The Princess Diarist
Product DescriptionThis last book from beloved Hollywood icon Carrie Fisher is the crown jewel of ideal Star Wars gifts. The Princess Diarist is an intimate, hilarious, and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time.
When Carrie Fisher 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 naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Before her passing, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon was 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 one of Hollywood's most beloved stars.
- The Princess Diarist
Top Reviewsan incredible glimpse into a complex personality
by C. K. Merrill (5 out of 5 stars)
December 27, 2016
I read "The Princess Diarist" today, after hearing that she had died this morning. I knew she was a complex personality, with a wry wit & ragged edge, and unusual honesty. This last memoir of hers really gives an incredible glimpse into her mind & her life. It is raw & real & beautiful.. funny & telling, at the same time. The book is full of stories, anecdotes, poetry, & impressions. Carrie Fisher was very sharp & perceptive & sweet & unique. I found reading it to be a wonderful way to get to know more about her & to celebrate her memory.
by Christine (4 out of 5 stars)
November 24, 2016
The first thing you should know, if you happen to be a Star Wars fan and are expecting a tale of romance between Han Solo and Princess Leia, you will be disappointed. This is a rather unromantic account of a 3 month affair between two co-stars who were attracted to each other: one a stoic, complicated, reserved married father of 2 just starting to realize his dreams of making it big, and the other, a vivacious, emotionally inexperienced 19 year old woman with a big personality wanting to start her life as an adult. Trouble is, she doesn't know how to handle it. And his way of handling it is to be unemotional and silent.
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The first part of the book is written in Carrie's chatty, charming, self-depreciating style as she tells of her early life working as a backup singer in her mother's variety show. Father is absent, having left mother for Elizabeth Taylor (and Carrie manages to throw a few zinger his way as well.) She takes us through the auditions for both Star Wars and the movie Carrie right up through how she chose that cinnamon bun hairstyle. As for as a behind-the-scenes look at the movie, that's about it. The rest is her account as that vulnerable 19 year old with the witty mouth who exudes faked confidence, who decided that she was going to have an affair on the movie set. No married men, thank you very much, especially that intense, quiet, but gorgeous co-star. Not like he'd ever go for someone like her, anyway, right? All too soon, she's left wondering at what the gorgeous stranger in her bed is doing with the likes of her. And so ensues a 3 month secret affair conducted during the weekends, between two people who are at very different places in their lives..
There are no explicit details, just a couple of conversations.. No, she never critiques him as a lover, and in fact, writes that they had wonderful sex together, but deliberately never describes it in any detail - that's as explicit as she gets about the physicality of the situation (shortly after this book came out, someone who didn't read it, erroneously reported CF had written something unflattering in that department, but this is not true. She vehemently denied this in interviews and was confused as to where that idea came from, because it's certainly not in the book in any way - whatever she vaguely describes is positive and good.) The explicit part is her feelings about him and their affair. And you don't get his side of the story, of course, because this is based on her own recollections and some diaries she found when renovating her bedroom. The diary section is raw and painful and messy and sad and wounded as one might expect a young woman's recollections to be over a doomed affair. She writes many poems, songs, and prose on her feelings of the situation and does not hold back. Around him, she finds herself self-conscious and nervous. She laments that they have no feeling for each other, that he should have stayed a stranger, that he's unemotional, silent, the MarlboroMan, boring, two-dimentional, quiet, and she's falling in love and falling apart. She has already established that she's insecure (most people I know are insecure - me included) and young (rather unworldly and a bit naive as 19 year olds tend to be), so mix that with a grown man who is emotionally unavailable, and this is what you get.
Did he know she felt this way, or did he not? Hard to say because neither of them were talking about their feelings with each other, but if he did I would imagine he did not want to encourage her, as he was married and had a family, and knew where this would lead. Given the fact that this lasted 3 months, I can't imagine he had no feelings about it, even if he didn't show them (it's a well-known and often told fact that Harrison took drama classes in college to overcome his shyness. Or maybe he's introverted. Or maybe he's just a guy. Who knows?) Maybe he felt guilty, not just for cheating, not just for his wife, but for Carrie as well, for embarking on a 'casual' affair that turned out to not be so 'casual' afterall. Something done in theory is always different in fact.
And another thing:
The stuff Carrie writes in her journal reads like an exposed nerve, but it's the stuff she's thinking and feeling - the angsty kind of stuff you write in a diary - not the stuff you share with a guy, especially one who's married (so maybe he didn't know, but I'm still betting he did.) I'm sure most of you know that this is how women are - if you pass us in the hall at school and say 'hi', we're already wondering if this is the story we'll tell at our engagement party, of how we first met. We get melodramatic; It's just what we do.
It did not end badly - it just ended (with a bit of relief and no regret.)
The last part of the book fast-forwards 40 years. She writes that she knows Harrison better now and he still leaves her tongue-tied. If she was not proud of herself for having an affair with a married man (as she writes), I can only imagine he was not proud of himself either. (Also, she mentions that he is not a womanizer, and as far as she knows, she was his only affair and he was faithful to his other wives.) And they've never mentioned it since. Until now.
So why tell this story at all? Well, Carrie found those diaries and began reading them, remembering that time in her life fondly, even gratefully. As we get older, remembering a time in our lives when everything was in front of us, when we were young and relevent and everything is new, becomes important (she writes this in different words.) And she loves being Princess Leia, and is proud of it. She says and writes that she has no desire to embarrass Harrison or hurt anyone with this old story, and she did call him and talk with him about it. He didn't object or ask her to change anything. This did not happen yesterday - it happened 40 years ago. To read the diaries of the naive girl you were at 19 from the perspective of an older, wiser 60 year old is surreal. I keep diaries, too, and, while I've never had an affair with Harrison Ford (darn! and I'm not near 60 yet), I'm still shocked at the angst and drama of my former self, and what a particular situation meant to me and how it's shaped me. This is something Carrie wanted to share because she found those diaries and it's a part of the history of that time in their lives, and because and she can look back on it now in a different way (time has a way of taking the sting out of such things.).
And it's important to note that this is from her point of view as a 19 year old girl/woman - not now, who didn't understand that there are no such things as 'no-strings-attached' affairs. I'm betting Harrison learned that too.
This book offers you two rare gifts
by Computer_Geek (4 out of 5 stars)
December 22, 2016
This book offers you two rare gifts: (1) you're allowed into the diaries/thoughts of an intelligent, talented 19-year-old. (2) The adult Fisher provides you with her insights decades after the events took place. Her treatment of Harrison Ford (and of the entire Star Wars cast) is thoughtful and respectful.
Being Princess Leia isn't the only thing she's good at!
by D. WARD (5 out of 5 stars)
November 25, 2016
One of those rare times where the audiobook is best, simply because Carrie's narration is so superb. It doesn't sound as though she's reading it from the page, it's as though she's just talking to you. Shows you how great an actor she is.
Not as good as you would hope
by Dhamilton (1 out of 5 stars)
February 6, 2019
This book was extremely disappointing. She literally talks about nothing and when she finally opens up about her relationship with her co-star she spends 45 pages saying over and over how beautiful he was but how she is not going to tell us about their relationship... She could have at least given a little insight into what it was like between them. ( this is supposed to be her tell-all book about their relationship.) The only redeeming quality about this book were the diary entries she put in from when she was 19. When she was young she wrote beautifully and with such life. But the majority of the writing in this book was just bland
by Jeff Newman (3 out of 5 stars)
July 15, 2017
One thing that cannot be said about Carrie Fisher is that she doesn't have a way with words. She writes remarkable prose and is a fantastic storyteller. Her casual style is how I write as well, so I enjoy the write-as-you-talk way of communicating. However, this book was clearly to take advantage of the resurgence in Star Wars when Episode VII was released, to which the title clearly alludes. While it is a short, quick, fun read, the vast majority of it is about her time with Harrison during the filming of the original Episode IV. While interesting to delve into, especially as a Star Wars fan, the rest of the book talks about her adapting to the fact that her character as Princess Leia is for what she will always be known. She talks about why she attended Comic-Cons later in life, which is actually kind of sad, but for those of us who go to those things, we are certainly appreciative. Her recounting many interactions with fans seems pretty on target, if not somewhat creepy at times. At times, "The Princess Diarist" seems like another sad reason to peddle her wares because of her condition. And, in hindsight, seeing how she left us prematurely about 6 weeks after the release of this book, makes the whole thing that much more heartbreaking. If you are a Star Wars fan, please read it. If you aren't, try some of her other stuff, like "Surrender the Pink." She is a phenomenal writer, but this is not what I want by which to remember her. RIP, Carrie.
by Karen (5 out of 5 stars)
December 28, 2016
I am so sorry that Carrie Fisher has left this world and will never read this and future reviews of her last book. I loved this trip down memory lane regarding the making of Star Wars. It is interesting to note the feelings of a nineteen year old girl being launched into stardom and her struggle to find her true self.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
by Laura Reads Books (5 out of 5 stars)
July 18, 2017
Yet another reading inspired by the death of an author. In this case, Ms. Fisher was not just or even primarily an author. She was a script doctor, humorist, mental health advocate, poet, twitter pro...Oh yeah, and an actress.
Ms. Fisher's death felt like a final blow from a crapstorm of a year (in terms of celebrity deaths). Reading her book posthumously certainly affected my impression.
Although her books are bestsellers, this is the first one I've read. I'm sorry I waited until after her death to begin reading her works because she is an amazing writer.
It helps to have some understanding of Ms. Fisher's real personality because her writing style is similar to the way she spoke, with a great deal of sarcasm and not a small amount of wit.
The first part of the book is about her life before Star Wars, growing up with celebrity parents, her absent father (against whom she still seemed to hold resentment), her work on Shampoo, her auditions for Star Wars and Carrie, the process of selecting the iconic cinnamon bun hairstyle.
Then the book drops a (now well-known and expected by many) bombshell: Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford had an affair.
Ms. Fisher's normally self-deprecating style, funny in the first part of the book, suddenly becomes difficult to read. While Carrie was a young, 19 year old girl on the brink of unknown stardom, Harrison was 14 years older, married, and with two children. She admits that while Harrison probably didn't think much of her, Carrie thought of nothing but him.
She put in a few diary entries from when she was working on the movie. None of the entries she selected had anything to do with behind the scenes stuff on the movie; they were all about her relationship with Ford. While her writings are not explicit or detailed, they do shed some light on the painful and angsty inner thoughts of a young Fisher. (And WOW was she an amazing writer!)
It's hard now to read this and know that she suffered her entire life with almost crippling low self esteem, especially since, for many of us, she was a beacon of light, humor, and intelligence.
The last part of her book is about her dealings with fans. She never really asked for celebrity, but grew up with it because of her parents and then became a celebrity in her own right. Since her passing, the stories and anecdotes have been pouring in about her frankness and silliness with fans.
In conclusion (from a Tweet by Isiah Breen):
Honor Carrie Fisher:
- Normalize mental illness and its treatment.
- Take life a little less seriously.
- Destroy a fascist regime.
A final goodbye from our Princess
by M. Bartroff (5 out of 5 stars)
August 14, 2018
I miss Carrie Fisher. I miss her sarcasm, her willingness to stand up in a fight, her constant talk about her real problems, not a one of which she ever blamed on anyone else. This book isn't a love story about Carrie and Harrison. It is, however, in some ways, a love letter to the character who took over Carrie's life. To Leia's affect on her in all ways.
For a fan who was there from the beginning, this book is a reminder of life before, and life during the uproar that was Star Wars. It reminds me of who she and Mark and Harrison became, and how fresh and new they were in that first film. We all owe them so much.
Read this if you love Carrie Fisher. Read this if you love Star Wars. Read this if you're curious about the affair (but don't expect a grand, sweeping love story). But most of all read this if you are a fan who grew up during this time, who remembers that time before, who loves the characters, who loves Carrie.
I love Leia. I love Carrie. And I'm so grateful she got to share this with us before the end. I miss her every day.
by Laurel-Rain Snow (5 out of 5 stars)
April 24, 2017
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 naiveté, 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.
My Thoughts: A thoroughly enjoyable foray into the past, The Princess Diarist showed the author's trademark humor, self-deprecatory descriptions, and the skill of the wordsmith that have followed her in all of her work. Additionally, the photos were some I had never seen before.
I liked how she tastefully revealed the love affair that had been a secret for years. I felt as though I could see into her heart as she revealed her anxieties about that relationship, while also allowing us to enjoy the thrill she felt, most precious because she also knew that it was a temporary thing.
Those insecurities came out most in the diary entries, written by her younger self. She was nineteen at the time, while Harrison Ford was in his thirties. Her anecdotes of their short relationship, which she has characterized as a three-month one-night stand, reveal much about their personalities then...and later, too.
Her thoughts forty years later were also typically witty, even about very emotional topics. While she honestly revealed her thoughts and feelings, she was also able to mask the pain with her wit.
I especially enjoyed her anecdotes about the Princess Leia iconic images and the ongoing fan reactions, especially as time went by. Were her portrayals of Princess Leia her most defining moments? Must she constantly be confronted by the images, including dolls that commemorated her youthful life? Then again, without those reminders, would the fame have faded?
Fortunately, other movies and her bestselling novels added to her legacy.
Sadly, since Carrie Fisher's passing in December 2016, we all must confront the reality that we will forever be looking into the rear view mirror when we think of her. I cherish the books and movies I own, and especially enjoyed this last memoir, the one she was celebrating at the time of her death. 5 stars.
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