I was a weird kid. This is not revelatory and it is not self-deprecating… I was, in fact, a kid that did not quite fit in, even though sometimes it was only on the inside. I have, luckily, grown up to be a very normal and well adjusted adult. Except, I totally haven’t and that is complete crap, but there’s always late adulthood, it’s possible I will really hit my stride there. Part of being a slightly off (some would absolutely never say…ahead of my time) kind of kid was the science fiction ‘thing’ that is quite normalized and popular now, but you really need to take my word for it that it was not back in the dark ages when I was a child.
Here’s where I am going with this… Star Wars. Yes, THE Star Wars, the thing that it is not even interesting to like anymore, because everyone does. But back in the beginning, it’s hard to overstate how amazing it was to be a little girl who feels like a weirdo but then to have Princess Leia suddenly burst into the world, all badass and perfect. She was my first heroine, the first woman I saw on screen that made me feel like a halfway normal. I loved her then and I love her still. Also, I think I inadvertently learned everything I know about love and relationships from her (constant sarcasm, combative attitude, attracting the least emotionally available men in the galaxy), which isn’t exactly ideal.
How great was it to find out throughout my life that Princess Leia is Carrie Fisher, who went ahead and became a role model for me as a writer, as a mental health advocate and as a woman who took no shit and did no harm. Her death at the end of last year was like a body blow to me, and if that guy who was sitting next to me on a three-hour flight directly after I heard that she was dead is reading this, then, again I’m sorry about all that crying.
I wasn’t sure I was ready to do this, but I finally just read The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher’s last book. More than that, I listened to it in an audiobook, and she is the narrator along with her daughter. I thought it might depress me even more, but it had the opposite effect, reminding me of how much I loved her and how inspiring she will always be to me.
The Princess Diarist is a hilarious and grippingly personal recollection of what was happening on the set of the first Star Wars movie. In addition to the remembrances, there are also many excerpts from he actual diary she kept while on location. She writes like she is a twenty year old, which she was (or like me, now). There are love poems and remarkably private and vulnerable musings and it is fantastic. Much has been discussed about her affair with Harrison Ford while filming, to which I say GET IT GIRL, and it really does not disappoint.
If you are waiting for the pain to be dulled before picking this one up, I say go for it anyway. I laughed enough to assuage a bunch of grief and am so happy there is so much of Carrie Fisher left for us to enjoy.
The Princess Diarist – Grade B+