Monday, July 20, 2009

Wishful Drinking

Summary: In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. "But it isn't all sweetness and light sabers."

Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It's an incredible tale - from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

Review: Reading Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking is like being in the audience of her one woman show: laugh out funny, but not a comprehensive memoir. After undergoing shock therapy to treat her depression and suffering the resulting memory loss, Fisher decides to tell her story both to reclaim memories and as a cathartic experience. Lucky us! Fisher has a gift in storytelling and doesn't hold much back in the way of secrets -- unlike a lot of Hollywood "tell alls" which tell little and are mainly PR pieces for the named celebrity.

Fisher's skewers various life episodes for our entertainment and hers. I laughed 'til I cried when I read Fisher's hysterical recounting of her family tree (with diagrams!) to explain to her daughter, Billie, who was interested in Elizabeth Taylor's grandson Rhys that "they are related by scandal." Fisher's mother Debbie Reynolds is portrayed as an eccentric (e.g. wanting to smoke pot with Fisher), but loving mother. While Fisher's father, Eddie Fisher, is described more by what he is not: an involved parent or even a mature adult. The remainder of this short tome addresses Fisher's bouts of depression, bipolarism, alcoholism, fame and rollercoaster relationship with Paul Simon. These are not usually funny subjects, but Fisher has a way with "gallows humor."

One note of caution: Fisher uses a fair amount of salty language and frankly describes several adult topics. Still if you are not easily offended and want a humorous, fast, read I highly recommend Wishful Drinking. Better still buy the audio version and let Fisher herself share the story that only she can tell!


  1. Great review! Sounds like something I would enjoy reading.

  2. Enjoyed your review! I, too, reviewed this book—on Amazon,, and on my blog Laurel-Rain Snow's Reflections.

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