Even by Hollywood standards, Carrie Fisher is pretty crazy. She was born a Hollywood princess, and remembers her parents — Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher — as ‘not really people in the traditional sense’. Nor, obviously, was her stepmother Elizabeth Taylor, let alone her friend Michael Jackson.
And nor is she herself, shackled, as she feels, to the image of ‘a stern-looking girl wearing some kind of metal bikini lounging on a giant drooling squid’, as Princess Leia in Star Wars, aged 19, while these days looking, as she sportingly repeats, more like Elton John.
The drink and drugs did not help, particularly the LSD, and nor did analysis or AA; so she has lately volunteered for electroconvulsive therapy, hence Shockaholic (Simon & Schuster, £14.99), a sequel to Wishful Drinking.
ECT is ‘no big deal’ now, apparently — ‘like getting your nails done, if your nails were in your cerebral cortex’ — but it has affected her memory and vocabulary, which is a major drag for a writer. Shockaholic is on the skimpy side, and bulked out with madly captioned illustrations (a photograph of Jackson is explained as ‘President Harry Truman playing golf on the island of Kailua, Hawaii, June 1911’), but Fisher remains determinedly witty and upfront.
There is much scandal; the chapter about her relationship with her father, ‘an extremely charming womanising drug enthusiast’, is hilarious; and she is consistently good on her favourite subject: ‘What all this finally boils down to is me, me, me, me, me!’
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated December 31, 2011Tags: Biography, Book review, Bookends