Monday, January 2, 2017

Carrie Fisher, Novelist

Carrie Fisher will always be remembered for her iconic role as Star Wars’ Princess Leia, but I will always remember her as a witty, honest and downright hilarious novelist.

If you haven’t read any of her books, I urge you to pick up at least one of these “unputdownable” novels:

Postcards from the Edge (1987)
Fisher’s first novel is an autobiographical story of an actress in rehabilitation for drug addiction by sending postcards to her loved ones.  Its droll humor came to define Fisher’s writing style.  She later adapted the book into a screenplay, which became a film starring Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine and Dennis Quaid.

Surrender the Pink (1990)
About a soap opera screenwriter who falls in and out of love with a flawed man, and finds it difficult to separate Hollywood fantasy from truth.

Delusions of Grandma (1993)
A second autobiographical novel (let’s face it, they were all autobiographical) about a screenwriter who develops an unreasonable fear of dying in childbirth. The novel is made up letters to her unborn child.
The Best Awful (2004)
As the sequel of Postcards from the Edge, the story continues into territory occupied by Sylvia Plath and Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted) in a darkly funny portrait of a woman who survives a psychotic breakdown, a stay in 'the bin', and survives to tell all.
Wishful Drinking (2008)
This book deals with Fisher’s “Hollywood Royalty” family: her mother, Debbie Reynolds; her father, Eddie Fisher, and their divorce after Eddie left Debbie to pursue a high profile affair and short-lived marriage with Elizabeth Taylor (think Jen/Brad/Angelina). It also details Fisher’s bi-polar illness, addiction, and the irrationalities of Hollywood.

Shockaholic (2011)
Fisher describes with honest, humble humor how electroshock therapy helped her with depression, but also how it severely affected her memory.  It focuses on the Star Wars years and dishes about the Hollywood relationships she’d formed since being chosen to play Princess Leia.  Fisher admits, “It isn’t all sweetness and light sabers.”

The Princess Diarist (2016)
Fisher’s final novel about the diaries she kept while working on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  In the book, she now famously admitted she had an on-set affair with her co-star, Harrison Ford (she later told Ellen DeGeneres she regretted admitting so).  She was touring to promote this book when she died.

Last week, I texted my son, Matthew (a huge film buff), when I heard Carrie had been rushed to the hospital with a massive heart attack on a flight back from London.  I wrote to him, “If she dies, it will kill Debbie Reynolds.” 

RIP, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.