Non-Fiction / Comedy
The Princess Diarist
Author: Carrie Fisher
Published By: Blue Rider Press
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I received The Princess Diarist for Christmas, I was ecstatic. I had read works by Carrie Fisher before – Postcards from the Edge, Wishful Drinking, Shockaholic – and enjoyed every one. Two days prior to receiving the book, it had been announced that Carrie Fisher had suffered cardiac arrest on a flight from London to Los Angeles. We were all hoping against hope for a recovery, but it was not to be. I had already been wanting to read this book, now I couldn’t wait to crack it open, trying to get back a little of what Star Wars fans like myself had lost.
The Princess Diarist is mainly about Carrie Fisher’s Star Wars life. It begins with her acting career prior to Star Wars and her eventual call to read for two movies – Star Wars and Carrie (slightly funny that, huh?). Quite a bit of this book actually covers something that took place while Star Wars was being filmed…something that none of us knew about. Apparently, Carrie Fisher was involved in a three-month affair with co-star Harrison Ford. All of this was kept hush hush apparently due to the fact that Harrison was married at the time.
Now, if you’d asked me, I had always thought that the actual affair had been between Carrie and Mark Hamill. It’s not that I couldn’t picture the affair between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher – C’mon! Han and Leia! Really?! But for some reason, I always had it in my mind that there was a little something extra going on between members of that cast and, perhaps because they seemed closer in age, I believed it was between Mark and Carrie. Of course, that would have been a little weird after the big reveal in Return of the Jedi, right? But they weren’t really brother and sister in real life, so I pretty much overlooked that.
Now that I could read about Carrie and Harrison’s relationship, there are some things that definitely make sense there. There were a great many candid shots of Carrie and Harrison and they seemed to be quite close. Of course, Harrison Ford hasn’t really come out and said whether anything Carrie wrote in this book was true, but, quite honestly, Carrie Fisher has always been a bit overly honest in her memoirs. I believe she is telling the truth here, too.
In the middle of it all are entries from the journals that Carrie Fisher kept while filming Star Wars. Quite a few of the entries contain self-doubt and self-loathing and we are able to see Carrie through her own eyes as a teenager. There are hints of the troubles to come as we read her views of herself and her thoughts on how others must see her. We also learn that Carrie Fisher was quite the poet, even as a teen.
And throughout it all, we have Carrie’s hilarious wit which have made every single book she has written a pleasure to read. Carrie Fisher had great comedic timing both on and off the screen and she could make you laugh no matter what the subject. It’s what has kept me coming back to read more of her works – the fact that she could laugh at herself and make you laugh along with the more outrageous moments in her life.
Finishing this book was a bittersweet experience. Sure, there are a couple of Carrie Fisher novels out there that I haven’t read, but once those are finished, there is nothing left. No more of that sharp and hilarious wit. No more intelligent quips. An icon is gone from our lives and it has taken something from the world. Those who actually followed the events of Carrie Fisher’s life know that she was much more than Princess Leia. She was an entertainer who drew from her own issues in life to better the lives of others. From her roles on screen, young women grew to believe they could do anything in life. From her drama off screen, people with mental health issues were relieved of some of the stigma thrust upon them. After all, if an icon who has portrayed such a strong female role model on screen could suffer from a mental illness and be so open and honest about it, why should anyone else hide in shame.
Fans of Carrie Fisher should definitely check out The Princess Diarist just to catch a glimpse of what Carrie was like under all of the star quality glitter. Fans of Star Wars will relish in the controversy revealed. But people who loved Carrie Fisher as the entertainer and intelligent being with a human side will read this book and hold onto it, as a memento of one of the bright stars that never truly dimmed and somehow made us glow all the more in her light.