Carrie Fisher might be best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars movies. Her mother is actress Debbie Reynolds, and her father is “crooner” Eddie Fisher. Each was independently famous and became more so after they got married. I suspect Carrie Fisher was a name people recognized from the moment she was born. In this book, she describes herself as “a product of Hollywood inbreeding”.
Wishful Drinking the book is based on Carrie Fisher’s show of the same name. Reading it feels like she is talking to you (and the audience you are sitting in.) It is an informal discussion about some of the bizarre things she has experienced in her life. Some of the stories could be seen as tragic, but they are presented in a humorous way.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have your image appear on action figures, bath soap, dolls, and Pez dispensers? If not, then you can find out by reading the book. This is one of the many life situations Carrie Fisher has lived through that simply does not happen to most people.
She also describes what it was like to have to “share” your mother with random people who recognized mom from the movies she was in. Carrie Fisher had no difficulty sharing her mom with her younger brother, which I think is very nice. I mean, there are plenty of first born children who never get over having to split a parent’s attention with their younger siblings. Most of us, however, don’t have to also share our mother with random strangers who walk up and want to talk about how much they love her movies.
As you might expect from the very clever cover, Carrie Fisher shares stories about when she was drinking a lot and doing various other drugs. The image of Princess Leia with her head on the table, passed out after having a few too many martinis and whatever the blue pills next to her are is amusing. The reality, however, had to have been scary.
I suspect that at least part of the reason why she was drinking and taking drugs could have been as a form of self-medication. Another story she shares is how she got diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I think it was very brave of her to openly identify as someone who not only has a mental illness, but also as a person who has a mental illness that comes with a big, negative, stigma. I want to believe that her story will help someone else out there who is having similar difficulties to recognize that therapy might point them towards the source of the problem (and provide them with solutions).
Carrie Fisher makes it clear, within the first ten pages of the book, that she has undergone electroconvulsive therapy (also called ECT). This is another example of the things she experienced that most people do not. She says it affected her memory and that this caused her to have to be “reintroduced” to who she was and many of the weird things that had happened in her life.
I did not know much about Carrie Fisher before I read this book. For example, I didn’t know she had ECT therapy (or why she needed it). I didn’t know that she was once married to Paul Simon. It was interesting to learn some of the “behind the scenes” stories she shared from when the Star Wars movies were being filmed.
The entire book is about 155 pages long. It is packed with stories that are wild, and unbelievable, yet really did happen. Photos accompany several of the stories. Wishful Drinking is what happens when a person is born to famous parents, becomes a science-fiction Princess, and has an undiagnosed bipolar disorder. There are tons of fascinating stories packed into this little book, and I haven’t even skimmed the surface of them in my review.