Of the many shitty things that happened in 2016, the passing of the amazing Carrie Fisher was among those that saddened me the most. As a borderline fanatic Star Wars fan I knew her primarily as the actress who played the legendary role of the rebel princess Leia Organa. And while that is a pretty badass thing to be remembered for, there was so much more to Carrie Fisher than that.
She was also a writer, humourist and advocate for many important causes such as animal rights, LGBTQ-rights and the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS. She was outspoken about her struggle with drug addiction and mental illness and helped lift the stigma around these issues.
Far too often you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone and when she passed away I realised I had never taken the time to read anything by her. I immediately tried to order her most famous novel Postcards from the Edge but it was out of stock, probably because people rushed to get their hands on a copy when they heard she was no longer with us.
So instead I bought the audiobook of her latest book on Audible and started listening. It kind of hit me in the feels when I heard Carrie Fisher’s voice.
With the rare honesty that was hers she tells in The Princess Diarist the story of her life during the shooting of the first Star Wars movie. How she got the role, where they shot the movie, how come she got that famous hairdo and other such things a Star Wars nerd like me loves hearing about. But also about her struggle with depression, her drug use and her three month affair with co-star Harrison Ford. The later which gives a whole new perspective on their on-screen chemistry.
While I loved hearing Carrie Fisher read (which she does with great feeling), my favourite part of the book is the one that in the audio version is read by her daughter Billie Lourd: the journal entries Carrie wrote during the shooting of the film.
What I love about them is that they show what writing can mean to a person, even if it’s at the time without the intent for anyone else to ever read it. Through writing you can pour your heart out. You can without holding back or censuring yourself express what you really think and feel. It’s the greatest source of therapy I’ve come across and it’s addictive in the best, non-destructive way possible.
I was also impressed by the prose and poetry in her journal entries. They are definitely the best written part of the book and truly show what a talented writer Carrie Fisher was.
I can warmly recommend The Princess Diarist.Fisher’s wittiness will have you smiling and laughing and her frank honesty will touch you deeply. Her final book is a great read that will make you miss her even more.