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on December 28, 2008
Being a big fan or Carrie's books and admiring how she could survive such a Hollywood upbringing, I really looked forward to this new book. While there are moments of hilarity, it really reads better if you imagine her standing up in front of an audience doing this as a cross between a stand up routine and a semi biography. As a book it just is not on the same caliber as her previous efforts. But i was able to get through it by picturing her reading this live and laughing along with the audience. It is witty and funny in places but more properly belongs as it started - a stand up show or audio book. I applaud her survival and honesty about her addictions and bipolar disorder, but this is better as an interview than a book.
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on December 9, 2008
Even though I'm sure her one-woman show is funnier, Carrie Fisher's wit and humor definitely come across in this book. There's no plot, and little chronology, but it comes across the same as it would on stage. Just an iconic and kinda crazy woman, rambling on about her strange and interesting life. Any fans of Fisher or Star Wars would love it, and I think people who don't fit one of those categories would at least be amused by it. It's a quick read, with large print and pictures!
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on January 3, 2009
This book is best as the unabridged audiobook read by the author herself! Much like David Sedaris, the only person that can fully convey the emotional impact and placement of emphasis in their experiences, is the author themselves. After listening to this three hour conversation with Carrie, as she does ask rhetorical questions of her reader/audiences, I wondered why she has not reached the level of gay icon status as Cher or Liza. The woman smoked Harrison Ford's dope, she turns men bald and gay, was the daughter of a gay icon (which gives you 10 points automatically), and has her fair share of True Hollywood Story moments - I mean come on! Has your mother given you a vibrator for Christmas, no? Only Carrie? Find out she ended up with a dead gay Republican in her bed...as one does and several other intriguing stories! A new tour of the one woman show also titled "Wishful Drinking" is being planned for 2009, so if you like Margaret Cho, Sarah Silverman, and Kathy Griffin and want to go a bit old school Enquirer - than make it a point to see her live!
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on May 12, 2009
I don't generally write reviews, but this book just made me want to write one.

I've liked Carrie Fisher's other books and generally really like "memoirs" about drug addiction, drinking, mental health issues and things like that. So it seemed like Carrie Fisher's "memoir" titled Wishful Drinking would be very good. I was excited about reading it.

But, I did not like this book at all. It didn't go into any detail about anything in her life. Just a sentence or two about some "issue" and that's all. I was always waiting for "the story" then I finally just got to the end and really didn't feel like she actually told anything. It was just sort of rambling about herself while trying too hard to be funny yet leaving out an actual story. Along with that, although some authors can do the rambling, then getting distracted and changing to some other topic, she really couldn't pull it off.

I would not recommend this book at all which upsets me because I was really expecting something much better.
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VINE VOICEon December 9, 2008
I would love to be able to give this book four or five stars, as I think Carrie Fisher is hilarious, and I've been a fan since I was an eight-year old watching Star Wars in 1977.

But it seems that her one-woman show, the source material for this book, loses a lot when it's put onto paper. I haven't seen the show, but I have heard her on the radio several times and she's a great interview. You can dig into the NPR archives to listen.

On stage, this material could become a whole performance. But pain transmuted into mere anecdote loses a lot in translation, without voice, expression and body language to support the story.

Fisher remains detached from her own memoir, partly a result of growing up so publicly in the ultimate dysfunctional Hollywood family, and now she says also due to her ECT treatments for her manic depression. For example, she's funny when she talks about being in Star Wars, and how it's taken over her identity, but she doesn't really share what the experience was like, as a nineteen-year old daughter of Hollywood finding herself (almost certainly unexpectedly) in the biggest movie of all time.

Fisher is a talented writer and performer, and I wish her all the best. I enjoyed Wishful Drinking, but ironically it feels like some of Fisher's biggest fans might be the most disappointed by the distancing effect of her humor. On the other hand, I have not read her novels, and fans of that work might be gratified to see Fisher finally telling her story as memoir rather than thinly disguised roman a clef.
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on January 3, 2009
Carrie Fisher's "Wishful Drinking" should not be read as an autobiography.Rather, it should be read and enjoyed as a book of Comedy.Carrie describes her famous parents,Debbie Reynolds and Eddie
Fisher as the (Jennifer Anniston & Brad Pitt) of their era.When you
add Elizabeth Taylor (the Angelina Jolie) of her time......it makes
some sense as she took Eddie Fisher from the homebody Debbie.

Move along several years.Carrie has a daughter named Billie.Billie is
interested in Rhys,the grandson of Elizabeth Taylor,by her only
daughter Liza Todd (also the child of Mike Todd).Carrie nixes the
interest by stating they are related by scandal,and draws a most
interesting diagram on pages 36-37 to further prove this.

Carrie doesn't write aboutanything,including her own serious illness without a bit of humor thrown in.Although we know anyone,who has a
series of shock treatment,is suffering from a severe depresion.Carrie
continues to keep her book upbeat.

I think humor is is her way of coping.She has reached the age of 53,
adopting this method of coping.Not a bad idea if you find yourself
raised in Hollywood.I give her credit for not whining about her childhood,
and learning to laugh at the pretentiousness of the system she found
herself dwelling in.

She discovered early,humor,when you have no control over your life,
can surely save you.
For sheer entertainment,I gave her 5 stars.

p.s. There are a number of good photoes in this book.Too bad they are
not in color.
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on January 13, 2009
Unfortunately, I can't give Carrie much for this effort. Not much at all. It's almost shocking, how throwaway and weak this very meager "memoir" is. Fisher proved, with 'Postcards from the Edge,' that she can write with a great measure of fresh wit (or was that merely great editing, so loooong ago?), but this book seems written with palpable disinterest in...HERSELF. Where's the wit? Her turns of phrase, when she tries to turn them, are bland and unconvincing. Even her one-liners are generally awful, e.g. "Well, if the Enquirer has become your standard of living, you're in a lot of trouble!"

Whah? That's like writing, "If your car breaks down in the Ozarks, you're probably going to meet some scary hillbillies!"

Ha.

Sadly, this is typical of the humor in Carrie's new work. Obvious and drab. As some reviewers have noted, it does indeed seem as if she phoned-it-in, as if she wrote this on the back of a grocery list while watching a Wolf Blitzer marathon on CNN one afternoon. I'm more than a little astonished, to be honest. She got paid for this? This is considered "quality" in Hollywood and in literary circles in New York?

Who am I kiding? Of course it is. That's the problem.

Carrie's anecdotes are sometimes interesting (sure they are--she grew-up with movie stars and became Princess Leia and had Hollywood adventures). But her writing (here) is so poor, lazy, and lacking in verve that even the best anecdotes seem blah, or forced. She sprinkles exclamation points at the end of sentence after sentence, like a schoolgirl desperate to fake or manufacture some excitement in the tedious essay she's barely bothered to craft.

Fisher uses "really, really" a lot. Disturbingly so. In fact, so many, many things are "really, really" this or "really, really" that...the astute reader just, really, really, you know, like, can't help feeling bamboozled. A grade-school teacher wouldn't buy that sort of evasive maneuver in a What-I-Did-This-Summer paper, and you shouldn't buy it in a hardcover "book" by a so-called professional. For over $25.

I'm sorry: everything seems to fall flat in this ill-advised endeavor. Even Carrie's behind-the-scenes recollections of hijinks on the Star Wars set, the marriage to Paul Simon, rehab, and her eccentric parents lack moxie. It's almost as if she's been hanging around with far too many non-witty sycophants and, now, their mediocrity, their lack of talent has rubbed-off on her own wit (or witlessness, in this case). The layout of this disaster says it all: the print is oversized, the text almost double-spaced, and even then it all adds-up to barely 150 pages. There'd be about 80 pages, if this were typically formatted. This book was not worthy of an expensive, ripoff hardcover-edition for many reasons; its glaring pithiness is just one of them.

The truly unfortunate thing is that Debbie's Daughter could have made this something special. She could have trained a genuinely keen eye and wicked wit upon the juicier, quirkier events of her life, but I have to wonder when mainstream critics remark that this book is full of "razor-sharp" wit. What? What a scam. The reader couldn't get a paper-cut on the pages of this book, to say nothing of the sharpness of the material. But, audiences for all kinds of work--from sitcoms to cinema to books--have become used to blatant mediocrity. People "laugh" at even the most watered-down bilge these days.

This actually saddens me for the author. I feel for her emotional disorders, but presented in this manner, sympathy only goes so far for a Hollywood brat. To her credit, Fisher does realize this and does at least a little self-deprecating amid this mess. In all honesty: as a reader and fan, I'm not taking pleasure in slamming her latest, but I did spend the dough on the book, I probably couldn't afford it, the book stinks, and I know Fisher can do so much better. Mind-bogglingly better. To recount embarrassingly private personal and familial anecdotes is shaky-ground, to begin with. To recount these things poorly and without verve amounts to a serious misfire.

To be fair, Carrie manages a few very amusing "bits" in the book. For example, she tells an initially bland story about boring old George Lucas's theory about lack of underwear in space (because underwear could asphyxiate you in zero-gravity) and then she very playfully insists that, after her own death, friends must tell the papers that--no matter how she dies--she "drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra."

That's the kind of wit and creativity of which she's capable, and which should have dotted this entire book. It's not there. Indeed, one gets the distinct feeling that she wasn't all that excited about writing this in the first place, and ostensibly did it for money. Ugh. Well, she got some of mine, I'm sad to report. My point is that, even if she did toss-this-off for money, she still should have done her best. 'Wishful Drinking' is light years from her best, and presumably her stage-show is better as a chatty, banter-piece. It had better be better.

I hope Fisher directs her energies toward a truly worthy new novel--something that requires actual work and which results in something fit to purchase. I also hope that people (pubbers, editors, readers, agents, etc.) start being honest with privileged writers and stop allowing them to produce crap and pretend it's publishable. Carrie Fisher has talent and is capable of fine work, but (at least for me) is now in the position of having to prove it all over again. Big time. Come on, Carrie--you've got a classic in you; get back to the grindstone. Reader, do yourself a favor and leave this one alone, if only out of respect for Fisher and her clan. If sheer prurience dictates otherwise, wait until this ends-up in the bargain bin. It will.
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on January 8, 2009
I should first say that I truly wanted to enjoy Carrie Fisher's book, "Wishful Drinking". In spite of its flaws, I finished the book, hunting to the last for some reasoning or moral concept within its pages, and the only conclusion I came to is that $9.99 was better spent elsewhere.

The first issue I had with "Wishful Drinking" was its lack of content. It certainly contains a few funny anecdotes, but they're of the "Heh." variety rather than the rolling on the floor sort. The vast majority of the anecdotes presented lack substance as she retells stories that were likely far more hilarious at the time that they occurred. For the observer, they lack the depth to hit home. For Star Wars fans, there really isn't a boatload of information here...two or three offhand references, a surprisingly low amount. This leads to my next issue.

Problem number two is that the book serves as a narrative spouting of issues for Carrie Fisher. Prior to reading "Wishful Drinking", I had no idea of her history of substance abuse problems in conjunction with a bipolar condition. This is an unwelcome revelation, but could at least serve as kindling to create a great big firestorm of a book. The issue is that Carrie Fishers writing style too greatly illustrates that she has had substance abuse and bipolar issues...her book lacks organization or structure, is devoid of context, and often lacks coherent thought. Unfortunately, her personal narrative presents as a disjointed and confusing babble rather than as personal conversation with the reader. This book could very easily have been written in a day or two, with absolutely no preparation or design.

To end, I had one final issue with this book. In a personal outpouring of her soul, or in a heartfelt retelling of past struggles, you will find no less conscientious or regretful a soul than Carrie Fisher. As she recounts her dark days of substance and alcohol abuse, you will find that there is no moral discovery or explanation of the impact that such problems have had on her family. The revelations of substance abuse serve only to introduce substance-void narratives, such as the time she spoke on the phone to Cary Grant (I'm sure it was much more interesting if you were there) or the none-too-regretful feeling of a woman proclaiming to the world "I've got substance abuse issues and I'm bi-polar! Whoo crazy lady on the way through, back up back up!" At the end, you will know that she suffers from considerable emotional and substance-abuse related issues, that she feels her mother and her daughter are absolutely awesome, life is pretty great, and there is apparently no negative repercussions from leading such a lifestyle, outside of having to undergo electric shock therapy...which doesn't seem to bother her, and which she apparently feels is pretty awesome.

If you deem to purchase this book, know that it is a manifesto consisting of a shoulder shrug and a swig off a bottle, of a woman quite amused with her own abuse problems, who will look at you from the pages of this book and say "Yeah I've got a problem, so what?"

I truly wish I had loved this book, but this pond is far too shallow for Carrie Fisher to actually reflect in.
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on May 6, 2016
I don’t read books too often , but his one I picked up and read in a few days which was amazing for me. All I could do was laugh and laugh and cry. Her style of writing is just like how she comes off when I’ve seen her on TV (say like in a tabloid news program - hehe). She is so very smart and very witty. Even the cover of the book with the Leia buns makes me laugh - the stories she tells are much better than the picture though

I will say that Carrie has been one of my idols since the first run of the star wars franchise so this is what drew me to the book to begin with. Not knowing much about her parents’ story, I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say. I got the paperback and had no problem reading it in printed pages. I think her personality comes through by the way she writes. Come to think of it, this book kind of feels like you're walking into a tabloid too - I felt like I was getting “exclusive" access. If that kind of thing is exciting to you, you will *love* this book. If that makes your eyes roll, then maybe no. For me, this book is a keeper and I’ll be reaching for it when I just want to laugh.
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on December 20, 2012
I can't remember what, exactly, made me order this book. I think a misguided relative suggested it thinking it would be entertaining to someone in the recovery community. Books like these sell because of celebrity, obviously, but the author has led such an interesting life, there is an abundance of material to make wonderful and entertaining reading or perhaps even an insightful and inspiring story of recovery that could help someone suffering from addiction or mental illness.

Unfortunately, there is nothing worthy or entertaining about this boring read. I kept waiting for something to happen, either hilarious or insightful but that moment never arrived. This is a shallow attempt at being funny or insightful. It pretty much confirms my view of Hollywood being a cultural wasteland that without the help of occasional outsiders who show up and provide good material, would have nothing of value, entertainment or otherwise, to justify their existence.

I honestly wanted to like this book but could not. I don't condemn the author because she has obviously responded to requests from many to share her story with the world. Maybe at dinner or a social gathering, she could provide light entertainment, but once the words go into black and white, their insipid, boring and shallow reality becomes impossible to ignore.
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