#readingwednesday: wishful drinking

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So, here’s the thing, guys: when I was six, I was really, really into princesses.

This probably comes as a surprise to approximately no one who knows me in real life. I’m a princess person. We just know this. I own a tiara, and regularly wear it when I’m in a cranky mood.

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THE PRETTIEST PRINCESS.

So around five or six years old, little princess-obsessed Shelly heads downstairs and discovers her father hanging out on the couch, watching old Star Trek reruns on the Sci-Fi network (now known as Sy-Fy, because we can’t have nice things). With my Princess Jasmine Barbie doll in one hand, I ask curiously, “Daddy, are there any princesses in space?”

And like any father determined to raise proper, science-fiction obsessed daughters, he turned off Star Trek and popped Star Wars into the VCR. Princess Leia came onscreen, and a tiny, princess-loving geek was born.

Fast forward twenty-ish years, and there’s a new Star Wars movie in theaters, a new round of press, and an older, still-fantastic General Princess Leia Organa gracing the screen. And like any self-respecting princess-loving geek, Shelly picked up her copy of Wishful Drinking to re-read the book that made her fall in love not with Princess Leia, but with the fantastic, inspirational woman who brought her to life.

Here’s the thing about Carrie Fisher, guys: she is fucking hilarious. The daughter of two Hollywood darlings, she had the kind of upbringing that makes my therapist side cringe even while my writer side raises her eyebrows in intrigued curiosity. Wishful Drinking is part memoir, part essay anthology, and part self-reflective therapy, and it is an absolutely fantastic read.

Carrie Fisher has been plenty outspoken about her battles with drugs, alcohol, and mental illness throughout her life. She’s one of the first actresses to talk directly and unapologetically about the harmful direction she received from male executives in her career, including the infamous instruction to lose ten pounds from her 105-lb frame in order to play Princess Leia, and has cemented herself a spot in the hearts of science fiction-loving feminists everywhere for it.

 

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher makes it clear that she is so much more than the images people reduce her to: Debbie Reynolds’s daughter, Pin-Up Princess Leia, the poster child for dysfunctional Hollywood inbreeding. She’s strong, smart, unapologetically sharp, and absurdly funny. Carrie Fisher isn’t just the princess that six-year-old me pretended to be during playground make-believe. She’s also the ass-kicking, shamelessly witty writer who flips off mental illness, sexists, and nay-sayers to continue getting up, day after day, and conquer the world.

That’s not just a space princess.

That’s a hero.

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Precious cinnamon roll Daisy Ridley on Carrie Fisher, saying what just about all of us are thinking.

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