From Amazon – ‘In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabres.” Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction and weathering the wild ride of manic depression. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, and from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.’
First off, I am not a celebrity autobiography reader. I’d rather be bashed on the head with a book about Katie Price than actually have to read it. However, Carrie Fisher is a whole different class of celebrity than those pop star wannabes who hash out a ‘memoir’ by the time they’ve reached the grand old age twenty-two. She’s a cult icon with genuine mental health and addiction problems. Why wouldn’t you want to read her autobiography?
The reason I don’t usually enjoy autobiographies is because I’m pretty much only interested in whatever made that person famous, as are most of the other readers. Despite this, I’ll still be subjected to a long diatribe on their childhood pet, playground experiences and relationship with their mother. Ms. Fisher’s book is nothing like that. While she does mention her mother, that mother is Debbie Reynolds and so provides anecdotes that only a beautiful, movie-star mother can. The book isn’t bogged down with names and dates à la most autobiographies either – it actually feels like Carrie Fisher herself has sat down opposite you and told you a little about herself.
Because that’s all it is – a little. Due to ECT (electric shock) therapy and the intake of a huge amount of drugs, her memory is shot. She freely admits that there are huge chunks of her life missing, but here she’s attempted to scribble down what she does remember. It’s a very short book; I read it in a few hours and it’s massively padded out with photos, but it works. It’s long enough to provide an insight into the life of Ms Fisher, but not long enough for me to get bored and wander off like many other biographies.
‘I’m a PEZ dispenser. True story. Which not only has really made my life great, but it’s enhanced the lives of everyone I run into. If you can get someone to make you into a PEZ dispenser, do it. And my daughter loves it because like I told you, she’s a teenager, and they love to humiliate the parent for sport, so all she has to do is flip my head back and pull a wafer out of my neck.’
I’d never have thought she was so funny. There were parts where I was laughing out loud from her dry sarcasm and wit. She’s very self-deprecating about her mental health issues, which she discusses in a way that implies she understands they’re serious but isn’t going to cry over it. I respect her all the more for fighting the stigma of mental illness and explaining a little of how it feels.
It’s not as Star Wars-y as you’d expect. Or as I did anyway – but I barely knew anything about her but that and a vague idea that she was an alcoholic. There are dozens of books about the films already though, so I suppose she didn’t really feel the need to rehash what’s already been said. There are a few interesting tidbits scattered around however- like it was Harrison Ford’s pot that finally tipped her over the edge and Christopher Walken was originally set to play Han Solo!
‘Anyway, during one of the takes, Mark was so intent on making his strangulation look realistic that he ended up bursting a blood vessel in his eye, which in turn left this bright red dot. So, the following day we shot our next scene – which happened to be the last scene in the movie. You know, the one where I give out all the medals? Mark had to grin like a motherfucker in that scene in order to conceal his red dot. Because, ultimately, who’s going to give a medal to someone with a big, stupid red dot in their eye? I don’t care how much force is with him.’
I can’t wait for her new book, Shockaholic, that’s coming out at the end of the year and I might give a few of her novels a go too.