Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (2008)

My name is Belinda, and I am an addict. Fortunately for me, my addiction is somewhat benign: I cannot stop reading memoirs about drinking. On this site alone I have reviewed High Sobriety and Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. I also recently read by did not review Drinking: A Love Story (I rated it 3.5 stars). I don't know why this type of story appeals to me more than any other type of memoir but it does! So when I read a review of Last Drink to LA on Desperate Reader, I knew it was time to scratch that itch again. Last Drink to LA wasn't available at any of my libraries but the Carrie Fisher's excellently titled Wishful Drinking was. I have read and very much enjoyed her novels in the past, so I was more than happy to pick this as my substitute.

For those who do not know, Carrie Fisher is the daughter of the divine Debbie Reynolds of Singing in the Rain fame and the not-so-divine Eddie Fisher of the leaving-his-wife-and-family-for-Elizabeth-Taylor fame. In addition to her own unusual Hollywood upbringing, Carrie Fisher became famous in her own right, firstly as an actor and now as a performer and writer. Wishful Drinking is a short book based on a one-woman show she did of the same name. Because of this, the tone is quite casual and chatty - she is addressing you, the reader, directly. It feels like a really personal narrative; like Fisher is telling us a story. And, with the life she has lived, her stories are really something.

Take, for example, the story about how her father and Elizabeth Taylor first hooked up after her husband Mike Todd died in a plane crash:

"Well, naturally, my father flew to Elizabeth's side, gradually making his way slowly to her front. He first dried her eyes with his handkerchief, then he consoled her with flowers, and ultimately consoled her with his penis. Now this made marriage to my mother awkward, so he was gone within the week."

Fisher doesn't hold back - she's honest about her struggles with drugs, marrying a gay man and being bipolar - but she also is able to make what must have been some really tough times engaging and heart-warming. Plus she has had some amazing stuff happen to her - like when Cary Grant rang her up twice to encourage her to stop taking drugs. TWICE! Be still, my heart! (and she smoked pot with Harrison Ford on the set of Star Wars. I knew he was a stoner).

This is quite a slight volume so don't take it on a long-haul flight but if you like Hollywood gossip, definitely take it. Four stars.

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