Like many, I was surprised and saddened at the sudden loss of Carrie Fisher, a woman who had played a huge part in my (and every other child of the 1970’s) childhood. She was a talented actor and writer, with a free spirit and a huge heart, as her book demonstrated time and time again. Written in a stream of consciousness style, The Princess Diarist manages simultaneously to be casual, articulate, insightful, playful, honest, and grateful. As such, this book was quick read that was both entertaining and cathartic, and serves as a wonderfully sobering reminder that often times, a calm exterior belies the turbulence that lies within.
The book was inspired by Fisher’s (re)discovery of some old diaries kept during the filming of Star Wars. As in the case of any 19 year-old’s diary the entries are fraught with self doubt, love, fear, poetry, and a few less than brilliant decisions. Anyone familiar with Fisher’s work or outspoken personality will hardly be surprised to learn, that true to form, she addresses all of this in an open, honest, and unapologetic manner. However, what did surprise me, and may surprise other readers, was how much Fisher’s poetry reminded my of Mrs. Parker’s poems, in tone, temperament, and of course, topic. While, not as polished or as succinct as the Algonquin round-table’s darling, young Fisher’s poems are as self-deprecating, hopeful, and yet defeatist as any of Mrs. Parker’s love poems ever were.
Carrie Fisher was a talented woman, with a huge heart, and several plus-sized demons that she spent much of her life working through. Anyone who has ever lived with mental illness, whether their own or that of a loved one, knows that the struggle is real and life long, and that all too often the reward for all those efforts just to feel normal, is shame and embarrassment. Time, and time again, in this book, as in life, Fisher uses her fame and celebrity not to try and hide her struggles but to highlight them, and in doing so, giving hope to so many others. I think that of all the things I love about her, and this book, I loved that the most.
She was a talented actor and writer, a free and honest spirit, who was taken too soon. I will miss her spunk, as much as her spark, but I am forever grateful for the work she left behind.