With the release of “The Last Jedi,” I guess I had Carrie Fisher on the brain last year as everyone was getting psyched for the new movie. Having listened to The Princess Diarist about a year ago, I figured it was time to read Wishful Drinking, which she mentioned briefly in The Princess Diarist. I got the audiobook from my library and it’s a super fast read – the audiobook is only two or three hours long.
Fisher wrote it after having had electroshock therapy (EST) for her bipolar disorder, but one of the side effects is permanent loss of some of her memories. So Fisher wrote this book as a way to try to sort through the memories of her life that she does have. It was also a way for her to explore her life with mental illness and addiction.
Fisher starts way in the beginning with her parents’ famous marriage, divorce, and the subsequent stream of significant others they both had after their big breakup. It got very complicated with all the marriages and divorces, and as much as I enjoyed listening to Fisher narrate, the chart alone might make reading the physical book worthwhile. A friend of mine who saw Fisher perform “Wishful Drinking” on Broadway said Fisher did actually draw a chart on a big white board as part of her performance so the audience could follow along.
In the audiobook, Fisher would just say something like, “You still with me?” And I would say, “No.”
Fisher talks about how she and her brother idolized their mom and I especially appreciated their description of the transformation she underwent in preparing herself to go out and be seen.
Fisher also talks quite openly about her struggles with addiction. Having read a number of books about people who are related to or friends with addicts, it was interesting to get the other perspective. Fisher knows she’s letting down all the people in her life, but addiction was apparently a beast she could not tame, even when her life depended on it.
Fisher briefly mentions her time as Princess Leia, but because most of her addiction and her final diagnosis happened after the first trilogy was made, that’s what takes up most of this book.
As always, Fisher is a beautiful writer and an excellent narrator, and I highly recommend listening to this audiobook.
What did you guys read/listen to this week? Anything else to try to bring back beloved figures who have moved on?