Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. Review by Amanda Ward
Given the passing of its dear to many and admired by all author, Carrie Fisher, late in December, it’s hard to look at The Princess Diarist as just another book. Though I started reading it before Carrie left us, I really did enjoy this deep look at her emotions even more so as it helped me through the emotional end of 2016.
The Princess Diarist is in part a collection of Carrie Fisher’s intimate diaries kept while filming the iconic A New Hope, and part recollection and retrospective on the insanity of growing up Princess Leia, and her complicated and challenging return to Star Wars for 2015’s The Force Awakens. Written with Carrie’s true to form wit and candor, The Princess Diarist delves into very emotional, and sometimes troubling events that colored her Star Wars stardom and gracefully examines Fisher’s return to the Star Wars limelight amongst ageism, weightism, and ruthless criticism.
It’s hard not to focus on a large chunk of the book about Carrie’s affair with Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford back in 1976. It’s riveting and honest and extremely relatable. Harrison was a young man married and away from his family, entranced by one for the world’s most unique women. Carrie was a much younger woman barely navigating her way through adulthood and easily enamored with her charming co-star. Their affair is troubling and sometimes sad, but also just life. It’s not especially long or overly romantic or unique to a lot of relationships young women get into when at that delicate age between childhood and adulthood. It’s simply them. Carrie writes about their time together very honestly and the way she recollects the events, for me, painted a picture of a woman who doesn’t let those very special relationships in her life go forgotten.
As sensational and interesting as the story of the affair is, the meat of the book is really in the diary entries themselves. Carrie is a writer. She is a flawlessly beautiful and frank writer and her journal entries are no less than captivating. As a young person dealing with mental health issues, Fisher’s writing comes off as artistic and beautiful but also deeply sad and emotional on many levels. The journal entries are read by Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd in the audiobook to the effect of an entirely new level of emotion for the listener.
The most impactful portion of The Princess Diarist for me, was Carrie’s recounting of many encounters with fans, trips to conventions and the “lap dances” of signing and performing for fans, as she liked to call them. Fisher’s description of interactions with fans are truly mesmerizing in a sort of trainwreck kind of way. To read what these kind of interactions are like for an aging former sexual icon from the actress’ own words is something we as fans are very lucky to have.
Carrie is obviously a huge inspiration for me and I feel very fortunate to have been gifted her words one last time in this book. I think even the most casual Carrie Fisher fan can benefit from this emotional and hilarious read, and I highly recommend it to all.
Please check out the 30-minute discussion of Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist on the latest episode of “Rebel Grrrl” below (content beings at 8:57).