RSM Review: Wishful Drinking

carrie-fisher-as-prinsess-leia-wishful-drinking-cover-2-shotA 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.

My review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

princess-diaristI am near the end of The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher, as I type this review. I didn’t actually read the book, but rather have borrowed the audio book from the library so I can listen to Carrie Fisher (and her daughter) narrate it to me. This has made all the difference. Carrie is not Princess Leia, and she’s wrestled with this her whole life. But I think she means it when she says that being Leia has been something important to her, and something she hasn’t ever really regretted.

There are some spoilers in the next paragraph but nothing that hasn’t already been mentioned on every website and review.

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I found the chapters about her affair with Harrison Ford when she was 19 and he was in his early 30s while they were filming the original Star Wars in 1979 to be really heartbreaking. Her daughter reads pages from the diary she kept at the time, and which she found recently sending her on a trip down memory lane. The diary entries are brilliant. They capture the raw emotions of a young, inexperienced, 19 year old woman in love with an older man. Harrison doesn’t necessary come across as much of a romantic knight in shining armor, but Carrie’s not really trying to make him come across as anything other than what he was. Her honesty is really impressive. She makes no judgment, just presents what happened. She regrets the adultery, but I think she doesn’t really regret the relationship. I suspect she is still just a little bit in love with him and always will be.

Heck, when I was 19 myself (and younger) I had my own crush on Harrison Ford (or rather Han Solo) so I can completely understand her plight.

I was a young girl when I first saw Star Wars, and it completely changed my life. I am where I am today (at NASA) and what I am today (A rocket Scientist) in large part to having experienced Star Wars. Princess Leia was a huge part of that. Here’s a woman who’s strong, brave, and not in need of saving. She’s not just a woman, she’s a princess and a leader. No one questions her authority. No one makes mention that she’s a girl. In fact, being a girl is just something she happens to be not something that defines her.

I just cannot say enough about my love of Leia as created by Carrie. That Carrie could create Leia as she did in spite of the turmoil in her young heart while filming Star Wars is very impressive.

Overall, having listened to this book, I feel like I have settled down to hear to some very personal thoughts and memories from someone I’ve admired for her on screen persona for almost my entire life. I caution parents out there, that it’s definitely not safe to listen to while children are within earshot. There is a lot of salty language and talk of rather adult themes of sex, adultery and drugs. I listened to it in the car after having dropped my children off at school.

I am glad I checked this one out. I’ve meant to read others of Carrie Fisher’s books. She has a very talented writing style and unique voice.
Thank you for sharing all of it Ms. Fisher. It was appreciated.

The Books I read in 2015

As I did in 2014, I challenged myself to read 12 books in 12 months during 2015. I am happy to say that I was successful. Without further adieu, here is the list of the 13 books I read over the course of 2015, as cataloged in my Goodreads account (one of my favorite social media resources).

They are a varied collection of books, reflective of my varied interests.  Some of them were books i picked and some were from the book club that my youngest sister tried to start amongst her friends.

  1. November 2015: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure, Cecil Castellucci
  2. November 2015: Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3), Robert Galbraith
  3. November 2015: Aftermath, Chuck Wendig
  4. September 2015: Bellweather Rhapsody, Kate Racily
  5. August 2015: New Dawn, John Jackson Miller
  6. June 2015: A Desperate Fortune, Susanna Kearsley
  7. June 2015: Yes Please, Amy Poehler
  8. April 2015: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes
  9. March 2015: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, Susannah Cahalan
  10. February 2015: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed
  11. February 2015: The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
  12. January 2015: The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty
  13. January 2015: Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple

When I have time,  will go back through this list and give you a quick summary of my thoughts on each one, and whether I bought them in hard cover, in ebook or read them via library ebook loan. I meant to do that with my 2014 reading list, and as you can see I have never gotten to that.  One of these days….

The Books I read in 2014

I used to love to read. < scratch that! I still love to read>

My love of reading started in high school and never really stopped. I’d always be reading a book, and when I’d finish one, I would immediately start the next in my queue. There was a used bookstore near my home, and I’d visit it monthly, to see what books I could add to my own library. First I started with mysteries like Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, and then, inspired by Tolkien, moved onto fantasy and (given my eventual profession) science fiction.

After my children were born, my time available to read dwindled to almost nothing. I was able to finish the last couple of Harry Potter books as they came out, but aside from one or two books here or there, reading just ended up being the last thing on my list of things to accomplish, and as such, was no priority at all.

This year, inspired by Goodreads and the “challenges” the site was promoting, I decided to challenge myself to read 12 books in 12 months. Checking most of the books out of the library using the Overdrive app on my iPad mini, I not only met but exceeded that challenge and managed to read 16 books in 2014.

And here they are, starting chronologically from last January to December, the 16 books I read in 2014. Let’s hope that in 2015 I can manage to read at least that many. I will follow up in a future blog post with a few sentence summary of each one and my recommendation of whether or not I’d read them again (or suggest anyone else read them).

1. Frozen Heat (book #4 in the Nikki Heat series), by Richard Castle
2. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel
3. Enders Game (the Ender Quintet #1), by Orson Scott Card
4. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
5. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
6. Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
7. Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis
8. Murdering my Youth: A memoir, by Cady McClain
9. Disney in Shadow (Kingdom Keepers #3), by Ridley Pearson
10. The Fault in our Stars, by John Green
11. The Splendour Falls, by Susanna Kearsley
12. A Pedigree to Die For (Melanie Travis, #1), by Laurien Berenson
13. The Silkworm (Coromon Strike #2), by Robert Galbraith
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
16. Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry