace and full of candid humor.
Postcards from the Edge (1987), arguably her greatest novel, presents the story of Suzanne Vale, an actress who accidentally overdoses and ends up in rehab. It starts with a section alternating Suzanne’s diary entries with those of a fellow patient who becomes obsessed with her, and then moves to a third-person chronicle of Suzanne’s attempts to get back into the movie business while dealing with her mental health. It’s a little odd- but it’s compelling proof that Fisher is one of only a few writers who can make mental illness funny without being flippant.
In many ways, the novel follows her own advice:
“If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true, and that’s unacceptable.”
In fact, Fisher’s novels all seem to reflect her own life, with her personal experiences of drug use, Hollywood, and mental illness. So it was when she first branched out into the art of the memoir that she abandoned the disguise of the novel, starting with Wishful Drinking (2008). Through this, she revealed how surreal and lonely it was to grow up in the limelight with her famous parents, actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, and talks about her experience of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for bipolar disorder, all in her self-deprecating, yet matter-of-fact way.
Her second memoir, Shockaholic (2011) takes a similar tone. It includes anecdotes about getting on Elizabeth Taylor’s bad side and the danger of going to dinner with Ted Kennedy, as well as a moving essay about her difficult relationship with her dad and how they managed to reconcile before his death in 2010.
Now, her new memoir, titled The Princess Diarist, has already produced a buzz with the revelation that Fisher had an affair with her on-screen co-star, Harrison Ford. Now aged 60, Fisher has produced this new memoir following the discovery of the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie. 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-as well as what developed behind the scenes.
The Princess Diarist is available now- happy reading!
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Featured image via The Guardian
h/t The Guardian