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Suzanne Vale #1

Postcards from the Edge

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Fisher beautifully brings readers the inside of Hollywood through a web of humor, drugs, relationships, Hollywood Party Terror, and much more. The plot centers on a 30-year-old actress named Suzanne Vale, and follows her challenges as she overcomes her drug addiction, gets back into the swing of things, and falls in love, sort of.

226 pages, Paperback

First published August 1, 1987

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About the author

Carrie Fisher

20 books2,534 followers
Carrie Fisher was an American actress, screenwriter and author, most famous for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. Fisher was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. She had one daughter, Billie Lourd (b. 1992).

Her final film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, was released on December 15, 2017 and is dedicated to her.

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5 stars
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,467 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,393 reviews7,249 followers
January 28, 2018
Carrie Fisher died today and now the interwebs are exploding with billions of fangirls who never watched a Star Wars movie until the Manic Pixies told them they should. That sounds hateful, but I don't really give a shit mean it to be . (Confession: I'm not a ginormous Star Wars fan myself.) I am a huge Carrie Fisher fan, though, and it's mainly due to this book.

Postcards from the Edge is a semi-autobiographical story about Carrie after coming out of a stint in rehab. I read this book when I was basically a kid and Carrie Fisher became my hero. Not because she kicked ass in a galaxy far far away, but because somehow she managed to kick it just by being herself. When Hollywood snubbed her for daring to get old and *gasp* fat, she reiterated why I adored her by giving them the middle finger (and eventually reprising the role that made her famous). She will eternally be an icon due to Princess Leia, but I think she should be remembered for being a fucking awesome chick in general.

Read this book - or just watch the movie . . . .

Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,120 followers
July 19, 2017
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE is the semi-autobiographical novel based on the turbulent life of Carrie Fisher.

The first third of the story recounting 30 days of actress Suzanne Vale's life in rehab was pretty intense and nerve-racking reading (for me) and if you can get through lives and stories of drug dealers, addicts and rather disgusting Hollywood types in those pages, the rest of the novel will be a breeze.

While I loved the movie with its witty and sarcastic dark humor, the novel came across (for me) as kind of a downer, and except for a few similarities here and there, quite different from the flick.

Overall, despite her Hollywood fame and superstar upbringing, I came away from this read feeling sad and sorry for Carrie Fisher with all the difficulties she faced with her health and life.

Carrie Fisher: October 21, 1957 - December 27, 2016

Profile Image for Matt.
3,613 reviews12.8k followers
February 26, 2017
In her first piece of fiction, Fisher seeks to relay some sentiments through this quasi-biographical story. Suzanne Vale is an actress who has succumbed to the horrors of addiction and finds herself in a treatment facility. While there, she recounts some of her views on fellow addicts and the trials of life on the inside. Released back into her real world, Vale begins the slow process of re-establishing herself, securing a new agent while trying to return to the life she knows so well. However, as seems to be the yoke of all those who have tasted fame, she finds herself in a form of purgatory, unsure where she fits in and how others will see her. By the end of this short piece, she has found a form of amorous connection, though it is unclear if it will be long-lasting. Truly a scattering of thoughts that tries to relate back to her own life, Fisher may have work her side-buns too tightly if this is supposed to be high quality writing.

I respect that everyone has their life and ideas that shape them. I also am sure that it is difficult to be a Hollywood actress and face the rigours of the bright lights and paparazzi on a daily basis. However, like all people, actors are people and have to face the everyday world. Fisher seeks, I think, to portray a form of herself in the Vale character, but it comes across more as a justification for acts and serves as a trivial and superficial approach to life. A few characters who were lacklustre and a plot... was there one? At times I was unsure what I was reading, wondering if this might be some form of monologue that sought to tell stories and anecdotes. This was not a story as much as it was a means to express herself without using her own name and experiences. If only to honour her recent passing, I will likely try the second Vale piece and see what comes of this, but I am certain to list RETURN TO SENDER on this particular postcard.

Thank you Madam Fisher for your insights. Perhaps stick to recounting stories about yourself and not using a straw man in the form of Suzanne Vale.
Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:
http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Calista.
3,792 reviews31.2k followers
January 21, 2018
I enjoyed Carrie's first novel. It was witty and interesting. Suzanne is obviously based loosely on her life from other stories I have read of hers. I feel like this was one of the first behind the scenes of Hollywood. I'm sure there were things before this, but this was a big tell-all basically.

There was the rehab portion, the looking for love portion of the book and the part where she is trying to accept normal portion. I felt the dialogue was snappy, there were funny moments. I enjoy the story; I was entertained.

For a debut author, I think this was a strong start. I have 3 Carrie books left.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 2 books639 followers
March 9, 2021
Excellent at times, but very average at others.
Profile Image for Erin.
56 reviews181 followers
Read
February 9, 2017
ok.

you know that moment, at the party-you-didn't-want-to-come-to, filled with the important-people-from-work-who-don't-really-like-you, standing in the corner-of-the apartment-marked-specifically-for-losers-and-the-apartment-cat (who is now drunk and stuffed on mini shrimp popper appetizers)? the moment where you realize that you didn't wear the right shoes, your dress is being worn as a shirt by the most beautiful woman in the room, and everyone in the entire WORLD is staring at you when they are not too busy rubbing elbows, sucking up, or have just plain finished judging everyone closest too them and have run out of material?

yeah, that moment.

i've never been addicted to cocaine, so i can't really review what i don't know. but let's be honest. it sounded... AWESOME. carrie fisher, i didn't think standing around being stoned in "the empire strikes back" was going to prepare you for anything later in life, because that's what they taught us in DARE. but apparently it prepared you to be super observant, hilariosly witty, and amazingly devious in your vary-ing writing styles (vary-ing? what? can my editor get on that spelling please? thnx)

i was amused throughout, an impressive feat because the only thing more boring than reading about people doing drugs, making bad decisions, having disgustingly casual sex, and laying around gorging themselves in self pity is watching it. (eg scorpio rising. the entire film).

anyway, back to that "moment". i was amused throughout because i spent most of "throughout" thinking, oh shit, i've done that. i've thought that. i've said that exact thing, out loud, in front of a bunch of people who probably shouldn't have heard it. no matter how different the characters are from you, their stream-of-concious honesty taps those inner demons we try so very hard to keep under wraps. judgemental, annoyed, impatient, self doubting, and insecure, we've all stood in the corner of the room with the drunk housepet and simultaneously worried about our hair while berating the host for her absyminal choice in cutlery. and we don't feel bad about it either.

maybe we DO need another therapy session for this, but hell, we like your writing, ms. fisher, and we don't intend to stop reading soon.

("we"? as in plural? as in when did this review jump from me to we? can i get an editor on that? thnx)

Profile Image for Jonathan.
911 reviews923 followers
January 4, 2021
Motherfucking goddam shit. Rest in peace Carrie, you were wonderful


******

Get better soon Carrie, you wonderful nutbag. Am listening to Hearts and Bones and sending thoughts and strength and health in your direction.
Profile Image for Rachel Aranda.
864 reviews2,258 followers
November 23, 2018
This was Ms. Carrie Fisher's debut novel and it's a good one. It's honest, fun, and quite realistic of the struggles of being a recovering "pills addict" and famous actress who doesn't quite know what normal is but trying to find a sense of normalcy. Like everyone in the world, Suzanne has doubts about herself, her life choices, and career as a movie star and I understood and connected with that. I'm a worrier and Suzanne is a worrier too. The only thing I didn't quite like about the plot is how we heard a little about Suzanne's mom or her co-workers on the cop movie she was working on in the book. We didn't hear more about them after the sections they were mentioned in and I would have enjoyed hearing more about how she felt about her mom and how the movie turned out. Thankfully we heard more about a few other people in Suzanne's life like her friend Lucy and her beau near the end of the book. It's a debut novel so I understand that it won't be perfect but it was still really good, but if I'm honest I could probably forget about it the more time passes.

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook as I really like Ms. Fisher's voice. She really made this listening experience that much better. I'll definitely listen to more of her audiobooks so I can her Ms. Fisher's voice more.
Profile Image for Naksed.
2,967 reviews103 followers
November 19, 2016

Sometimes I feel like I've got my nose pressed up against the window of a bakery, only I'm the bread.





In Postcards from the Edge, Carrie Fisher writes a part-fiction, part-memoirs account about the highs and lows of life in Hollywood. And by that, I mean the highs of drug consumption followed by the lows of withdrawal during the inevitable stay in rehab.





It is truly fascinating to listen to the her voice spewing the most intricate, absurdist, intellectual and insightful witticisms, trying to catch every nuance and subtlety of the jokes that keep coming at you at a hundred miles an hour. You get a little bit of an understanding of the sheer power of Fisher's intelligence as well as wondering just how painful and exhausting it must be to live inside her out-of-control-freight-train mind. Especially in Tinsel-Town, where people quite seriously argue the merits of the Beatles over Noel Coward at a Beverly Hills soiree.





The film version of Postcards from the Edge is one of my absolute all-time favorite comedies. I believe Fisher also wrote the screenplay. It was interesting to see how she worked a traditional, linear, narrative plotline out of the scattered and disjointed essays that make up these memoirs. Fisher definitely pulled the best bits out and came out with a few additional zingers for the film. What I liked most about the movie is that it emphasized the dysfunctional, whackadoodle, and fiercely loving relationship she has with her movie star legend mother Debbie Reynolds, a tour de force, genius performance by Reynolds' personal friend, Shirley Maclaine.





This book, and Fisher's dry, dark, deadpan style, might be off-putting for many but I personally eat that kind of humor up, so I can't wait to delve into some of her other, more contemporary works. Princess Leia doesn't even scratch the surface of who this woman is.

Profile Image for Anna Bendewald.
Author 5 books51 followers
January 11, 2020
I read this when I was 20 and a movie was about to be made of it. Holy smokes! It blew the lid off my concept of fame and boundaries between mothers and daughters and threw propriety out the window --er, off the edge of the cliff in the title. How human Debbie and Carrie were. Boy, they were born with all the gifts and got to feel all the feels. Life isn't easy even when you've got it all and no one makes it out alive.
Profile Image for Maria.
609 reviews99 followers
February 11, 2016
I searched what became one of my favourite online bookstores for Carrie Fisher in the hope of finding a copy of Wishful Drinking. Instead, I found myself staring at a list of available titles that included Postcards from the Edge. And the question was, why not?

Postcards from the Edge mainly follows the story of an actress who found her way to a rehab clinic after losing – almost for good – her life to drugs. Suzanne has reached her thirties and, after her drug scandal, is having a hard time finding work… and love. In her search for both, with the sometimes helpful hand of her family, friends and therapist, she learns that perhaps one should just enjoy the ride instead of trying to stop the roller coaster from going. With its awe-inspiring ups and its life-threatening lows, it’s an adventure of a lifetime.

Suzanne, with her endearingly honest voice, grows on you. She’s so incredibly human, so someone you may know, so… you. I believe it’s practically impossible not to start rooting for her as she tries to find her way. One of the dots that make up her silhouette will certainly connect with one of yours. And the ending… it’s just… life.

Postcards from the Edge is clever, hilarious, wise, real… all of it bottled up in simplistic, yet rather profound, writing. I would definitely prescribe it (ah!), recommend it.

If I was curious about Wishful Drinking before, I am now sure that I must find myself a copy.


Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,079 reviews424 followers
January 12, 2019
1.5 Stars

Apparently, Hollywood ego is just not my cuppa, and I really couldn't motivate myself to care much about an insecure actress struggling with self acceptance and being happy.

I will give credit to the acerbic, smartly funny wit. However, the last chapter was the best and that's a long journey to go to get some goodness.
Profile Image for Stacey D. .
320 reviews25 followers
June 21, 2017
For someone who suffered from drug addiction and depression, Carrie Fisher was a force to be reckoned with when it came to being in touch with her feelings. She really puts them out there in the embodiment of Suzanne Vale, the novel's main character. Geez, she must have felt incredibly vulnerable doing so, too: both as a big celebrity presence and as a former addict. If anyone in Hollywood and America didn't know her story, they knew now.

And was she funny! There are some truly memorable lines here. I laughed out loud at the scene between Suzanne and Jack Burroughs, as they talk at length about their non-relationship. Not to mention, the very heady insightfulness found in the story, which is ultimately, about growing up and having hope. I could relate to many of the sound bites found here, about men, dating, love, depression, body parts. Why couldn't I articulate them as well?

Since the novel takes you through late '80's Hollywood, I enjoyed guessing who many of the figures were in real life who randomly pop up throughout the book. The party scene was filled with larger-than-life assholish artistes and in one instance, I could swear Selena Warner was channeling Joan Collins.

I especially like this "gee, I wished I had thought of that" gem gleamed from dialogue between friends and actresses Suzanne and Lucy toward the end of the novel:

"Guys are great before you know who they are," said Lucy. "They're great when you're still with who they might be."

Rest in peace, Carrie. You were truly one of the greats.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
419 reviews212 followers
May 16, 2017
I'll give it a 3.5. Not great literature, but entertaining, even if certain parts went on a bit too long. Fisher's writing style was definitely funny. I did laugh out loud several times, and not that many books make me do that.
Profile Image for Ashley.
89 reviews2 followers
November 22, 2013
Oh, Carrie Fisher.... Such a terrible book. It wasn't poorly written, just hard to care about any of the characters, the narrator in particular. Thankfully, it's a short read so you don't have to suffer for long.
800 reviews75 followers
December 21, 2016
I know at the time I read this-I just loved it- and wouldn't stop reading parts of it to anyone who would let me. Don't know if it would be the same now-but at the time I thought it was just so funny and clever.
Profile Image for Davita.
72 reviews
January 12, 2016
She's an excellent author, the subject matter just wasn't to my liking & I just couldn't get into it. I am interested in giving her other books a try, though.
Profile Image for Julie James.
Author 15 books9,429 followers
February 6, 2017
Really enjoyed this one--lots of wry, witty lines made all the better by Carrie Fisher's great narration.
Profile Image for Andi.
1,127 reviews
July 27, 2016
review to come...

EDIT:

So. Here is the deal, because there is not much to tell about this book because nothing seems to happen after the character gets out of rehab.

This book has no plot for 2/3rds. Sad, but true. I think Carrie Fisher is a great writer. She has a way of creating this characters that have a ton of flaws but are witty and real. I think Suzanne is her - this was her outlet, this was her way of writing out her feelings and not caring if a story came out of it.

Also, Alex... why were we treated to first person narratives with him only to have him creep on Suzanne and then vanish for the rest of the book (but be mentioned off-handedly/make a cameo near the end)? Who really knows. Guess Carrie wanted to have a character that was showing the effects of coke overdose.

I enjoy her memoirs a lot. While this may not be a memoir, it shows that she has knack for witticisms.
Profile Image for Janine Urban.
231 reviews
January 13, 2017
I picked this up to see what all the hype was about. I should have left it. It wasn't my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Madara.
263 reviews53 followers
July 6, 2019
4.2/5
Quality of writing: 4
Plot development: 4
Pace: 4
Characters: 4
Enjoyability: 4
Ease of reading: 5
Profile Image for Elisabeth.
148 reviews
February 9, 2017
This book only furthered my belief that Carrie Fisher is a genius. The book is NOTHING like the movie, except for a small part in the middle, but since Carrie also wrote the screenplay it is all good. A lot of what she says in this book rang oddly true to me which was a little confronting, but only made me love it more.

Negative parts? In the beginning when alex narrates the story, he was sooooo annoying, but then again, he was a cokehead and those are known for being annoying. So point well made :P. I also recognized some stuff in the book that she now uses in her one-woman show (her mother calling up saying "this is your mother, Doris" and her grandmother saying flies can land on shit or pie.), but none of that lessened the book to me.

I read this book in one day, so i'll wait till i move onto Surrender the Pink, but i'm sure i'll love that one too. Funny and self-reflection are the best combo when presented by Carrie Fisher.
Profile Image for Connie.
1,432 reviews24 followers
April 21, 2021
I own this book.

It's like I've got a visa for happiness, but for sadness, I've got a lifetime pass.

This thinly-veiled autobiography of sorts based on Carrie Fisher's life was fascinating. We meet Suzanne Vale, a washed-up actress as she enters rehab and meets a variety of eccentric characters. We watch as Suzanne spends a month in rehab, leaves and faces a series of love life disasters and life as a recovering drug addict. We also spend some time with Alex an egocentric drug addict who doesn't believe he has a problem.

I found this book to be one of the funniest I've read in a long time, as I admire Fisher's wit and undeniable sense of self that is woven into everything she has written. I'm also a massive Carrie Fisher fan so maybe that's why I can't help but see these books with anything but love.
Profile Image for Herb.
240 reviews
August 13, 2009
What an awful book! Sheesh....nothing but an overly long series of ramblings (yes, dear hearts, I realize the protagonist is a recovering addict & addicts are supposedly prone to rambling sometimes), but I kept waiting for a point to be made until I realized the book had ended & that possibly there wasn't going to be one. Terrible.
Profile Image for Kasey.
276 reviews
June 10, 2010
Not really sure there was a plot in there....anywhere. I am planning to watch the movie. I'll bet it's nothing like the book.
And I was right! Watched the movie just yesterday & was amazed that the screenplay was written by the author & almost unrecognizable.
Not that it was any good either!
Profile Image for Wendy.
343 reviews6 followers
February 7, 2017
maybe it's just me, but i didn't care about this book at all. i had high hopes, which may have been the problem. i found the characters and dialogue forgettable, and the action was limited. not impressed.
Profile Image for Lita.
196 reviews22 followers
April 13, 2021
Light, funny, and easy read with a surprisingly realistic feel to it (for Hollywood drama). I especially enjoyed the intermittent use of his and hers viewpoints in the first chapters of the book. And the level of insight in the drug addict's mind was somewhat incredible. The story is built up of snapshots of Suzanne's life that might as well be postcards from the edge of addiction, depression, anxiety, and all those lovely things we've grown to hear about or experience nowadays. It's worth a read.
Profile Image for Louize.
423 reviews42 followers
January 28, 2011
“Most people dream big, you dream small. It’s just whatever you haven’t got is what you want. It isn’t the life, it’s what you do with it. So, do something regular with your irregular life, rather than trying to get a regular one, ‘cause you’d just do something irregular with that.”

Driven by my fondness of the film adaptation, I grabbed this book from an on-sale bin from BookSale. I’m sure you’re all aware of the all-star cast movie; and of Meryl Streep and Shirley McLaine’s Golden Globe and Oscar’s nomination for this film. The film, itself, was ill-received and closely-scrutinized though.

The story revolved around Suzanne Vale, an actress and a rehab patient for drug addiction. While unlike the film, which was funny and catchy, the book was much sensible for me. It was focused on the subject of recovery from drug addiction, while the movie focused more on the constant friction between the over-bearing mother and her low-esteemed daughter.

The book was written in 5 parts. The prologue was written in postcards sent to her brother, friend and grandmother. It was followed by a self-narration in journal form, covering most of her stay and acquaintances in the rehabilitation center. Then, a dialogue/monologue with a producer (turned lover) followed. The 4th part was a third-person narrative of how Suzanne is struggling to put her life together, recovering her status as an actress, and as a person in need of a worthy relationship. Brought about by the heart-to-heart talk with her sententious grandmother, Suzanne found some semblance in her struggles and took hold of some normalcy in her life. In conclusion, the 5th part was a letter addressed to the doctor who pumped her stomach during her drug overdose, prior to her rehab.

Needless to say, the book was written in a very unusual style. It will either interest you more, or try your patience. Looking past that, the story and lesson applies to most of us, struggling through rehab or not, since we are all in this ever winding process of discovering and rediscovering our purpose in life. This is a vague story behind the question: When are we going to let go of what we want, and accept the things we should have?

“P.S. That night in the emergency room, do you recall if I threw up something I needed? Some small but trivial thing that belonged inside? I distinctly feel as though I’m missing something.
But then, I always have.”

January 17, 2017
I picked-up “Postcards From The Edge” over a decade ago, a highly-regarded literary oeuvre and film. My cinematic cover erroneously suggests the tale of an inadvertently-upstaging famous Mother, which I thought that the story was. However, just one week ago: our world lost Carrie Fisher. I was content to hear-out any story she weaved. I am a “Star Wars” fan but respect her as an acclaimed authoress too, whom I looked forward to experiencing. She was always a riot in interviews, like the one with Ellen DeGeneres only a month ago. Her way with words preceded her, so I knew I was in good hands on any subject.

As a child of the don't-do-drugs-or-cigarettes 1980s, I avoid those who do, so the topic flings far out of my wheelhouse. I couldn't relate either, to someone who finds it difficult to feel happy and questions what it is. It is an emotion that springs upon us as spontaneously as any other. For enjoyment's sake, I couldn't give this book more than three stars but am stepping outside that, to acknowledge how well Carrie conveyed her subject and for a peculiar, original structure too. I would by far prefer a first person memoir but received a clear look at what Carrie wished to portray.

We meet Suzanne Vale journaling from a successful rehabilitation stay. The narrative lurches to an Alex, overcome by addiction. I wondered why we were observing his thoughts but he ties-up the end. When we're through with him, following Suzanne at home, I began to enjoy the excursion; especially watching her film a movie and then daily life with her friend, Lucy. It interested me that one joy the protagonist always had was popular music. Don Henley's “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” will remind me of Carrie.
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