Wishful Drinking

November 26, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST

So what if Carrie Fisher has told us her life story before? In a galaxy far, far away, the woman once wore ?Princess Leia hair muffs. She’s entitled to tell us tales of Hollywood weirdness ?as often as she likes. Besides, each time Fisher weaves her yarns, SoCal Scheherazade-style, the mood changes.

In Wishful Drinking — an on-the-page translation of the one-woman show Fisher has been performing around the country — the mood is distinctly affected by the author’s course of electroshock therapy. We know this because she tells us this. For the first time, she’s openly autobiographical, jolted (as it were) into taking inventory of her celebrity-fishbowl life as a guard against losing memories in her rebooted internal circuitry. And the direct approach suits her like a made-in-Alderaan gold bikini.

She’s still funny as hell, tra-la-la-ing about her life as the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, as a star of Star Wars, as a consummate industry insider, and as a bipolar, recovering addict. She’s funny describing what it was like to see her Princess Leia likeness plastered atop a Pez dispenser; she’s also funny describing what it was like when her boyfriend, the father of her daughter, left her for a man, or when a close friend died in her bed. And that’s not an easy funny to pull off.

Fisher’s voice is freer, now that she’s no longer hiding behind the coy scrim of calling her perky howls of pain ”novels” (as she did with Postcards From the Edge and The Best Awful). Her stories bubble, bounce, ?and careen with an energy as loose as the jauntiness ?in The Best Awful was tight. Get someone to read this rollicking book aloud to you — then trade off and you play Leia — and it’s a cinch to picture the dynamic monologuist on stage, marveling at how she came to be Carrie Fisher, right now, with plenty of memories still safely in storage. B+

Wishful Drinking

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Wishful Drinking

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