I actually struggled with the Cover Art Bingo square because a lot of times I pick books without ever looking at the cover. Review a book you pick solely on the title? I could write a dozen. I figured I’d know the book when I saw it (heh) and sure enough I was scrolling through Barnes & Nobel’s website during their Labor Day Sale and came across My Girls. At first I didn’t see the title or author just the photograph that takes up the bottom two thirds of the cover which inspired me to say, “Is that Carrie Fisher?” aloud to no one in particular. Sure enough it was Carrie Fisher and My Girls was written by her brother, Todd, following the untimely deaths of Carrie and his mother, Debbie Reynolds.
I didn’t know a lot about Todd going into My Girls but he seems like a down to Earth guy who happened to be raised by a Hollywood icon in a house. He adored his girls and while he shares personal details about his own life throughout the book, like Todd’s life, focuses largely on Carrie and Debbie. Since Todd maintained his mental faculties, which Carrie Fisher admittedly lost due to drug use and electroshock therapy, he gives a more complete pictures of their childhood than Carrie’s memoirs provided. Despite Eddie Fisher abandoning his family the Fisher children grew up in a loving home with their mother and her second husband. They did have an unusual upbringing even by Hollywood standards; Carrie often performed alongside her mother and Todd began working behind the scenes as a teenager.
This is a pretty linear biography/ memoir and Todd manages to hit most of the pivotal highs and lows that occurred over the decades. Most notably were the constant financial woes that plagued Debbie Reynolds over the years stemming from her romantic entanglements with less than honest men. I remembered hearing about the memorabilia auction Debbie Reynolds had to alleviate her financial troubles but I really had no idea that her financial situation was as bad as it was and cringed during the passages that detailed some of her worst financial troubles. Todd also doesn’t shy away from Carrie’s rampant drug use, her bipolar disorder and the often tenuous relationship Debbie and Carrie had over the years. Overall this is a memoir brimming with love for these two dynamic women and Todd does an excellent job at radiating that love off the page hitting the reader right in the feels chapter after chapter.
“The common theory about Mom’s passing was that, after losing Carrie, Debbie Reynolds died of a broken heart. Take it from the son who was there, who knew her better than anyone else on earth—that’s simply not true. Debbie Reynolds willed herself right off this planet to personally see to it that Carrie would never be alone.”
If you’re a fan of Debbie and/or Carrie this is a must read and it is a mostly joyful read until the last chapters focuses on their deaths within a day of one another. I was finishing this one out during a pedicure and worried I was going to start bawling during my paraffin treatment. Luckily I held it together because I really like my nail salon and I probably would have been mortified to return if that had happened…