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The Princess Diarist Hardcover – November 22, 2016
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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"Fisher offers a thoughtful, sardonic meditation on the price of fame, cost-of-living adjustments included." –J.D. Biersdorfer, The New York Times Book Review
“Characteristically frank and unflinching, funny and true … The Princess Diarist is about a woman’s relationship with desire—her own, and of others’ for her—writ large, as large as Star Wars.” –Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Jezebel.com
"In her funny and frequently touching new memoir The Princess Diarist, the iconic Star Wars actress and author reveals the diaries she kept as a 19-year-old starring in the blockbuster sci-fi film.... It’s an eye-opener for fans, but it also shows a gifted writer even at a young age. There was a lot going on between Princess Leia’s hair buns."
-Brian Truitt, USA Today
“There’s tremendous insight into the volatile heart of a young woman, seen through the eyes of her wiser, older self still seeking her place in the universe.” – Anthony Breznican, Entertainment Weekly
“Are you a woman who’s ever fallen for a man who might fit this description? ‘With him love was easier done than said/instead of taking you to heart he would take you to bed/and you take what he has to offer lying down/you’re getting more involved while he’s still getting around.’ Yes? Read on … [The Princess Diarist] is a radical truth bomb.” – Julia Felsenthal, VOGUE.com
"An unflinching, sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious look inside the mind of a 19-year-old actress in the throes of a Hollywood locationship." –Meredith Woerner, Los Angeles Times
"An unexpectedly emotional read." –The Verge
"Fisher [is] a force to be reckoned with, both on the page and in real life." –Heather Havrilevsky, Bookforum
"A frank, self-deprecating memoir...outspoken, honest commentary of what it's like to be Princess Leia on and off the screen." – Kirkus
"The Princess Diarist...is about the making of Star Wars in 1976, but it's definitely not for the kids — a wry, witty look back through the diaries she kept at the time, its main event is her steamy affair with co-star Harrison Ford."
–Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
About the Author
Carrie Fisher was an author and actress best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. She appeared in countless other films, including Shampoo and When Harry Met Sally and wrote four bestselling novels: Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, The Best Awful, and Postcards from the Edge, as well as the memoirs Shockaholic and Wishful Drinking. She passed away in December 2016.
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The first part of the book is written in Carrie's chatty, charming, self-depreciating style as she tells of her early life working as a backup singer in her mother's variety show. Father is absent, having left mother for Elizabeth Taylor (and Carrie manages to throw a few zinger his way as well.) She takes us through the auditions for both Star Wars and the movie Carrie right up through how she chose that cinnamon bun hairstyle. As for as a behind-the-scenes look at the movie, that's about it. The rest is her account as that vulnerable 19 year old with the witty mouth who exudes faked confidence, who decided that she was going to have an affair on the movie set. No married men, thank you very much, especially that intense, quiet, but gorgeous co-star. Not like he'd ever go for someone like her, anyway, right? All too soon, she's left wondering at what the gorgeous stranger in her bed is doing with the likes of her. And so ensues a 3 month secret affair conducted during the weekends, between two people who are at very different places in their lives..
There are no explicit details, just a couple of conversations.. (No, she never critiques his technique as a lover..) And you don't get his side of the story, of course, because this is based on her own recollections and some diaries she found when renovating her bedroom. The diary section is raw and painful and messy and sad and wounded as one might expect a young woman's recollections to be over a doomed affair. She writes many poems, songs, and prose on her feelings of the situation and does not hold back. Around him, she finds herself self-conscious and nervous. She laments that they have no feeling for each other, that he should have stayed a stranger, that he's unemotional, silent, the MarlboroMan, boring, two-dimentional, quiet, and she's falling in love and falling apart. She has already established that she's insecure (most people I know are insecure - me included) and young (rather unworldly and a bit naive as 19 year olds tend to be), so mix that with a grown man who is emotionally unavailable, and this is what you get.
Did he know she felt this way, or did he not? Hard to say because neither of them were talking about their feelings with each other, but if he did I would imagine he did not want to encourage her, as he was married and had a family, and knew where this would lead. Given the fact that this lasted 3 months, I can't imagine he had no feelings about it, even if he didn't show them (it's a well-known and often told fact that Harrison took drama classes in college to overcome his shyness. Or maybe he's introverted. Or maybe he's just a guy. Who knows?) Maybe he felt guilty, not just for cheating, not just for his wife, but for Carrie as well, for embarking on a 'casual' affair that turned out to not be so 'casual' afterall. Something done in theory is always different in fact.
And another thing:
The stuff Carrie writes in her journal reads like an exposed nerve, but it's the stuff she's thinking and feeling - the angsty kind of stuff you write in a diary - not the stuff you share with a guy, especially one who's married (so maybe he didn't know, but I'm still betting he did.) I'm sure most of you know that this is how women are - if you pass us in the hall at school and say 'hi', we're already wondering if this is the story we'll tell at our engagement party, of how we first met. We get melodramatic; It's just what we do.
It did not end badly - it just ended (with a bit of relief and no regret.)
The last part of the book fast-forwards 40 years. She writes that she knows Harrison better now and he still leaves her tongue-tied. If she was not proud of herself for having an affair with a married man (as she writes), I can only imagine he was not proud of himself either. (Also, she mentions that he is not a womanizer, and as far as she knows, she was his only affair and he was faithful to his other wives.) And they've never mentioned it since. Until now.
So why tell this story at all? Well, Carrie found those diaries and began reading them, remembering that time in her life fondly, even gratefully. As we get older, remembering a time in our lives when everything was in front of us, when we were young and relevent and everything is new, becomes important (she writes this in different words.) And she loves being Princess Leia, and is proud of it. She says and writes that she has no desire to embarrass Harrison or hurt anyone with this old story, and she did call him and talk with him about it. He didn't object or ask her to change anything. This did not happen yesterday - it happened 40 years ago. To read the diaries of the naive girl you were at 19 from the perspective of an older, wiser 60 year old is surreal. I keep diaries, too, and, while I've never had an affair with Harrison Ford (darn! and I'm not near 60 yet), I'm still shocked at the angst and drama of my former self, and what a particular situation meant to me and how it's shaped me. This is something Carrie wanted to share because she found those diaries and it's a part of the history of that time in their lives, and because and she can look back on it now in a different way (time has a way of taking the sting out of such things.).
And it's important to note that this is from her point of view as a 19 year old girl/woman - not now, who didn't understand that there are no such things as 'no-strings-attached' affairs. I'm betting Harrison learned that too.
As she explains, this is a book composite of diary notes she made just prior to working on the first Star Wars set and during the making of the films. Mention is made of the closeness of the relationship between her and her mother. It was a sort of blended mother/daughter relationship. The time of Debbie Reynolds film life was close to the Joan Crawford and Bette Davies era. Women working in films had a hard tie getting cast after a certain age. Plus it didn't help that her father Eddie Fisher was an alcoholic and s womanizer.
All of this is told from her viewpoint in retrospective of the diary notes. There's a few reveals as in the short term "romance" with Harrison Ford as seen from her view. In all it is a quick read
I say you get this book. Its a great read. The humor is laugh out loud worthy, the poetry will speak to your heart, and the star wars nostalgia will make you long for your childhood days pretending to be a smuggler with a Wookie.
Even if the man isn't in it for love. This brave woman shares her relationship
with the leading man in the "Star Wars" movie. As Princess Lela, this heroine
is only 19 years of age who falls for the hero, who is older & very married.
Heartfelt & heartbreaking, this honest book is a must read for those who
love what really happened during the filming of this little movie "Star Wars."