An intimate and effusive tribute to Carrie Fisher (1956-2016).
Between traditional biography and commemorative journalism lies a place where facts meet fandom, where both casual observers and devotees alike can bear witness to an extraordinary life. Weller (The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour—and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News, 2014, etc.) could find those coordinates in her sleep. That’s not to say she didn’t work incredibly hard to pull together this endearing collection of stories about the late actor. The author is a seasoned veteran of panoramic storytelling; as a result, her narrative is occasionally almost as difficult to keep up with as Fisher herself. The book begins and ends with the fateful trans-Atlantic flight that signaled her impending death, but in between, readers have more than 300 pages to fall in love with the quirky, brilliant, outrageously witty woman who graced the silver screen as Princess Leia, among other roles. Weller interviewed scores of Fisher’s friends, former lovers, colleagues, and family members to shape a mostly chronological, highly detailed rendering of her life. The author dives deep into her subject’s childhood, films, books, marriages, friendships, and highly publicized battles with addiction and mental illness. The latter two elements provide some of the most poignant moments of the book, as readers get a revealing look at Fisher’s eventual acceptance of—and fierce honesty about—living with drug addiction and bipolar disorder. Occasionally, the dizzying array of quotes and voluminous backstories of Fisher’s friends and family get a bit taxing, and the book is brimming with gossipy tidbits. Regardless, Weller connects the dots in ways that create a vividly hued portrait. There is no monochrome here but rather an expansive look at a woman who lived large, loved deeply, and did a lot to destigmatize mental illness.
Whether you were well-acquainted with Fisher or not, this book will make you miss her.