- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 10 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: November 22, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01AAXYD54
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Princess Diarist Audiobook – Unabridged
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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.
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. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.
My Thoughts: A thoroughly enjoyable foray into the past, The Princess Diarist showed the author’s trademark humor, self-deprecatory descriptions, and the skill of the wordsmith that have followed her in all of her work. Additionally, the photos were some I had never seen before.
I liked how she tastefully revealed the love affair that had been a secret for years. I felt as though I could see into her heart as she revealed her anxieties about that relationship, while also allowing us to enjoy the thrill she felt, most precious because she also knew that it was a temporary thing.
Those insecurities came out most in the diary entries, written by her younger self. She was nineteen at the time, while Harrison Ford was in his thirties. Her anecdotes of their short relationship, which she has characterized as a three-month one-night stand, reveal much about their personalities then…and later, too.
Her thoughts forty years later were also typically witty, even about very emotional topics. While she honestly revealed her thoughts and feelings, she was also able to mask the pain with her wit.
I especially enjoyed her anecdotes about the Princess Leia iconic images and the ongoing fan reactions, especially as time went by. Were her portrayals of Princess Leia her most defining moments? Must she constantly be confronted by the images, including dolls that commemorated her youthful life? Then again, without those reminders, would the fame have faded?
Fortunately, other movies and her bestselling novels added to her legacy.
Sadly, since Carrie Fisher’s passing in December 2016, we all must confront the reality that we will forever be looking into the rear view mirror when we think of her. I cherish the books and movies I own, and especially enjoyed this last memoir, the one she was celebrating at the time of her death. 5 stars.