Carrie Fisher
(Simon and Schuster)
When the singer Eddie Fisher was asked what he learned from his marriage to Debbie Reynolds, he said, "Don't marry Debbie Reynolds." He also reported in his autobiography: "I had fathered two children and adopted two children and rarely saw any of them." He also revealed that he spent thirty-seven years (thirty-seven years!) addicted to methamphetamines. Carrie Fisher, author of Shockaholic, was one of the love children of Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and thirty-seven years of speed.

My friend Tom used to refer to "trouble" books like this as just "Another man with a monkey on his back." In Carrie's case, the monkey on the back includes having Tony and Debbie as father and mother --- with an interlude for step-mother Elizabeth Taylor. When she finally grew up, Carrie ended up palling around with Michael Jackson, starring in "Star Wars," writing four bestselling novels and a "hit film." And she had the singular experience of Ted Kennedy asking her, one night, at a proper dinner in a proper Georgetown Restaurant, "do you think you'll be having sex with Chris at the end of your date?" The Chris in question wasn't just any friendly Kris Kringle hanging about with them ... it was Senator Tom Dodd sitting next to her. (Kennedy also asked her about masturbation, and about dropping acid, and about masturbating at the same time as being stoned on acid. Thus the keen curiosity of one of our leading and most lionized American political figures).

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I'm not so sure about these star gossip volumes. Sex and drugs and fame, as hairy as they are, are, in the long run, hardly the answer to The Big Questions of life. And when Fisher isn't being a star and making lots of money, her big pain evidently has to do with too much drug and far too many vittles.

And --- despite her star-studded background --- we do find a few other minor complaints. "Just when I'd almost resigned myself to living out my remaining years as Betty the fat girl," she turns up on "Jenny Craig's list." But

    Not only do I win the wacky Jenny Craig lottery, I'm also a bipolar recovering addict who woke up next to a dead friend after getting left for a man...

Ah me. The Craig jackpot hits one day; the corpse in the bed with you the next.

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As I am wandering through this littoral, I'm trying to be empathetic, but the question always comes back to how much does Carrie Fisher feel for Carrie Fisher. She can write it but she can also hide it for she is facile. Perhaps too facile.

She wants us to believe that Eddie Fisher was, well, guileless. When her friend Greg overdosed on OxyCotin next to her in bed, he left behind a spirit to haunt the place. Michael Jackson? Compared to feckless fathers and corpses in the sheets, he's no bother. "I could even be perceived as one of Michael's closest friends." This is stated on page 73, text facing a photograph of him apparently immersed in one of her books.

He was, she tells us, probably asexual, and his greatest joy was to be in a "dark, cave-like room, with dark sofas, curtains drawn, an enormous sound system."

    And in the midst of all this was Michael, clad in white pajamas with animals on them. He told us that he had stayed up all night in this room, dancing. That being one of the few things that gave him pleasure. He'd go to this gigantic dark room at his ranch and stay there by himself, dancing to music all night.

Michael Jackson, with his poor abused, banged-up, butchered, burned, bleached, blasted, braised, fried, filleted, fricasseed, frappeéd, flayed, pasted, plasticised, potted, stripped, scalloped, scrofulated, slashed and scrupulously over-doctored face. One must make a few sacrifices for getting notice in the world of American entertainment, no?

They promised us decades ago that the United States would fall from all this festering: too much money, too much drugs and sex, too much rock-and-roll. Not enough caring (the poor, the sick, the old, the wretched). We were supposed to topple over from the fat dumb insensate overgorged grotesque graceless greediness of it all. But when?

It's a cinch that Carrie ain't helping.

It was 1977. "I was living in New York on the Upper West Side. Star Wars had opened recently and I happened to be in it, and my life ... I mean, what can you say after that."

Best, perhaps, nothing: no?

--- Lolita Lark
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