The Book Worm: Review: Wishful Drinking

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Review: Wishful Drinking

Book Review: Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher, 4 stars


The bestselling author of Postcards from the Edge comes clean (well, sort of) in her first-ever memoir, adapted from her one-woman Broadway hit show. Fisher reveals what it was really like to grow up a product of “Hollywood in-breeding,” come of age on the set of a little movie called Star Wars, and become a cultural icon and bestselling action figure at the age of nineteen.
Intimate, hilarious, and sobering, Wishful Drinking is Fisher, looking at her life as she best remembers it (what do you expect after electroshock therapy?). It’s an incredible tale: the child of Hollywood royalty—Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher—homewrecked by Elizabeth Taylor, marrying (then divorcing, then dating) Paul Simon, having her likeness merchandized on everything from Princess Leia shampoo to PEZ dispensers, learning the father of her daughter forgot to tell her he was gay, and ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.
Wishful Drinking, the show, has been a runaway success. Entertainment Weekly declared it “drolly hysterical” and the Los Angeles Times called it a “Beverly Hills yard sale of juicy anecdotes.” This is Carrie Fisher at her best—revealing her worst. She tells her true and outrageous story of her bizarre reality with her inimitable wit, unabashed self-deprecation, and buoyant, infectious humor.

Genre: non-ficion

Publication date: December 2008

Mature content: yes

Review: Wishful Drinking is an interesting portrait of a dysfunctional childhood - actually, of a dysfunctional life. It's pretty short and can be read in one sitting. After Carrie Fisher's passing, I put The Princess Diarist on my list of books to read, but somehow I decided to read Wishful Drinking first instead. I grew up fascinated with the first three Star Wars movies, so it was fair to be even a bit curious about her life.

As a mother, though, this book made me sad, because if it is accurate (and we have no reason to doubt it), then there were too many wrong choices to count. I'm not sure if everything bad that happens during childhood should serve as an excuse for making the same mistakes over and over when you are an adult, but it certainly shapes you in some way (in this case, the wrong way) - but then, I wasn't in Carrie's shoes, so I'll reserve judgment.

I liked the sarcastic tone of the book, as if she knows exactly what is wrong with her and is still comfortable bringing it up in public and making fun of it. I guess it takes courage to do so, and I admire her for it. I would have preferred a more mild and toned down language (there are too many necessary f-words around) and in places the book sounds more like gossip than an actual biography, especially when she's throwing around tidbits of other people's lives that probably were better kept unmentioned. 

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sobering portrait of what happens behind all that Hollywood magic and glamour. Actors and actresses are not those perfect people living perfect lives that show up on your screen everyday. Not only are they human, but money and fame don't always go hand to hand with happiness. Or a healthy lifestyle, for that matter.

Happy readings

the book worm, book blog

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