The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (2016)
This book sat on my desk for over a month before I decided to finally open it. I purchased it after the author’s passing, and avoided any reviews or even descriptions of what was contained within these pages, other than that it contained the late Carrie Fisher’s found diaries, her “recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.” If you are not aware of the contents of The Princess Diarist, be warned: there are spoilers ahead. Go back now if you plan to read this book and don’t want to know anything about it (assuming you have not already read other reviews).
Want to continue? Read on…
Much of the book has very little to do with Star Wars, actually. What Fisher remembers, more than anything, is her infatuation and three-month affair with her co-star Harrison Ford. Ford was married at the time, nearly fifteen years her senior, and she was still a teenager. It would have been a sweet story had it not involved adultery and illicit sexual escapades. She was an impressionable young woman, he was an experienced older man, and a crush is a crush. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the lack of morality that pervades the celebrity lifestyle, but it is still disappointing.
Fisher revealed herself as an insecure young girl, doubtful about her physical beauty as well as her personality. She wanted to be liked, especially by the roguish Ford, and after a bit of alcohol at George Lucas’ 32nd birthday party she found herself together with her co-star. Their affair lasted three months, the entire time they were filming, and ended when shooting wrapped. Thankfully, she does not go into pornographic detail about the affair, spending most of the ink on her “does he like me because I’m me or does he like me because I’m here” thought process throughout their dalliance.
It was my misunderstanding that The Princess Diarist would consist primarily of diaries, when in fact the actress’ journals do not come into play until after page one hundred, and then they are only seventy pages in length. There are more recollections after her forty-year old words, including a wistful wish to rekindle that relationship with Ford. She writes, “If we’re going to get back together we’re going to have to do it soon. And getting back together with someone you were never truly with is, to say the least, complicated. But absolutely worth the effort. Or not.”
Finally, she leaves the subject of their indiscretions (I almost typed “her” but it was just as much his as hers and maybe even more so), and moves on to remembering the overnight sensation of the movie itself. She recalls the endless press junkets, answering as much of the early fan mail as possible, and the amazement she felt when she saw the lines literally busting city blocks to see this space adventure on the big screen. She then describes celebrity signing sessions at events such as ComiCon, cynically recreating conversations with fans seeking her autograph.
While The Princess Diarist is an interesting read, the subject matter and language certainly is inappropriate for younger readers, and much of it would have been better left unsaid.