Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Carrie Fisher's The Princess Diarist reveals the actress at her most vulnerable.

Recently while having some work done on her home, Carrie Fisher came across some old diaries she'd kept while working on the first Star Wars film. Fisher was 19 at the time, living in London where the film was being shot and generally trying to make it as a teenager in an adult's world. The diaries, however, don't detail much, if anything, of the day-to-day shooting of Star Wars ("that little space film"). Fisher at the time was having an affair with Harrison Ford, who was still married.

The book is presented in three parts. The first section describes those events of forty years ago from the perspective of today. This is probably the strongest part of the memoir as Fisher writes about the terrible shyness and awkwardness of being a teenager and unsure if you're really wanted. In this case, she wasn't. Harrison Ford intended to go back to his wife; the affair would only be a three month fling. Even knowing this, the young Carrie was plunged into all sorts of emotional turmoil.

The middle section of the book consists of excerpts from the diaries. As you'd expect, they're all intensely personal. You almost feel like you shouldn't be reading them, but then console yourself that you have the permission of the author.

The third section describes life after Star Wars and what impact the film has had on Fisher. We learn about the perils of the Star Wars convention circuit, signing autographed photos for fans. It doesn't make you envy the famous!

Tender and sad, but also shot through with Carrie Fisher's trademark humour, The Princess Diarist demonstrates that fame is not all that it's cracked up to be. Filming one of the greatest films of all time proved to be a time of exquisite pain for one of its most famous stars.

The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher. Published by Bantam Press. ISBN: 9780593077573 RRP: $34.99

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