RSM Review: Wishful Drinking
January 26, 2017 Leave a comment
A month before Carrie Fisher died, I wrote a blog review of her latest autobiographical work, The Princess Diarist. I’d decided after reading it that I’d go back and read them all and try to give them proper reviews. Then came December, and the heartbreaking news that Ms. Fisher had passed away. I’m still not entirely willing to accept it. Now all I want to do is to hear her voice again.
So I’ve continued what I started, and went back and purchased Wishful Drinking on iBooks on my iPad. I knew that Ms. Fisher had published several books, some autobiographical and some fiction, but I had just never gotten around to reading them. I also knew that this one had a live stand up show associated with it (HBO decided to rebroadcast it after her passing). It wasn’t until I read the book that I learned the show came first, and the book second.
Having just listened to Carrie read The Princess Diarist, I couldn’t help but hear her voice in my head as I read Wishful Drinking. I could hear her when she quietly told a story, or as she yelled an exclamation. I swear it felt like she was in the room reading it to me.
Like her most recent book, the stories told don’t necessarily come out linearly. They tend to jump around. From her interviews, I get the sense that this is what it would be like to actually talk with Ms. Fisher. Her brain moves so quickly, that her thoughts come out all over the place. I found it both fascinating and comforting.
Her first chapter focused on the death of her friend, Greg, who very famously died at her house and her subsequent depression, followed quickly by a chapter on her own family and the big scandal break up when her father left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor complete with family photos and a really awesome Hollywood 101 Family tree. I’ve read that she uses the family tree bit in the stand up show. A great deal of this book is dedicated to stories about her mother, Debbie Reynolds, some really very strange and some sweet.
She gets around to Princess Leia about half way through the book. Her first story, which I actually saw the clip from the tale end of her live show first and completely didn’t understand, involves a speech and drama class she took in London to which she credits the enunciation Leia has at the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope (especially in the classic Hologram dialog – Proper Copper Coffee Pot – read the book and you’ll get it). This is the chapter where she shares the story of George Lucas telling her she can’t wear a bra under her white dress on the death star because there’s no underwear in space.
The last several chapters are dedicated to her relationship with Paul Simon, and her depression and addiction. Every story is near heartbreaking, yet she tells them with such humor that you hope that she’s actually laughing behind the words. Every interview with and article about Ms. Fisher over the years has focused on her honesty with her struggles. She is definitely honest. Sometimes honest to the point where I wonder where she got the strength to share so much. Perhaps sharing it made it a less heavy burden.
Having read Wishful Drinking, I want to see the live show. Now that we’ve lost her, I miss Ms. Fisher and want to watch, read and listen to all I can of her voice. As with Princess Diarist, this isn’t fit to share with my children. With the honesty comes adult language and stories that I’d just as soon they not hear yet. I wouldn’t have been ready to hear things like this from Princess Leia when I was a child.
Next up, I’ve requested Shockaholic from the library to read next. I already miss her voice and I want to hear it again.