The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher

When I started this book, I found it to be totally compulsive listening. Carrie Fisher looking back on her involvement with Star Wars forty years later and including journal entries made at the time of the first movie - how could I resist that? WHY would I resist that?


I listened happily enough to the first half of the book, dipping in for about thirty minutes at a time, long enough for Carrie Fisher to share an anecdote or two. Her self-deprecating humour, her disarming honesty, her look-we-both-know-I-don't-really-mean-ALL-of-this storytelling style created an atmosphere of casual intimacy and delivered a few laughs and a few so-that's-how-it-was moments. 


The more I listened, the more I understood how hard it is, forty years later, to recall your nineteen-year-old self with any accuracy. Add in being high on strong pot, apparently supplied by Harrison Ford, for most of the interesting bits and what you get is: I was nineteen. I wanted people to like me. I wanted HIM to like me. I did stupid stuff. I was nineteen. I wanted people to... and so on, delivered with gusto and amusement but with more style than content.


The second half of the book is where I faltered. These are Carrie Fisher's journal entries, written when she was filming the first Star Wars movie.


Carrie Fisher has already explained that her journal was a form of therapy that provided her with a space to talk about all the things she couldn't share with other people. 


It's a collection of thoughts, rants, poems and self-flagellating rebukes of her own behaviour. In other words, it's all you might expect of a literate, imaginative, angst-ridden nineteen-year-old trying to find her identity.


As a historical source document, many will find it invaluable. As a book to listen to, I found it too over-written and too truthful to be a comfortable read. I started to feel like a voyeur. 


Carrie Fisher as a grown woman, measuring her prose for publication, inviting me to like her and sharing stories she's happy to repeat was something I enjoyed.


Carrie Fisher at nineteen, sharing her emotional highs and lows with her journal was too raw for me, so I put the book aside.