Read by Carrie Fisher
Published September 2009 by Simon and Schuster
Source: audiobook checked out from my local library
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. 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.
The other day I finished the book I had been listening to and started the next one that I had on loan from the library only to discover that I just could not listen to it. Not that day, not in that frame of mind. I needed something light. I often call the books I read between heavier books “sorbet” books. But what I had in mind this time was something more like chicken broth for the brain – I needed to feel better. I wasn’t sure what that would be – a mystery, something funny, perhaps, gasp!, a romance? I started browsing what was available right now that wasn’t too long. I looked at a lot of options; but I knew this was the one as soon as I found it.
Wishful Drinking is based on Fisher’s show of the same name and I can’t tell you how much I wish, after hearing this, that I had been able to see her perform the show. We already know a lot of what Fisher has to say (who her parents are, how they were broken up, who she married, that she was an addict, etc.). But Fisher tells her life story in the way of any great storyteller: filling in, embellishing, and making even the saddest things funny. No one, with the possible exception of her ex-husband, Paul Simon, is safe from her wit. She says that her mother was horrified when she found out that Fisher had begun cooking for her daughter, insisting that she would send her cook over to take care of the cooking. She mocks her parents’ multiple marriages, George Lucas’ directing, and the famous friends she partied with.
As funny as she is, Fisher is also brutally honest about her addictions and her battle with mental illness. Pretty heavy topics but, again, Fisher finds away to make them funny. She says that it was hard for doctors to diagnose her bipolar disorder because the effects of her drug and alcohol abuse so closely mirrored the symptoms of that disorder. In the end, to battle her depression, Fisher needed electroconvulsive therapy and I’ll be damned if she didn’t find a way to make even that hilarious.
Now I’m sure that this book is funny in print. But if you haven’t read it yet, I cannot recommend highly enough that you listen to it instead of reading it in print. Fisher’s comic timing is impeccable and that last few minutes of the book simply wouldn’t be the same without her reading them. This was just the book I needed!