The Death of Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher

I was saddened by  Carrie Fisher’s death, but not because I thought of her as “iconic Princess Leia.”  All the obituaries say:  ” Carrie Fisher, ‘Star Wars’ Princess Leia, Dies at 60.”  Is that all they’ve got?

I was a fan of her books.

She wrote comic memoirs and light, witty novels.  The heroines of her fiction transcend dysfunctional personal lives with humor as well as rehab.   Her four novels,  Postcards from the Edge (made into a film with Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine), Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, and The Best Awful, a sequel to Postcards (and a bipolar classic), are hugely entertaining. Are theyschick lit?  No,  Suzanne in Postcards and The Best Awful has  addiction problems and bipolar disorder, as did Fisher.

But try to get a copy of her books now she’s dead.  They’re “temporarily out of stock” at Amazon, and there is a long, long waiting list at the library.

So is Fisher finally getting her dues as a writer?

Her new book, The Princess Diarist, capitalizes on her career as Princess Leia, but she has written before about her difficulties in coming to terms with fame at 19.  In her memoir Wishful Drinking, based on a one-woman show, she writes:  “Forty-three years ago, George Lucas ruined my life.  And I mean that in the nicest possible way.”

I’m not into fandom and have no desire to see Star Wars again, but I liked her snappy comebacks to critics who attacked her physical appearance at  58 as General Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  A New York Post critic said, “No one would know the name Carrie Fisher if it weren’t for her ability to leverage her looks.” He disapproved of her complaints about being asked to lose weight for the role.

She tweeted back,

Ok, I quit acting. NOW,can I not like being judged for my looks?Tell me what to do & who to be, oh wise New York post columnist.u GENIUS

Carrie Fisher and Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally"

Carrie Fisher and Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”

I liked her as Meg Ryan’s friend in When Harry Met Sally.  Last time I watched it, I wondered what it would have been like  if smart, less pretty Fisher had played Sally instead of blond, cute Meg Ryan.  I enjoy rom/coms, but I just can’t relate to Meg.

And I have just read that Carrie Fisher’s mother Debbie Reynolds died today.  Tragic.

9 thoughts on “The Death of Carrie Fisher

  1. I did not know she was a writer: I’ve now read 5 articles (none long as all were in daily newspapers) which have informed me she’s a sort of Dorothy Parker I had almost said manque, except that unlike Parker she really acted out Carolyn Heilbrun’s feminist advice to tell. Fisher didn’t tell the harder things (like Ferrante) but she told of herself personally and that is so courageous.

    I thought of her as a Star Wars icon now grown old. I remember Debbie Fisher as the skillful maneuverer and manipulator of Eddie Fisher’s ruthless betrayal of her. Now I see they were a ambivalent loving mother-and-daughter. I am so touched by Reynolds’ heartbreak. I’m going over to Bookfinder to see if I can get myself and read a copy of Postcards from the Edge.

    I’m having to revise other views. I just finished a great great historical novel, Volcano Lover, and I now see that showing a character after death as talking to us from the perspective of what happened later is a brilliant stroke. I’m seeing some of the fantasy conventions permit needed instruments for creating truths.

    Both my daughters are grieving for Fisher’s death the way I did for Jenny Diski. The older one did read the books and found a companion in them the way I do a fellow-soul in Jenny Diski’s books.

    The loneliness is very hard in the fourth year of widowhood, Kathy, and women who reach out are needed. Fisher was part of this phony fascistic sexist media; that’s where she took her rise so what she was trying to do is distorted nor was she permitted wholly to do it, especially where the most popular readership and viewership still go.

    • Yes, Carrie Fisher was multi-talented, and she apparently was a mental health activist as well. Fascinating that so many generations are grieving Princess Leia. I did not think of that as her GREATEST accomplishment, but tshe WAS the first feminist princess I saw in movies.
      Sorry the widowhood continues to be so hard, but I know there’s a gaping hole. Nothing can replace that closeness, though I am amazed by your book, conferences, and travels, and think you are coping well.

    • So many generations grieving for Fisher! I forget that she was so inspirational to young fans of Star Wars. Yes, we have lost a lot of people this year.

  2. Fisher did a LOT of good for bi-polar people in terms of describing the condition in ways that might not threaten or alienate others. I loved the way she demonstrated that one can live through trauma and grief while maintaining a sense of humor and also that getting ECT is simply akin to getting your nails done—in your cerebral cortex. Her style of flippancy about “mental illness” did a bit to de-stigmatize some of the “issues”. Inevitably some will disagree with me, but I think her voice helped many. Thank you for writing about her.

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