May 24, 2017

[Books] The Princess Diarist - Audible Review

So my current experiment with Audible focuses on biographies. In particular, I seem to have a particular interest in autobiographies narrated by the author. There's an added level of "realness" or something when you hear them read the words used to describe their lives.

Listening to The Princess Diarist is particularly striking at this time given the passing of the author, Carrier Fisher. It's one thing to read their words, but hear things in their own voice, well, it does make one teary from time to time during the book.

Carrie Fisher is more than "just" Princess Leia from Star Wars. She's  also a great writer with a flair for comedy - something that she uses to wonderful effect in the course of crafting this memoir of her life. And this particular book has an interesting focus.

Synopsis: The Princess Diarist is a memoir written by Carrie Fisher about her time on the set of Star Wars mostly. The is the third memoir she's written and the audio book is read by her and her daughter Billie Lourd.

This book got a lot of press because of one particular news item - the details of Carrie Fisher's affair with Harrison Ford during the filming of Star Wars. And while that's certainly an interesting enough revelation, this book is about a lot more than that. It touches on her life just before she got into acting and what ultimately pushed her to take that particular step. And there's also just the experience of getting cast in Star Wars and not knowing they were part of something huge.

The book has a lot of focus on Princess Leia, her relationship with the character and her life since the release of those movies. She also talks about the fans and he relationship she has with them and how things weren't always good. And we also get a peek into her actual journals from that time, and that's a literary experience in itself.

What I Liked: Carrie Fisher has a great flair for comedic writing and her ability to write about her own life in this manner makes for quite the refreshing memoir. Whether she's talking about trivialities of her youth or more serious moments of personal reflection, she's able to turn things around and laugh at herself as needed.

This audio book is particularly great given it's narrated by Carrie Fisher herself. Hearing her talk about her life, joke about her life and talk about her experiences with the fans made for quite the bittersweet experience on many levels. She's always Princess Leia and yet she's her own person and her absence from this world is a pain indeed. And the decision to have her daughter read the prose of her journals was a great idea as well that added another dimension to things.

What Could Have Been Better: In hindsight, it feels like she set about writing this book to tell the Harrison Ford story in particular. I thought it would just be a small part of things but in fact it was more important than that. I can understand why since the prose of her journals from the time sounded like they had a lot to do with him and so framing things with their story was perhaps necessary.

But man, there are a lot of great moments in this book and they didn't necessarily revolve around that instance. And I wish we had more of that like more of her stories with the fans or maybe more stories of her relationship with Star Wars over the years, for example. I'm sure she's covered part of this in her other memoirs and I'll get around to reading them in time.

TL;DR: The Princess Diarist is an interesting look back at Carrier Fisher's life with that greater focus on Star Wars. Having her words immortalized in this audio book add a particular memorable tone to this book and it certainly moves the experience along. Thus the Audible audio book gets 4 crazy anecdotes out of a possible 5.

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