**spoiler alert** Oh Carrie. This book's genesis was her newly found diaries, with the juicy news of a secret 3-month affair with Harrison Ford during**spoiler alert** Oh Carrie. This book's genesis was her newly found diaries, with the juicy news of a secret 3-month affair with Harrison Ford during the filming of the 1st Star Wars film. The rest of the book appears as random filler. Sometimes amusing, always witty, Ms. Fisher shows off her verbal dexterity as she always does but the pieces at first seem quite disjointed. She does however do the difficult and admirable job of revealing herself authentically. It's not always pretty, but underneath the loquacious wit, her books always reveal truths. And that's why I always love them.
To me, the affair story was revealing in a way I didn't expect. It's a sad story of a power imbalance. A naive pretty 19 year old girl oververbalizing herself into an affair with a 33-yr old married man who won't match her emotionally. He thinks she's a player; she's actually just playing with words and her openness to a real connection is a burden to him. So what does she do? Leave, yell, shame him, laugh at his weakness compared to her strength? No, she fauns, hides, ignores him when he won't say he loves her back, continues the affair, and writes poems in her journal about her frustrations. She knows the truth from the beginning of the diaries, but it takes her months to let her inner voice admit it to the private page--this guy is playing her and despite her devotion to his strong body and silently attractive persona, there is nothing there between them. Her diaries make this point every which way, freehand and in sonnets, endlessly. Every new metaphor shows how she's digging into the discomfort, taking more than her fair share of blame, questioning herself more than questioning him. Until finally, she's not. The ultimate story of those diary entries is: oh! It's not me, it actually is you!!
Has any teenager not dated someone who causes similar doubts? It's a very uncomfortable place to revisit. But Carrie wrote this and then sat for interviews about it. She is trying to tell us something really important. The pre and post sections of the book help make it more clear. The journey from naive Hollywood ingenue to sarcastic Comic con autograph giver takes experiences like this. Tough women start out naive. It is experience that makes them tough.
As her final offering, which this became while I was reading it 2 days ago when she died, this book actually makes more sense. Carrie was chosen for the Leia role because she was two things at the same time. Young and beautiful, soft, short and physically non-threatening. But also verbally acute, with a strong voice and no bullshit authority that could insult Wookies and imperial officers and make them squirm. Personally, she struggled with these two sides of herself, as the affair showed. And I think most of us strong women struggle with these two sides of ourselves too. The Princess Diarist helps us all see how human this struggle is, over a lifespan where the public and private truths can finally be reconciled.
Thanks, Carrie, for letting us see a glimpse into how the Hollywood part of your life made this struggle harder for you, and how you reconciled it through your own indelible wit and force of self.