I will start this review with two warnings: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD and that I am a “late-bloomer” in the Star Wars fan base. My childhood was filled with Disney princesses and their adorable animal sidekicks (all-time faves are Belle/Philippe and Mulan/Mushu) instead of Princess Leia and R2D2/C-3P0. In high school, I finally marathoned it and instantly became a fan. It had action, drama, intrigue, comedy, and romance. Yet I would never become the hardcore fan that reads the novels or has an all-encompassing knowledge on the EU. The only reason I know theories about Star Wars is because of my Agriscience teacher (s/o Mr. Kohn!) and a few close friends (thanks for the lightsaber tournament James, Ethan, and Chris; also for the Star Wars talks Hailey, Stephanie, and Lauren). So, bear with me as I give you the “Moderate SW Fan’s Review of The Princess Diarist”.
Fisher starts off with a list of events occurring in 1976, from OJ Simpson’s best game to the Son of Sam’s first victim (side note: it was cool to talk to my mom, who was 17 that year and next to me while I was reading, about these events since she lived through them). 1976 was also the year that Carrie Fisher landed her iconic role as Princess Leia, after convincing herself that she had bombed the audition. She gives us a brief glimpse into her family with Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and her life pre-Star Wars.
She spends a substantial portion of the book discussing CARRISON through anecdotes and diary entries; I was happy, but heartbroken while reading through her relationship. On the bright side, I basically got to have an affair with Harrison Ford vicariously through her (who wouldn’t want that?) because she is such a vivid and talented writer. This also means that I felt her sorrow, inner turmoil, and eventual heartbreak as clearly as if it was my own. Having recently ended a toxic relationship myself, her words and feelings hit a great deal closer to home than I had ever suspected.
I commiserated with her on her unrequited love and the awkwardness of having to pretend that you’re not in love with someone who you’re not supposed to be in love with, as well as all the angst that comes along with being 19 (whether you’re famous or not). Her ability to remain close friends with Ford for the rest of her life is heartwarming and sweet.
In addition to her brief relationship with H-Ford, she spoke about her experiences transitioning from an all-but-unknown teenager to a bonafide movie star seemingly overnight. If almost any other star had accrued the fame and notoriety that Carrie had, I would expect this memoir to be boastful and narcissistic. But, true to her style, it comes across as retrospective and honest. Not once does she take herself seriously and that is, perhaps, the most enjoyable part of this book.
Brief background on our beloved Carrie Fisher: she is a treasure to not only the Star Wars community but to this Earth. She is pure and noble, but not in the sense that she has made no mistakes in her life or that she is a saint; we know otherwise from the fleeting Carrison romance and her addictions. But she had truly learned from/repented for her mistakes and set out to make the rest of her life as impactful and meaningful as possible, all while being able to laugh at herself until the very end (aka her urn is a GIANT Prozac pill).
She used her life with bipolar disorder to become a powerful advocate for mental health and worked to support those affected and de-stigmatize controversial issues regarding mental illnesses. There are countless anecdotes of fans and peers whose lives, or even just a day, had been changed due to an interaction with Fisher. She is a role model to women and people everywhere; I know that I will be baptizing my face and spirit with #GlitterforFisher this May 4th to honor the effervescent Carrie Frances Fisher. May we all Carrie On