A Welcome and a Definition

Culture Vulture: "A person with a strong, sometimes obsessive, interest in the arts." Culture Vultures spend a lot of time observing the world. This is where those observations come out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Princess Leia Tells All

In her memoir Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher writes about the rather sad story of Charles II of Spain. Charles was the last Habsburg King of Spain whose family had spent generations intermarrying in order to maintain the royal line. He was so inbred that his grandmother was also his aunt. Consequentially, Charles was born with several disabilities, including a tongue so large he could not speak or chew. He was severally mentally and physically disabled, and prone to frequent seizures. Carrie likens herself to Charles II, as the daughter, stepdaughter, and wife of celebrities, she is truly the product of Hollywood inbreeding. Or as Carrie tells her daughter Billie when she starts dating Elizabeth Taylor's grandson, "You two are related by scandal."

Such is the tone of Carrie's memoir, which is based on her one woman show of the same name. If you are looking for some deep insight of what life was like growing up the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, then you need to find another book. Carrie doesn't take herself too seriously. The book is very frank and really no one is safe. Besides her famous parents, she talks about the exes: her ex-stepmother Liz Taylor, her ex-stepfather Harry Karl, and even her ex-husbands Paul Simon and Bryan Lourd. She also devotes a chapter to Star Wars (which one of friends cleverly points out should of been the title of the movie about her parents' marriage.)

Carrie's life has taken some surreal turns. She opens the book talking about her best friend for many years, R. Gregory Stevens, a Republican adviser who was openly gay. He died in 2005 after taking a large dose of Oxycontin and falling asleep. In her bed. While Carrie was sleeping next to him. Another example: when Carrie was in the throws of her drug and alcohol addiction, her mother calls a family friend with some experience with drugs issues to counsel her. That family friend was Cary Grant.

I'm an unusual fan of Carrie's; I saw Postcards from the Edge long before I saw Star Wars. She also did this weird interview show where she would do these Barbara Walters-style interviews (but much more frenetic than Barbara) which always engrossed me. Anyway, if you are even mildly curious what Princess Leia has to say, I would recommend picking it up. I'll end with my favorite quote from the book, "If my life wasn't funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable."

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