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Why You Should Read The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

“I wish I could go away somewhere but the only problem with that is that I’d have to go too.” – Carrie Fisher.

With the release of the trailer for The Last Jedi, it seems only fitting to remind ourselves of the genius that was Carrie Fisher. Many people are aware of her acting skills, ranging from Star Wars to movies such as When Harry Met Sally, but this article is focused on her writing. Published in 2016, The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s story of her time whilst filming the first Star Wars movie in 1976. It includes her reflections back on that time whilst also extracting from the diary that she kept during the process.

I was drawn to this book as someone who is a fan of Star Wars, but I feel that those who are not could also appreciate the quality and pure honesty of her writing. Fisher’s “sort of memoir” tackles some difficult issues in a way that is relatable, refreshingly honest, moving, and even entertaining. Opening with an account of the time leading up to her landing the role of Princess Leia, she even covers her childhood and considers her parent’s separation.

Fisher’s “a sort of memoir” famously reveals the affair that she had with Harrison Ford whilst filming Star Wars: A New Hope. Writing on an affair from the position of the “other woman” is a challenge that Fisher faces well. The beauty of her writing and the honesty of her account, with quotes such as “I began filming Star Wars hoping to have an affair,” allowed me to really connect with Fisher as a writer.

Fisher also addresses her experience of sexual harassment within the film industry, which is a topic that has recently been further exposed in the press. This account begins her exploration of the sexualised female, which was a prevalent part of Fisher’s life as a woman as a result of playing Princess Leia. Her reference to celebrity signings as a “celebrity lap dance”, reminds the readers of her comedic quality of frequently making light of her circumstances.

For those readers who enjoy a mix of prose and poetry, the middle section of The Princess Diarist does both of these, including extracts from Fisher’s diary. The brutal honesty of this section is so moving due to her way of considering her struggles with her mental health and self-confidence.

As a young woman myself, the account that Fisher presents of her turbulent and eventful youth reminded me of the strength that we can find within ourselves. She also reminds us that it is okay for us to struggle sometimes. She tackles so many important and tough issues throughout the book, giving real insight into the experiences of her life.

Her account of her life is surprisingly relatable – despite her celebrity status. Personally, I feel like a lot of young women can understand the feeling she describes of being “a neurotic, complicated, somewhat intellectual, deep gal who’s also wacky, zany and madcap.” 

English and History student at University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus. I spent a year studying abroad at University College Cork, Ireland.
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