At first glance, the quote I referenced in the title seems counterintuitive. I quite loved Carrie Fisher’s anecdote/diary/book about her time on the first Star Wars set, but the quote seems to brush the past aside. Who cares about how Carrie Fisher didn’t really want to be in show business? Who cares that she was not only Princess Leia, but also a young adult still trying to find her footing in the world? Who cares that Carrie Fisher was one of the few women on the Star Wars set? Who cares about any of these details?
What’s refreshing is that the sense you get from the book, Carrie Fisher doesn’t care. That’s not to say she’s ambivalent about the entire experience. But she doesn’t shy away from any of the details, nor does she seem to restrain any of her responses now. She’s refreshingly and often hysterically honest about her life. It never felt like a book, but rather a series of anecdotes that she was telling you at a bar. She highlights the ludicrousness of some of the things she’s seen (e.g., it’s really creepy to both tell someone that she was your masturbatory fantasy when you were younger and in the same swoop, be repulsed by what age has done to…well, everyone). She characterizes herself as honestly as she characterizes the others around her from her director George Lucas to her adoring fans that saw her at a variety of different “lap dances” or autograph/picture sessions.
But where this book really stood out is that there were two Carrie Fishers. There was the Carrie Fisher who wrote the book now, with all of the honesty and sagacity of her experience. And then there was the Carrie Fisher memorialized in her diaries. I thought the book initially was going to be about her time on the set of Star Wars, but really the climax of her memoir is the dual recounting of her affair with Harrison Ford. She first tells it as she remembers it now: the important details of how they first started, the tinge of bittersweet joy at their first physical interaction, the whirlwind of emotions that her younger self was going through. And then we got to see it unfold in the younger Carrie Fisher’s diaries. There were poems, dialogues, and entries. She chided herself for falling for him when she knows she shouldn’t (Harrison Ford was a married man after all). She pined at the fact that he seemed to show only a passing emotion towards her. Where the older Carrie Fisher was enough removed from the affair to look back with a more tender lens, the younger Carrie Fisher was emotionally raw. Hearing the history of this affair and then seeing it unfold will likely be one of my more memorable literary moments of the very new year.
I would definitely recommend this book to others. You may think that you need some sort of strong connection to Star Wars to really get the most out of this book. I don’t if that is 100% true. While I do enjoy Star Wars films, I wouldn’t say that I’m a fanatic. In fact, I didn’t really even care too much about Princess Leia or Carrie Fisher. But I just remember seeing her on the Graham Norton Show with her dog Gary and loving her zeal/aloofness/humor/all of the above, so I jumped at the chance to read her book. When it comes to the past she so hilariously and honestly showed me in her book, I can safely say that I gave a sh!t.