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on August 28, 2002
Many people, myself among them, were initially turned off by Carrie Fisher's Postcards from the Edge. Oh no, here comes another Hollywood star who thinks she can run the gamut of the arts. Even though the book was a bestseller when it was released, I couldn't change my initial (and, admittedly) biased opinion--50 million Elvis fans can be wrong. Even when Surrender the Pink, Fisher's second novel, appeared and garnered acclaim, I wasn't satisfied. But then Postcards from the Edge was made into a film with Meryl Streep, and, needing a film to see, I went. And what transpired on the screen (from a screenplay by Fisher) was enough to break through my bias.
Postcards from the Edge is quite different from the movie, however. The movie has a linear story that is quite clearly autobiographical for Fisher--Suzanne Vail is a young star undergoes a stomach pump, then drug rehabilitation, and it all is the result of early fame, and a famous mother that the star has yet to really come to terms with. The book, although similar in parts, has a "postcard" feel. The early section is told through the diary entries of Suzanne and Alex, an addicted young screenwriter. Later sections, told only through the point of view of Suzanne, range from entirely dialogue through more traditional third person narrative.
Fisher understands the process of addiction, that searching for escape, then denial, then endless justification. Her portrayal of drug addiction goes beyond drugs--I've never taken any, but I could see the patterns of addiction in terms of my many vices. She also understands the glad-handing movie culture enough to be able to depict it as glamorous, while also showing the pimples underneath. Bret Easton Ellis has nothing on her one scene of Suzanne going shopping: the brand names, the non-sequiturs, the endless vagaries are all things he would have died to write.
Carrie Fisher has a way with words. She's not the next Dorothy Parker, but there is a fine example of wit in Postcards from the Edge. It's a wit measured by the 80s, by her experience, and by her personality. Ellis can't match it, because he hasn't lived her life. And that's what makes Postcards from the Edge special: it is a book that was written by the only person who could write it. That is, it is unique. And, frankly, that's more than can be said for many books published these days.
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on November 26, 2005
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It moves quickly and surely (even if its heroine doesn't!), has smarts and wit to spare, and finds a nice balance between portraying the dark side of addiction and the smart-alecky narrator's attempts to deal with it.

Along the way, you're treated also to early-1990s Hollywood gossip, if you follow it closely enough to figure it out. As in a roman a clef, Fisher sneaks dish about famous figures into every page, and if you read between the lines you can catch the jokes about Geena Davis, Harrison Ford, etc.

Gossip aside, though, this is just a well-written book. It moves quickly, making it a great read, and the humor in it is so smart and black that Fisher's characters emerge as simultaneously courageous and unsure of themselves. This makes her protagonist especially endearing, and since the book in anchored around her, it's great that she's so sympathetic.

I recommend "Postcards from the Edge." It takes a unique look at addiction by spotlighting its sources in and effects on the psyche and self-esteem.
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on November 25, 2001
Just a quick note to remark how much I loved this book! Carrie Fisher beautifully brings us the inside of Hollywood through a web of humor, drugs, relationships, 'Hollywood Party Terror', and much more.
The plot centers on a 30-year-old actress named Susan Vale, and follows her challenges as she overcomes her drug addiction, gets back into the swing of things, and finally falls in love- although her 'unstable' being forbids her from admitting it.
I absolutely adored 'Postcards'! A must-read!
*long live Carrie Fisher*
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on June 24, 2000
Ever had issues with your mother, your looks, your career, your self-esteem, your depression? Ever just thought you hit rock bottom, but pulled yourself out of it? Carrie Fisher takes readers on an unbelievable ride where she writes her main character as a very somber, yet sarcastic hero in a world full of drug users and Hollywood actors. The two often become the same thing.
The text is full of a number of very, very witty one liners, but reaches a great subtext about human bravery in a time when people give other people very little credit for just getting out of bed each day.
This is Fisher's finest book so far.
You will laugh. Trust me.
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on November 14, 1999
This book is one of the best books I have read. It is funny and sad, and although I share none of the experiences that the main character, Suzanne Vale, and the author, Carrie Fisher have, I somehow feel as if I am the author, and I am the character. Carrie Fisher's writing speaks to me like only a couple of other books ever have or ever will.
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on June 29, 2015
excellent read, both funny and tragic. Fisher allows me to see her squirmy insides and shiny battle armour of self deprecating humour. This book is comforting and entertaining for someone dear to me who is also bi polar and laughed til they almost cried whilst reading this. Thanks Ms Fisher.
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VINE VOICEon April 1, 2005
Carrie Fisher's semi-autobiographical first novel gives a behind-the scenes look at the gloom behind the glamour. The only thing funnier is the movie. Fisher shows a wicked sense of humor as well as a talent for storytelling. Of course she knows the business; she's been known to act in films.
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on June 7, 2005
Suzanne Vale is troubled but very appealing and relatable in this first incarnation. Her wit is sharp and speaks to issues most women have but few will acknowledge. The first time I read this I was fairly blown away by the insight and brutal honesty, and more importantly the wry approach to both. I felt vindicated in seeing some of my issues validated by Suzanne's unabashed articulation of them (The "Why? Why would you think I would want to know that?" exchange... "What is it about me that looks like I would want to know there are other smart pretty girls? Because I'll fix it. I'll change it. Is it something I'm wearing? Is my lip curled in a certain way that says, 'Got to tell her there's another bright woman around'? Why would you think I would want to know that a beautiful, gorgeous, supermarket-famous face from television is as bright and funny as I am?")

One of the earlier passages taking us first-person through a fellow drug rehab patient's series of rationalizations that takes him from swearing off drugs through doing endless hits of coke and following that up with ecstasy, heroin and whatever was in his dealer's medicine cabinet was really quite impressively executed; its few pages were far more potent than the entire D.A.R.E. program ever was.

Re-reading this years later and after reading "The Best Awful," I felt that "Postcards" was a little too self-congratulatory re: the protagonist's clever rejoinders. But I think my mid-'90s 25-year-old self would still find it seminal and deeply resonant.
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on May 11, 2015
Carrie Fisher is witty and funny. She sprinkles this story with bits of her own true story which ultimately makes the reader feel a bit sad about the circumstances that lead the main character to enter rehab.
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on July 21, 2013
It depends on your taste in books. I do not read a lot of fiction, but I appreciate a good turn of phrase. I bought the book because I liked Carrie Fisher in Star Wars. As with all fiction writers I think there is a good bit of her own life experience there. It is an easy read. Anyone who likes good light writing with a sense of humor about life's tribulations is likely to enjoy this book. I really think that there is considerably more depth to Carrie Fisher than is viewable in her well done characterization of Princess Leia.
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