Callum McLaughlin's Reviews > Postcards from the Edge

Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher
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really liked it
bookshelves: funny

With an opening line like, 'Maybe I shouldn't have given the guy who pumped my stomach my phone number, but who cares? My life is over anyway.', it was clear from the off that this novel was going to be full of Carrie Fisher's trademark caustic wit, and her unwavering ability to find humour in even the darkest and most absurd events.

The book is a raw, satirical, and insightful look at one woman's quest for health and happiness in the wake of addiction and rehabilitation. It's a portrait of Suzanne; perhaps a little broken, and not sure how to be whole again. In her heroine's attempts to find her feet, and rescue her suffering career as an actress, Fisher questions how much Suzanne's struggles with drugs, low self-esteem, and poor mental health are the result of the vain, privileged, fame-hungry, sex-obsessed world of Hollywood - and how much of it is down to the simple human battle to be comfortable in your own skin.

I was surprised by how experimental the novel is in its structure, with the narrative split into sections, each written in its own distinct style: an epistolary fashion; first-person; an alternating 'he said/she said' dialogue; and the more conventional third person. Each style is used to appropriately explore Suzanne's mental state and circumstances at that time, the consistent inconsistency reflecting her sense of floundering. The dialogue in particular is also very punchy, with lots of fun wordplay.

Whilst Suzanne is indeed the star of the book (with the focus very much on her, rather than being driven heavily by plot), the section chronicling the breakdown of Alex, one of Suzanne's fellow rehab inmates, was one of the most claustrophobic, intense, and deliberately maddening reading experiences I've encountered for quite some time. The breathless pace, relentless paranoia, and complete absence of anyone else's dialogue (even during conversations) did so well to reflect how fully he was in the grips of his addiction, being completely trapped inside his own head, and unable to see beyond himself and his chase of the next fix. They say addiction makes you selfish, and Fisher captured that with aplomb within Alex's narrative. Indeed, for all his fierce denial and repellent obnoxiousness, he is a very sympathetic character.

I mentioned that the book is not necessarily driven by plot, but there is a nice sense of closure for Suzanne, topped off with a perfectly pitched, and surprisingly poignant final line, which brilliantly reflects the harsh reality she faces: The road to recovery is never-ending; the fight to conquer addiction and overcome the demons of mental health equally so. These are lessons from her own life that Fisher evidently channelled into her work with great success.
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Reading Progress

February 4, 2017 – Shelved
February 4, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 4, 2019 – Started Reading
January 4, 2019 – Shelved as: funny
January 6, 2019 – Finished Reading

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