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Carrie Fisher mentioned this novella in her book Wishful Drinking, which I had just finished listening to when I decided to see if this audiobook was also available from my library – it was!
This super short audiobook is only about three hours long, and it was narrated by Fisher when she was in her early thirties. Having just listened to a much older Fisher narrate Wishful Drinking, it was kind of funny to suddenly switch back to young Fisher.
The novella is described as semi-autobiographical, but I think it’s mostly autobiographical. Since I had just finished listening to Wishful Drinking, in which Fisher talks about some aspects of her life that come up in Postcards from the Edge, it was fun being able to point out the things I knew were taken directly from her life.
The main character’s name is Suzanne Vale, but there’s so much of Fisher in her that it’s hard not to think of her as Carrie Fisher – especially with Fisher narrating the audiobook. The book starts out with Suzanne in rehab after a near-death experience due to an overdose. She makes friends there and it reminded me a lot of Girl, Interrupted, except rehab instead of a mental institution and Suzanne knows she has a problem and that she needs rehab.
Once her rehab is complete, the book chronicles Suzanne’s attempts at getting back out into the world, complete with a job, a personal trainer, hateful Hollywood dinner parties, crippling bouts of depression, and, eventually, healthy romantic relationships.
There’s not much of a plot because it’s more of an exploration of mental illness, addiction, rehab, and Hollywood/the life of an actor in general. If anything, I think it’s more of an attempt on Fisher’s part to try to imagine her way to a better future for herself by writing a happy ending for the character she based on herself.
I saw another review online that pointed out the problematic nature of this book apparently defining a happy ending as a romantic relationship with a man, and while that is a problem, I think that’s a symptom of the time period it was written, as well as the fact that Fisher herself was still fairly young and had already been married and divorced once. There is a scene in the book in which Suzanne and her friend wish for a world in which they’re allowed to be single and they don’t have to work. And, honestly, isn’t that what we’re all after?
What did you read/listen to this week? Any other novels inspired by real life?