My initial impulse was to use the following The Princess Diarist quote as title for this review, “If you have a penis and a job, being handsome is a fantastic bonus but hardly a necessity.”
My decision to purchase and read The Princess Diarist is not an original one following the death of Carrie Fisher. I am not alone in having found her to be a childhood role model as Princess Leia and again as adult Carrie Fisher. She seemed so approachable and she allowed us to feel like she was almost one of us–human, flawed, aging, recovering addict, dealing with mental health issues. Her death struck so many of us so hard. I know why it hit me so deeply; Carrie Fisher, a strong, flawed hero, died on my birthday.
In The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher shares many of her thoughts and memories about the auditions, filming and subsequent fame of the original Star Wars. She also gives you a generous glimpse into the diaries she kept during that time of her life. Carrie pokes fun here and there, especially at the sexist nature of film business, but always pokes more fun at herself than anyone else. She uses a witty, biting humor, and you can tell that she directs it against herself as much as anything. She talks about the insanity of how huge Star Wars became, and yet shows her genuine delight at being involved in the amazing fantasy experience that was Star Wars. Carrie is sometimes almost embarrassingly honest (embarrassing for her? For me definitely!) about her experiences and feelings. She is also almost painfully self-aware. I’m absolutely in awe of her writing, her strength, her vulnerability. It also breaks my heart to read about how little she thought of herself, both as a nineteen-year old young woman, and as a grown woman.
I briefly found myself a bit disappointed to read how much signing autographs bothered her. She called it a “lapdance” to do appearances for pay. Carrie described it as a bit humiliating, and I can see how that could be true. I would like to think that celebrities also cherish our love and devotion–after all, it’s that very devotion which allows them to be the famous actors they are and to be able to practice their craft so to speak. But I get it, and Carrie does a serviceable job addressing it here. And I can’t fault her for being so very honest and blunt. If she can open up about her VERY private experiences and feelings, then who am I to get to judge those feelings at all? But she goes on to clarify that it isn’t the fans that she has difficulty with, and in fact she is honored by them and their devotion.
I certainly recommend The Princess Diarist–especially if you are a Star Wars fan, a Carrie Fisher fan, or a fan of witty, snarky writing. There were a couple of times that I cried, so be forewarned, but there were many, many times I laughed. Carrie Fisher is an amazing woman, and I am so very grateful to her for being my Princess Leia and my General Organa, and my grown-up Carrie Fisher, with all her issues. She has been so brutally honest. She is a warrior, and I am planning to make 2017 my year to be a kickass warrior princess in her honor.