I’ve never actually read a memoir so when Carrie Fisher’s latest book, The Princess Diarist, came out, I thought “Hey why not?” I bought this book back in December during an online shopping spree so I didn’t think much of what I was getting myself into. I like the Star Wars universe and enjoy watching the films – some more than others (I’m looking at you Phantom Menace) and I remember reading an article about her in the run up to the new Star Wars films and thought it might be interested to read one of her books.
So, I was a little surprised to find that most of this book was about her reflections on her affair with Harrison Ford. Maybe I should have read her other memoirs, or at least paid more attention to the book description, but for whatever reason I picked this one.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book, but is quite different in both style and content. The way she writes allow the reader to get inside her head and, while you’re there, it’s feels like watching a firework display up close. There’s so much going on and you do get a billiant view, but I found it overwhelming to follow. A lot of the book is written as a stream of consciousness and as someone who likes structure, it took a lot of getting used to. I found myself speed reading through some of these sections because I just wanted to get to the end, but some of this ‘stream’ is so sharp and insightful, I ended up going back and re-read parts. It’s was a weird sort of to-and-fro way of reading, certainly challenging, but never boring.
For me the most insightful parts of her memoir were her diary entries, written during the filming of the initial trilogy Star Wars. At 19 I certainly wasn’t as expressive or articulate as she was. Some of her poems are very poignant and I paused to re-read her words more carefully. Angst, longing, regret, self-loathing, hope – she lays this all out and, as a reader, I couldn’t help but go with her.
“What’s the riddle?
Me talking so much.
And saying so little.”
The rest of the book she reflects with world-weary awareness of being Carrie-Leia hybrid. She never descend into self-pity but she told her story in a way that, as a reader, I didn’t feel the need to pity her either. There are some amazing insights and proper witty observations – most of which are self-deprecating.
“I act like someone in a bomb shelter trying to raise everyone’s spirits.”
She reminds me of the type of people that can make you feel at ease within a few minutes of meeting her. She doesn’t make herself out as “one of us” because she acknowledges that her background is anything but conventional. She writes with such unguarded honesty that is relatable, despite being a global icon. In hindsight I don’t think this memoir was a good introduction to her work but I’d like to give her other books a go.
Image my own.