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The princess diarist
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9780399565557
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Unabridged.
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New York : Penguin Audio, 2016.
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4 audio discs (5 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
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Summary:
From Princess Leia herself: another brilliantly hilarious self-examination of her unlikely life and times. A thoroughly original and intimate memoir by the bestselling author of Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking.
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Summary

Summary

2018 GRAMMY(R) Winner for Best Spoken Word Album

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher's intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie. *PEOPLE Magazine Best Book of Fall 2016 *New York Times Bestseller *

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved--plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naivet , and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher's intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time--and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.


Author Notes

Carrie Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California on October 21, 1956 to singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. At the age of 15, she played a debutante in the Broadway musical Irene and appeared in her mother's Las Vegas nightclub act. At the age of 17, she appeared in her first movie, Shampoo. Her other movies include Hannah and Her Sisters, When Harry Met Sally, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. She was best-known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie franchise.

Her first novel, Postcards from the Edge, was awarded the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel. Her other books include Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, Shockaholic, Wishful Drinking, and The Princess Diarist. She wrote the screenplay for the movie Postcards from the Edge. She died after suffering from a heart attack on December 27, 2016 at the age of 60.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fisher finally set out to publish a collection of essays related specifically to her role as Princess Leah in the blockbuster Star Wars movie franchise and a brief affair with her older-and married-co-star Harrison Ford during the shooting of the first film. The juxtaposition between Fisher's narration of her contemporary writing with the voice of her daughter, actress Lourd, reading diary portions written four decades earlier makes for telling contrast: Fisher, with her smoky, husky voice, sounds like a tough-as-nails seasoned survivor who doesn't take her past romances and heartaches seriously and wishes her own fans would lighten up about their assumptions and speculations. Lourd performs the emotional long-ago passages with a palpable air of youthful self-consciousness. Both handle the duties at hand with poise and skill, leaving listeners to appreciate the way that time can shape one's perspective quite dramatically. A Blue Rider hardcover. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

While remodeling her house, Fisher found the journals she'd kept as a 19-year-old when she was playing Princess Leia in the first Star Wars movie, now retitled Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. As the reproduced pages show, she doesn't have much to say about wookies or robots. The diary, in fact, is a catalog, in poetry and prose, of her affair with the married, thirtysomething Harrison Ford. Those original writings range from thoughtful and heartfelt to cringe-worthy, about what you'd expect from a teenager who knows something about how to wield a pen. Perhaps when she discovered the pages, Fisher's first thought wasn't let's turn these into a book, but as she makes clear detailing why she signs autographs at Comic-Cons, which she depressingly calls her form of lap dancing she needs money. Yet, this is also clearly a chance to understand a formative part of her life, which she attempts to do with her signature ironic humor and a sad honesty. The facts are simple. Ford and Fisher only met on weekends, they didn't talk on set, and they didn't converse much even when together. And, should readers be wondering about the sex, she won't discuss that. What the laconic Ford meant to her and her feelings about herself remain complicated. Also of interest are the musings of the latter-day Fisher, who it can be said, saw her life set in concrete by the role of Princess Leia. In some ways, this compact book makes a mountain out of a mole hill. But what a mole hill.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

after it was announced last year that Carrie Fisher was going to publish the diaries she kept while playing Princess Leia during the filming of "Star Wars" in 1976, some corners of the fandom blogosphere went full-tilt tizzy in anticipation. Fisher, after all, had already proved herself as an entertaining scribe with four novels, a one-woman Broadway show, her Twitter feed and two previous memoirs recounting her family history, career, addictions and mental-health issues. "The Princess Diarist" is her latest memoir. One wonders, though, after 40 years of the "Star Wars" franchise - with its seven films (Fisher in four of them so far), countless documentaries, talk-show appearances, conventions and the internet's obsessive cataloging - what's left to tell? Could there really be any more justremembered anecdotes, maybe quaffing tequila shooters on set with Darth Vader? Well, as it turns out, Carrie Fisher does have some new information to share with her fans. But as they say online, if you'd rather find out yourself: SPOILER ALERT! Her big reveal? She and Harrison Ford (who was married at the time) had a secret love affair during the shoot, or as she refers to it, "a very long one-night stand." She hasn't talked about it publicly until now and states that it's only her side of the story, but tells it two ways: from her current viewpoint as a 60-year-old looking back and as a 19-year-old writing in her journal as it happened. (Whether anybody cares about the dalliance four decades later is debatable, but it does give a new perspective on their characters' relationship in the sequels.) The titular diaries take up about 70 pages of the book. If you've ever been a teenage girl with a paper-based diary (or sneaked into that teenage girl's room to read that diary), the contents will be familiar: Deep thoughts about love, life and happiness, occasional rants, wobbly attempts at poetry and little spurts of personal insight are all splattered across the pages. It may not be great writing, but it's an empathy tractor beam. Many entries show Fisher trying to process her feelings over the affair. Some even display a degree of self-awareness about her early writing efforts, which she describes as "adolescent jargon peppered with random selections from a fairly gaudy vocabulary." Still, it feels invasive to be reading the material, even with her permission. The present-day reflections wrapped around either side of the diary section are livelier and echo the style of her previous memoirs. Long riffs on her extremely devoted fans - she says she's "moved by them" - are mixed in with slicing observations on Hollywood dysfunction and sexism (yes, a certain gold bikini comes up). One chapter recalls the creation of Princess Leia's infamous dual-bun hairstyle and makeup choices: "And who wears that much lip gloss into battle? Me, or Leia, of course." in trying to establish separation from this movie character that's been fused to her for two-thirds of her existence, Fisher offers a thoughtful, sardonic meditation on the price of fame, cost-of-living adjustments included. "Perpetual celebrity - the kind where any mention of you will interest a significant percentage of the public until the day you die, even if that day comes decades after your last real contribution to the culture - is exceedingly rare, reserved for the likes of Muhammad Ali," she writes. "The Princess Diarist" may not be the jolly trip down memory lane some fans are looking for. But like her 19-year-old self, Carrie Fisher doesn't hold back on how she feels about life inside the "Star Wars" industrial complex - and that's ultimately more interesting than another story about filming the Death Star trash-compactor scene. ? J. D. BIERSDORFER is the production editor at the Book Review.


Guardian Review

Fisher recently unearthed the diaries she wrote as a 19-year-old playing Princess Leia. They were the inspiration for a memoir that crackles with one-liners Before being cast as Princess Leia in Star Wars, Carrie Fisher thought she knew about fame. Her mother is Debbie Reynolds, star of various MGM musicals, while her father was the crooner Eddie Fisher, who caused a sensation when he left Reynolds and their young children to marry Elizabeth Taylor. But the fame that Fisher knew as a child of celebrity parents was, she later discovered, "associative fame. Byproduct fame. Fame as the salad to some other, slightly more filling main dish." When she became famous in her own right, she was completely unprepared. "What is happening?" she would ask herself. "How did we get here? Where is here? How long will it last? What is it? Do I deserve it? What does this make me?" Her sudden leap into the limelight at the age of 19 forms the backbone of The Princess Diarist, which Fisher calls her "sort of memoir". This isn't her first "sort of memoir", but whereas 2008's Wishful Drinking focused on her mental health (Fisher has bipolar disorder), this one examines her troubles with celebrity and sex. On the fame front, Fisher, who is now 60, is typically sardonic, adeptly capturing the unexpected madness of Star Wars, which was meant to be a "cool little off-the-radar movie directed by a bearded guy from Modesto. A thing like that wasn't going to make people want to play with a doll of you, was it?" Had she known how things would end up, she adds, she "definitely would have argued against that insane hair". When discussing her relationships, she mostly maintains an air of amusement, though the facts are, if not earthshattering, certainly eyebrow-raising. The big revelation in The Princess Diarist -- indeed its very raison d'etre, given that it takes up over half the book -- is that, during the filming of Star Wars in Elstree, Fisher had an affair with her co-star Harrison Ford, then a married father of two. She kept it under wraps, mainly out of shame. So why spill the beans now? Partly because of the obvious: Fisher has a book to sell and, if you're in the business of writing multiple memoirs, such bombshells are better eked out than squandered in a single volume. But also because she recently found her teenage diaries stashed under her floorboards, and, confronted with her 19-year-old self, was taken aback by this young woman whose wisecracking exterior masked an inexperienced, insecure girl who was way out of her depth. Fisher goes pretty easy on Ford, who first seduced her in the back of a taxi when she was seriously drunk Fisher goes pretty easy on the then 33-year-old Ford, who first seduced her in the back of a taxi when she was seriously drunk. This was shortly after he'd rescued her from the clutches of some similarly inebriated crew members at George Lucas's birthday party. He was, she recalls, "just so handsome. No. No. More than that. He looked like he could lead the charge into battle, take the hill, win the duel, be leader of the gluten-free world, all without breaking a sweat." She also remembers him as emotionally distant, monosyllabic and a bit boring, though this didn't stop her falling for him. They would have sex at the weekends and act like strangers on set during the week. That he never properly acknowledged what was happening between them clearly rankled. "If Harrison was unable to see that I had feelings for him (at least five, but sometimes as many as seven) then he wasn't as smart as I thought he was -- as I knew he was. So I loved him and he allowed it. That's as close a reckoning as I can muster four decades later." Fisher also includes her original diary entries, which are rambling, repetitive, overwrought and ultimately not worthy of the generous space that they are given. At one point she remarks that she would be "posthumously embarrassed" were anyone to read them; you can't help but wish her older self had taken note. Diaries aside, however, her writing is mostly smart and funny. The pages crackle with self-deprecating one-liners, chatty observations and the singular wisdom that comes with being forever immortalised in the minds of teenage boys in a metal bikini and chained to a slug. Her relationship with the space fantasy that made her famous is clearly a love-hate one -- " Star Wars was and is my job. It can't fire me and I'll never be able to quit." It's only in the penultimate chapter that Fisher strikes a truly bum note, as she grumbles about the Star Wars conventions where fans and fanatics queue up for autographs, often dressed as their favourite characters, each paying $70 for the privilege. She once said that she wouldn't be caught dead at these nerd-fests but now, she notes, "I've been caught alive at those round-ups often enough to wish I was dead." Her send-ups of the breathless soliloquies delivered by silver pen-wielding acolytes are just mean. It is one thing for Fisher to come clean about her relationship with Ford. But for a woman who signed away her rights to Leia merchandise and has intermittently found herself strapped for cash, laying into the fans would seem not just ungenerous but biting the hand that feeds. - Fiona Sturges.


Library Journal Review

Fisher's recent death and the continued churning of the "Star Wars" movie machine will undoubtedly renew interest in the woman who is once and forever Princess Leia. Here, Fisher details her experiences in the first Star Wars movie and the celebrity status that dogged her for more than 40 years. The middle section features journal entries and poetry penned by her 19-year-old self and captures the melodrama and painful self-doubt that often plagues those on the cusp of adulthood. Bookending these excerpts are Fisher's commentary on what her starring role in the franchise meant. She speaks wryly of her childhood and her complicated relationships with family and fame, and with her famous, self-deprecating humor, she chronicles her time on the Star Wars set, her affair with Harrison Ford, and the ways in which playing Leia shaped her life. VERDICT While Fisher presents a lively reading of her own work, at times listeners might find themselves wondering when the story will end. Recommended primarily for avid Princess Leia fans and those wishing for one more Fisher performance.-Samantha Facciolo, -Wilmington, DE © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

From The Princess Diarist : George Lucas held his auditions for Star Wars in an office on a lot in Hollywood. It was in one of those faux-Spanish cream-colored buildings from the thirties with dark orange-tiled roofs and black-iron-grated windows, lined with sidewalks in turn lined with trees--pine trees, I think they were, the sort that shed their needles generously onto the street below--and interrupted by parched patches of once-green lawns. Everything was a little worse for the wear, but good things would happen in these buildings. Lives would be led, businesses would prosper, and men would attend meetings--hopeful meetings, meetings where big plans were made and ideas were proposed. But of all the meetings that had ever been held in that particular office, none of them could compare in world impact with the casting calls for the Star Wars movie. A plaque could be placed on the outside of this building that states, "On this spot the Star Wars films conducted their casting sessions. In this building the actors and actresses entered and exited until only three remained. These three were the actors who ultimately played the lead parts of Han, Luke, and Leia." I've told the story of getting cast as Princess Leia many times before--in interviews, on horseback, and in cardiac units--so if you've previously heard this story before, I apologize for requiring some of your coveted store of patience. I know how closely most of us tend to hold on to whatever cache of patience we've managed to amass over a lifetime and I appreciate your squandering some of your cherished stash here.   George gave me the impression of being smaller than he was because he spoke so infrequently. I first encountered his all-but-silent presence at these auditions--the first of which he held with the director Brian De Palma. Brian was casting his horror film Carrie, and they both required an actress between the age of eighteen and twenty-two. I was the right age at the right time, so I read for both George and Brian. George had directed two other feature films up till then, THX 1138, starring Robert Duvall, and American Graffiti, starring Ron Howard and Cindy Williams. The roles I met with the two directors for that first day were Princess Leia in Star Wars and Carrie in Carrie. I thought that last role would be a funny casting coup if I got it: Carrie as Carrie in Carrie. I doubt that that was why I never made it to the next level with Carrie--but it didn't help as far as I was concerned that there would have to be a goofy film poster advertising a serious horror film. I sat down before the two directors behind their respective desks. Mr. Lucas was all but mute. He nodded when I entered the room, and Mr. De Palma took over from there. He was a big man, and not merely because he spoke more-- or spoke, period. Brian sat on the left and George on the right, both bearded. As if you had two choices in director sizes. Only I didn't have the choice--they did. Brian cleared his bigger throat of bigger things and said, "So I see here you've been in the film Shampoo?" I knew this, so I simply nodded, my face in a tight white-toothed smile. Maybe they would ask me something requiring more than a nod. "Did you enjoy working with Warren?" "Yes, I did!" That was easy! I had enjoyed working with him, but Brian's look told me that wasn't enough of an answer. "He was . . ." What was he? They needed to know! "He helped me work . . . a lot. I mean, he and the other screenwriter . . . they worked with me." Oh my God, this wasn't going well. Mr. De Palma waited for more, and when more wasn't forthcoming, he attempted to help me. "How did they work with you?" Oh, that's what they wanted to know! "They had me do the scene over and over, and with food. There was eating in the scene. I had to offer Warren a baked apple and then I ask him if he's making it with my mother--sleeping with her--you know." George almost smiled; Brian actually did. "Yes, I know what 'making it' means." I flushed. I considered stopping this interview then and there. But I soldiered on. "No, no, that's the dialogue. 'Are you making it with my mother?' I asked him that because I hate my mother. Not in real life, I hate my mother in the movie, partly because she is sleeping with Warren--who's the hairdresser. Lee Grant played my mom, but I didn't really have any scenes with her, which is too bad because she's a great actress. And Warren is a great actor and he also wrote the movie, with Robert Towne, which is why they both worked with me. With food. It sounded a lot more natural when you talk with food in your mouth. Not that you do that in your movies. Maybe in the scary movie, but I don't know the food situation in space." The meeting seemed to be going better. "What have you done since Shampoo?" George asked.  I repressed the urge to say I had written three symphonies and learned how to perform dental surgery on monkeys, and instead told the truth. "I went to school in England. Drama school. I went to the Central School of Speech and Drama." I was breathless with information. "I mean I didn't just go, I'm still going. I'm home on Christmas vacation." I stopped abruptly to breathe. Brian was nodding, his eyebrows headed off to his hair in something like surprise. He asked me politely about my experience at school, and I responded politely as George watched impassively. (I would come to discover that George's expression wasn't indifferent or anything like it. It was shy and discerning, among many other things, including intelligent, studious, and-- and a word like "darling." Only not that word, because it's too young and androgynous, and besides which, and most important, George would hate it.) "What do you plan on doing if you get one of these jobs you're meeting on?" continued Brian. "I mean, it really would depend on the part, but  .  .  . I guess I'd leave. I mean I know I would. Because I mean--" "I know what you mean," Brian interrupted. The meeting continued but I was no longer fully present--utterly convinced that I'd screwed up by revealing myself to be so disloyal. Leave my school right in the middle for the first job that came along? Soon after, we were done. I shook each man's hand as I moved to the door, leading off to the gallows of obscurity. George's hand was firm and cool. I returned to the outer office knowing full well that I would be going back to school. "Miss Fisher," a casting assistant said. I froze, or would have, if we weren't in sunny Los Angeles. "Here are your sides. Two doors down. You'll read on video." My heart pounded everywhere a pulse can get to. The scene from Carrie involved the mother (who would be memorably played by Piper Laurie). A dark scene, where the people are not okay. But the scene in Star Wars--there were no mothers there! There was authority and confidence and command in the weird language that was used. Was I like this? Hopefully George would think so, and I could pretend I thought so, too. I could pretend I was a princess whose life went from chaos to crisis without looking down between chaoses to find, to her relief, that her dress wasn't torn.   I have no recollection now of how I felt reading the two scenes. I can only assume I beat myself up loud and long. Did they like me? Did they think I was fat? Did they think I looked like a bowl of oatmeal with features? Four little dark dots in one big flat pale face ("Me pale face--you Tonto"). Did they think I looked pretty enough? Was I likable enough for me to relax at all? Not on your life. Because (a) there was no relaxing anywhere in my general area, and (b) there was no relaxing anywhere in show business. But George must have thought I did well enough to have me back. They sent me the Star Wars script so I could practice it before the last reading. I remember opening the manila envelope it came in very carefully, one edge at a time, before removing its unknown cargo. It didn't look any different from other scripts--cardboard-like paper on each end, protecting the ordinary paper within--covered in antlike scratches of letters. I don't know why, but I wanted to read this screenplay out loud. Enter Miguel Ferrer. Miguel wasn't certain that he wanted to be an actor yet--like me. But we were both intrigued enough that we continued exploring. Like me, he came from a show business background. His father was the actor José Ferrer and his mother the singer/actress Rosemary Clooney. We were friends, and I called him up and asked him to read this script with me. He arrived at my mother's newer, much smaller house--since her dramatically reduced financial circumstances due to a second failed marriage--and we went to my bedroom on the second floor. Like every young man wanting to be an actor in Hollywood then, he had also read for the film, so both of us were dimly aware what we were in store for. We sat on my bed and began to read. From the first page--STAR WARS: A SPACE FANTASY--the images and characters jumped off the pages. Not only into our minds, but into the chairs and other furniture that surrounded us. I'm exaggerating (a little) but it could have jumped onto the furniture, eaten all of it, and drank the blood of an Englishman--because it was as epic as any fee-fi-fo-fum rhyme you ever heard. The images of space opened around us, planets and stars floated by. The character I was reading for, Leia, was kidnapped by the evil Darth Vader--kidnapped and hung upside down when the smuggler pilot Han Solo (who Miguel was reading for) and his giant monkey creature copilot Chewbacca rescued me. I had been (in the script) upside down and unconscious with yellow eyes. I'll never forget that image. Whoever got the part of the princess named Leia would get to do this. I would potentially get to do this! Maybe--if I was lucky--I would be rescued by Han and Chewbacca (Chewie!) from the caverns underneath wherever they'd tortured me, and Chewie would carry me, slung over his shoulder through thigh deep water as we made it out of (interplanetary) harm's way. Unfortunately, none of this imagery was ever realized due to a combination of cost and the fact that Peter Mayhew--who they hired to play Chewie--couldn't do the stunt due to his extreme height of over 7 feet. He had a condition that left him unable to stand up quickly and remain stable; it was impossible for him to lift up weight of any kind. And my weight, as everyone at Lucasland can recall, was, and remains, of the "any kind" variety. But I can safely say that any girl cast in the part of the feisty Princess Leia would've been of the any kind size-- because once Peter was cast, the lifting and being carried through those thigh-high drenched caverns was out. But I also recall hearing that the water-engulfed caverns were quite an expensive set to build, and this was a low-budget film, so they were out for that reason--leaving only Leia's unconsciousness and those yellow eyes. Most of us know how inexpensive unconsciousness is or was to achieve, so that wouldn't have been a budget problem--just inappropriate. But by the time you lose Peter's inability to carry any feisty princess and consider the cost-ineffective underground water caverns--it doesn't matter how beautifully you can portray insensibility--it ain't happening anyway. The Force was put in me (in a non-invasive way) by the script that day with Miguel, and it has remained in me ever since. I ended up reading for the film with a new actor, an actor I'd never seen before, but then he had never seen me, either. I'll bet since that reading with me he's rued the day--if he can get his strong hands on a rue that is--and if anyone could get their hands on a rue or a Woo it was Harrison Ford. We read together in a room in that same building I'd met George and Brian De Palma in. I was so nervous about the reading I don't remember much about Harrison, and given how nervous Harrison would come to make me, that was plenty frightened indeed. The following week, my agent, a man who'd been my mother's agent, Wilt Melnick, and was now mine, called me. "Carrie?" he asked. I knew my name. So I let him know I knew it. "Yeah," I said in a voice very like mine. Mine but hollow, mine but it didn't matter because my stomach had swung into action. "They called," he said. Great, 'cause that was really all I wanted to know. If they called, that they called, not what they said--that didn't matter. "They want you," he continued. There was a silence. "They do? I mean they did?" He laughed, then I laughed and dropped the phone and ran out into the front yard and into the street. It was raining. It didn't rain in L.A. It was raining in L.A. and I was Princess Leia. I had never been Princess Leia before and now I would be her forever. I would never not be Princess Leia. I had no idea how profoundly true that was and how long forever was. They would pay me nothing and fly me economy--a fact that would haunt my mother for months--but I was Leia and that was all that truly mattered. I'm Leia--I can live in a tree, but you can't take that away from me. I never dreamt there actually might be a day when I maybe hoped that you could Excerpted from The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.