How do I talk about The Princess Diarist? I think I will start with dividing the book into two parts, the book itself is actually divided into three. But my separating this book into two, is not its content, but rather by the group of people that should read the last book of late and amazing Carrie Fisher.
The first part of readers should be fans. If you loved Carrie or you love Leia, or ideally both of them, you really should let Carrie into your life this one last time (and during last Star Wars). Because it really feels like she is sitting right next to you, telling you the funniest and heartbreaking stories in her original and classical way, while entertaining you, with some details of her feelings – some new, some rather old.
The second group of readers should be people living in a constant doubt of themselves or any mental problem. Because Carrie will speak to you, she’ll understand you and she will eventually help you. That is what Carrie did, with her openness, not to mention how fearless, to an open eye, she was dealing with anything that troubled her mind. Through comedy, through storytelling, through herself and yes, through her downtimes. She was a very strong advocate for mental health awareness, and she did it right. No hiding behind excuses or pretend to understand because she knew and she truly cared, and that’s very special.
That being said, I was really surprised by the amount of material talking about one and only, Harrison Ford. I knew of course, that this was a part of the book, but I had no idea how big part was that going to be. So better be ready for that. From reading the book its quite obvious how much he meant to her, and how much your first love never really leaves you alone. That little annoying voice telling you “what if…”, and that’s pretty much Carries and Harrison.
The second part of the book are bits from her life. The beginnings and the ends. As the diaries are one of Leias, her early life before Star Wars and bits between are not a big part of this book. It’s not really Carries biography, its Leias and the journey of them becoming one person, and living in confidence and doubts as well. The transition written between the lines is really difficult to read, you just want to run to Carrie and hug her, or anything supportive really. Because when you live with doubts and mood swings and constant neverending love/hate relationship with yourself, you never really win, you mostly loose and that’s the most tragic thing, since very often people living in this mindset, are the most brilliant and beautiful souls.
That takes us to the snippets from Carries actual diaries from 40 years ago. Now, this part is really hard to read. Even though you know how Carries was, at least to an extent you yourself can understand and to what she shared, it still breaks your heart.
There was one particular quote that really got to me, and perhaps you will understand her too, to that profound level of understanding beyond written English:
“I must be who I am and people adjust to it. Don’t try to rush or influence the decision. Do not let what they think they think of you make you stop and question everything you are. Surely between the various yous, you can find that you not only enough going for you to keep you going, but to “take you far.” Maybe even to Alderaan and back.
Who are you doing all this bullshit for? Certainly not yourself. If you were the only one around to be yourself for, you’d stop for the lack of interest. You know all the shit you tell people – you know it, you’ve lived it, you’re living it etc. So what’s the point of telling any and everybody else?
– Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist (page 137 )
I would not say that this book is a pivotal piece of literature, but is it very special for its honesty and extraordinary openness. There are not many people capable of talking their emotion with such force and through that help see and understand this very issues for so many who are struggling.
Carrie Fisher was one of those people. She was special, she was hilarious and brutally beautifully honest. I loved her for it, and I miss for it.
So I would recommend this book, but do be prepared for a lot of, a lot of feelings connected to Han Solo/Harrison Ford.