Review: Wishful Drinking

Most of us know who Carrie Fisher is. We probably met her the same way: when she appeared before a small droid and spoke the famous words: Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.

Carrie Fisher was an actress I grew up watching. I have loved Star Wars and I have been a fan of Princess Leia for a very long time. I knew Carrie was also an author, but I never paid too much attention to her written work until she published The Princess Diarist. I was going to purchase it, but I chose Wishful Drinking instead.

Now that I have read it, I realize that she was so much more than an actress and I’m sad that I only discovered her other big talent only after her passing. I’m not talking about her comedy or her writing. I’m talking about her openness. To be willing to open up to others and be completely frank about one’s problems takes courage, but to be able to do so while laughing and at the same time being honest about the toll that they take on one’s life is truly a talent that not many of us have.

“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls.”

Wishful Drinking is a book of memoirs based on Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show of the same name. It isn’t a linear, detailed account of her entire life. It is bits and pieces of her thoughts and experiences, both good and bad. From her casting as Princess Leia and the strange explanation why a woman cannot wear underwear in space, her marriages -including the one where her husband left her for another man-, to the time when she woke up next to a dead man on her bed, this book is full of stories. Some sad, some funny, some hard, some strange, and some flat out ridiculous.

Many critics said this book was good and funny but too simple. Too much like her show. That Fisher focused too much on the entertainment part and too little on “the deep stuff”. People wanted to know how she really felt and what it’s really like to be an alcoholic, drug addict with manic depression, space-royal, single mother. But to me this book is perfect as it is. Fisher is honest and at peace with her story. True, she doesn’t always share the depth of her emotions, but that is something I can relate to. So this book of memoirs may not be as deep and heart-wrenching as Joan Didion’s, but I love it because it is Carrie’s. She battled drug addiction and made a comedy show about it, so I don’t see why her book shouldn’t have sad paragraphs followed by funny one-liners.

This is a quick, easy-to-read book. It may not be for everyone because not everyone might like Fisher’s humor, but that is always the thing with humorous books. However, if you’re a big fan of Carrie Fisher, you will probably love it.

  My edition:  Paperback, published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster.
My edition: Paperback, published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster.