By Francine Brokaw, guest post
Last year, while promoting her latest book The Princess Diarist and completing the next Star Wars movie, actress/author Carrie Fisher passed away. She left behind millions of fans who loved her portrayal of Princess Leia, and her books detailing her unconventional life. The Princess Diarist was her final book and takes readers/listeners into the recesses of her mind as she details the history of her life as Princess Leia.
The audio book (on 4 CDs) is the best way to experience this “adventure.” Fisher reads her book with her daughter Billie Lourd reading the actual diary Fisher kept while filming the first (or fourth) “Star Wars” movie. Having the author read her own book is the best way to experience audio books, in my opinion, because listeners feel as though she is talking directly to them, and in this case it definitely feels that way.
In recent years, Fisher discovered the diaries she kept while in London filming the little indie space movie. She dropped out of drama school to take the part of Princess Leia. She describes the way she was cast, and the long and arduous trials of finding the perfect hairstyle for this feisty character. And yes, Fisher was disenchanted with the ultimate “buns of Navarone” hairstyle that will always be associated with the character.
For the first time the actress reveals her affair with costar Harrison Ford. What listeners learn is how obsessed she was with him. They also, through her diary pages, learn how immature she was at the time, as most 19-year-olds are when experiencing their first love.
Fisher’s mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction is well known; She had been open and honest about it over the years. But hearing her thoughts coming off the pages of her diary definitely shines a light on her bipolar illness and the mental instability she had suffered with throughout her life.
While listeners hear the wit this woman was famous for, they also feel the wackiness that went on inside her mind. She was definitely suffering from an emotional/mental illness and was uncomfortable in her own body.
The Princess Diarist is a window into the mind of this woman who made an indelible mark on so many people’s lives. She discusses the impact the films had on the public and how she was taken aback by the whole thing. It’s an eye opening look at the ups and downs of her complicated mind as she stresses her obsession with Ford, and the aftermath of the film after 40 years.
Yes, she was an unconventional woman. Hearing her and her story in her own witty yet confused way, gives listeners a true insight into her mind. Her obsession with a married man, her dealings with the public and their obsession with her and the movie, and her inner turmoil comes out strongly in her own words.
Listening to her daughter read the actual diary pages is a little uncomfortable for those who do not know about mental illness. Her illness combined with her own brand of wit is the foundation of her diary. It shows how truly obsessed she was with Ford.
I found this an illuminating story to listen to. It definitely gives listeners an insight into the woman and opens up her experiences as Princess Leia, both good and bad. Listening to the audiobook is definitely more insightful than reading the book because readers hear the words directly from the author – who experienced it all.