The first thing I have to acknowledge about The Princess Diarist is that it was a bittersweet read for me. I had planned on reading this for a while, but I put it on my Christmas list and could not purchase it until Christmas had passed, just in case I received it in my gifts. Of course, the Christmas holidays were rife with tragedy…Carrie suffered a serious heart attack and eventually died drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.
Okay, so I broke the serious moment just then, but if you have read Wishful Drinking, another one of her memoirs/autobiographies, you will understand. If you have not read any of her previous works and want to read a bit about Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic, click on the titles here to see my reviews of those.
Anyway, so I finally got a hold of this book, and it has gained a permanent position on my bookshelf. I tend not to buy physical books very often. I tend to go to the library and check them out, or go the electronic route. I reserve places on my bookshelf for books given to me as gifts, or ones I choose carefully and know I will want to revisit.
But back to the point.
The Princess Diarist still has the same wit I have come to associate with Carrie Fisher, particularly with her written works. It is a sharp, frank sort of wit. The thing is, though, that she has been able to take serious topics and add in some wit afterwards. For me, this makes the serious topics more digestible, something I think is very important. While the topic might be a serious one, the easier you can digest the topic, the more likely it is for the ultimate message to stick.
Beyond the wit remaining the same as her previous works and public life, I actually found The Princess Diarist much more sentimental than anything from her I have seen before. On one hand, I wonder if the sentiment seemed more prominent since I read The Princess Diarist after Carrie passed away, or if it really was that way. I think, though, that the tone of this book was perfect. I do not believe I would have changed it in any way. The writing was quality, as always, and the way she presents the story is great as well.
I think the inclusion of some of the diaries themselves was a perfect choice in this case. I mean, you can always tell stories later, but having the original account there adds another layer. Reading the original diaries, or the excerpts provided, was an interesting experience for me. I am older than Carrie was at the time of the diaries, but at the same time I know all too well some of the feelings she was going through. Which is bizarre, considering her experiences are quite different from mine (I have never been in a film nor had an affair with a married man). At the same time, the feelings and sentiment she expressed during the book about those experiences, well, I just felt them. I won’t talk about exactly what they were here, but I would be happy to in the comments once you read the book.
There was one striking moment on page 135—well, the whole of the page, really—that really seemed to describe me. I guess the specifics are different, since she had bipolar disorder and suffered from addiction in her life, but the struggles of my mind provide enough similarity for me to really feel it. I know, I am being vague, but this is something you really have to read to get the full effect. That said, I feel like anyone who finds they struggle with their mind in any capacity will understand, on some significant level, what Carrie describes on this page.
You have to read this book. You have to read her other books. I am so glad I read them and got to know Carrie much better outside of Star Wars. She is more than just Princess/General Leia Organa. Sure, that was a big part of her life, but it was not its entirety. She suffered and struggled through mental illness and was public about it, which I think is an amazing thing. People need to talk about it more, they really do.
So, please read The Princess Diarist. When you do, leave a comment below with your thoughts. I could write about this book, and Carrie, for a long time, but thought turning it to a conversation would be the way to continue for now. Did you have a particular page that struck you, like page 135 did for me? If you have read more than this book, did you detect the same shift in tone as I did? Did you enjoy Carrie’s wit? I want to know everything.
And to Carrie…thank you for your impact on me and so many others. May the Force be with you.
Title: The Princess Diarist
Author: Carrie Fisher
Publisher: Blue Rider Press