TJ Burns — January 11, 2017
The Princess Diarist was an interesting read on so many levels. Carrie Fisher’s unexpected death two weeks ago makes this book timely, as well as tragic.
Having grown up as part of the original Star Wars generation, but never having succumbed to the celebrity hype (not even in my LA years), many aspects of this book, as well as Carrie Fisher’s life, surprised me.
In my youth, I identified more with Luke Skywalker than Princess Leia — daring, brave, goodhearted, genuine, honest. And I was a bit annoyed with Leia for choosing Han over Luke — clearly that could have gotten sticky later on when true relationships were revealed, but still… While Han was a hero in his own right, Luke was for me the genuine hero. And while Han was a bit of the bad boy, Luke was genuinely the good guy.
This made it all the more surprising for me to read that Carrie, like Leia, had chosen the bad boy, Harrison, over the good boy, Mark, to have an affair with during the making of the first film. Carrie herself admitted that she should have — and likely could have — had an affair (and who knows maybe a relationship) with Mark instead. In her place, it would have been a no-brainer for me. While Harrison was clearly dashing, fun, intelligent, etc, he was also older, married, and had two children.
Shocking to me was how unlike Leia Carrie actually was. Of course Leia was simply a part Carrie was playing, but it was a part that influenced, affected, and served as a role model for an entire generation. And typically I assume that an actor brings at least a tad bit of herself into every role, but in this case it was just the opposite. Leia’s intelligent, self-confident, commanding, in control, take-no-shit personality was in such a contrast with Carrie’s self-conscious, self-demeaning, self-depreciating, insecure personality that Carrie did all she could to bring Leia’s personality into her role as Carrie (at least in her younger days).
One thing Carrie had in common with Leia was her wit. Both Carrie and George Lucas’s creation were witty, although Carrie ended up being the butt of most of her own jokes, whereas Leia would never think to make fun of herself.
The Princess Diarist was quite an eye-opening read for me. While I knew that Carrie Fisher had struggled when attempting to take control of her post-Star Wars career, I didn’t realize the extent of her insecurity, nor would I have ever guessed that that the actor who played nobody’s fool Princess Leia would have fallen so hard and so deeply, and so despairingly into a dead-end relationship with her married co-star, a relationship that would still cause her pain 40 years later when bringing her memories onto the page.
I greatly appreciated Carrie’s stinging sarcasm, her biting humor, and her unique and endearing ability to make fun of herself. Carrie became a real person to me while reading this book, vulnerable, likable, intelligent (even while constantly purporting her own lack of intelligence), witty, engaging, and clearly one-of-a-kind. I greatly regret that I will never have the chance to meet her in person. The world definitely lost a princess last month.
I received a copy of this book from PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press & Plume via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Published October 18th 2016 by Blue Rider Press
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