When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had
preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable,
but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.
With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes.
Despite my hope, this isn't an exclusive behind-the-scenes making of George Lucas's epic outside of choosing her now-infamous hairstyle. This book narrates her life minimally before Star Wars, to
landing the role, to her relationship with Ford, to the aftermath of the movie, and finally her thoughts on what former stars (including herself) do to make some extra money.
The journal entries take up a third of the book, and because they're reasonably vague, they're not as interesting as I’d hoped. However, these entries do reveal the talented poet, author, and thinker she was at only 19 years old.
The last third of the book reads like a smart, sassy essay as Carrie tries to put her life as Princess Leia into perspective, particularly how the two are the same and yet different. Carrie has some amusing anecdotes to share about fandom and the often odd behaviors and requests she's had, though at times, these stories go a little long (perhaps to make us uncomfortable as she had felt when they occurred?).
I wished the story would have gone on to Empire Strikes Back. What was it like for Carrie to have these love scenes with the man she had an affair with? I wonder if she still felt the pain from the first film when they had scenes together (and they were together for basically the entire ESB movie). Were there other diaries from the other movies as stardom began to swallow her entire life? The book could have used more. There had to be some closure for Carrie when filming the second and third films, right? I cannot imagine filming kissing scenes with someone who stole your heart.
Carrie Fisher’s stories are very heartfelt and honest. I appreciate the courage it took to publish these pages. Carrie gives readers a very young and vulnerable part of herself. Yet I think this also illustrates the Princess Leia in her. What would Princess Leia do? A good mantra that Carrie has used in her life. I think I will too. WWPLD (or WWLD for short)?
I hope that now she is at peace with who she was and the experiences of her life. Closing this book was difficult as it was like an official “goodbye.” Her words still whispered in my head but became faded as the pages came to a close. I hope she realizes how talented and empowering she was in life for so many younglings, like me, in the late 70s/early 80s. While not quite what I had hoped, this book does still give us an honest and entertaining look into the life of “just” Carrie and the shadow that Star Wars cast over that life.
Rest in Peace, Carrie Fisher
"Descendants of Avalon"
Released via Inklings Publishing
("The Forgotten" volume 2)
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse