Of all the celebrity deaths that occurred last year, one of the most heartbreaking for me was Carrie Fisher’s. The day before I heard of her passing I had ordered her new book ‘The Princess Diarist’* having recently rekindled my love for Star Wars. It’s taken me this long to pick up the book because I just haven’t felt ready to read such a personal book by someone who had recently passed away. After many recommendations from friends, I finally picked this book up…
As the title may suggest, the book is, largely, extracts from diaries Carrie Fisher kept whilst filming Star Wars. It is the very personal and direct insight into Carrie’s experiences that make this one of the most accurate descriptions of mental health I have ever read. One sentence was almost exactly the same as one I remember writing in one of my own diaries a few years ago! So many passages had me reaching for my trusty highlighter because they perfectly summarised the way I’ve felt but not known how to articulate. Being unaware of Carrie Fisher’s struggles with mental health, the emotions I experienced whilst reading this book came as a complete surprise to me, however, because I was able to connect so strongly to Carrie’s words, I can already tell this book will stay with me for a long time.
The timing of the release of this book and Carrie’s death gives the whole book a bitter sweet kind of feeling. It perfectly encapsulates the kind, funny, intelligent and badass woman she was but there is always the underlying sadness of knowing that she is no longer with us. At several points throughout the book, Carrie talks, often very casually, about death. One review I’ve heard said this gives the sense that she knew her time was coming and I have to agree. It’s as if Carrie wanted to say everything she had been holding on to, particularly about her affair with Harrison Ford, before she passed away and these stories were leaked and twisted into fabricated scandals.
Running through this book like a woven thread is Carrie’s trademark dark humour and scathing sarcasm. This, for me, is what brings this book to life. As a reader, you are constantly aware of whose words you are reading. Carrie’s character shines through these ink stained pages, not just in the sections taken straight from her diary but in the chapters in which she is reflecting on her life.
Have you read ‘The Princess Diarist’? Let me know what you thought in the comments!