Non-Fiction / Comedy
When I first heard about Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, I just knew I was going to love it. I had read Postcards from the Edge and thought it a great story written in a hilariously sarcastic format. I had loved Carrie Fisher as an actress - who knew she was such a great writer. So, when I saw Wishful Drinking on sale at Barnes & Noble, I simply couldn’t resist.
Wishful Drinking is a one woman show that made its debut at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in 2006. In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher waxes sardonically on her life from birth to present. In 2009, Carrie Fisher decided to put the one woman show on paper, blaming it on the recent rounds of ECT she’s been going through. The electroconvulsive therapy she has been undergoing to help her cope with her mental illness has caused some memory loss and Carrie explains that she has to write these things down so she won’t forget them as she often does while on stage.
Carrie Fisher is a different person to any individual you talk to. She’s the daughter of the famous singer Eddie Fisher and famous actress Debbie Reynolds. She’s Princess Leia of Star Wars. She’s that drug addict who used to hang out with John Belushi and starred in the Blues Brothers movie. She’s Sally’s neurotic best friend in When Harry Met Sally. She’s the writer who penned the hysterical pseudo-self-portrait Postcards from the Edge. She’s a sufferer of the psychiatric condition known as manic depression. Whoever you ask, Carrie Fisher is a different person, including Carrie Fisher herself and that’s the basis of this book - to sort of straighten out the rumors and quite possibly to help Carrie Fisher and her audience get some insight on who she really is.
One hundred sixty-plus pages long and chock full of pictures, Wishful Drinking is an incredibly fast read. With all the drama Carrie Fisher has suffered, she still understands the importance to be able to laugh - at one’s self, at outrages situations and circumstances, at others - without laughter, this world would be extremely hard to survive. Wishful Drinking is a laugh out loud introspective look at Carrie Fisher’s past and present. She artfully finds a way to present the importance of understanding mental illness and an individual’s battle with the disease in a humorous way. Let’s face it, there are some folks out there who can’t handle such a difficult and often depressing subject, but Carrie Fisher uses humor to get the message out - mental illness can happen to anyone and it’s the effort you and your loved ones make to live with that illness and not allow it to take over your life is what’s important.
By poking fun at the tragic moments of her own life, Carrie Fisher is presenting to her readers one coping mechanism that seems to work for her. In the process, she has written yet another hysterical book about the surreal life of a celebrity, addiction and mental illness worth some serious attention. Yes, I said the words hysterical and serious in the same sentence, because some subjects, no matter how serious they can be, are better digested through humor. Carrie Fisher is definitely an expert in this style of getting the point across and Wishful Drinking is a must read, not only for those Carrie Fisher fans out there who enjoy a good book, but for those suffering from mental illness who deem their diagnosis as a death sentence of sorts. This is a positive outlook on the diagnosis, the path to discovery and all the speed bumps along the way.