Wishful Drinking

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“Wishful Drinking”

by Carrie Fisher

(Simon & Schuster, $21)

Actress, screenwriter and best-selling novelist Carrie Fisher has lived a life tailor-made for snarky tabloid headlines. The daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, she learned the price of fame early when her dad split to marry Elizabeth Taylor. Their very public divorce created international headlines. Carrie describes herself as the product of Hollywood inbreeding, explaining that when two celebrities mate, something like her is the result.

In her fascinating new book, Carrie points out that her childhood was spent visiting movie sets and watching films as they were being made. Shortly after her 19th birthday, she was hired by George Lucas to co-star in his blockbuster film “Star Wars.” Her image as Princess Leia was soon being used to hype dozens of products, including shampoo, action figures and even PEZ dispensers.

She married and divorced pop-music icon Paul Simon, a relationship Mike Nichols described as “two flowers, no gardener” — namely, that no one was tending the relationship. Her second marriage, to talent agent Bryan Lourd, ended a year after their daughter was born, when he left Carrie for a man.

Debbie — who lives next door to Carrie — comforted her daughter after the breakup, saying, “You know, dear, we’ve had every sort of man in our family — we’ve had horse thieves and alcoholics and one-man bands — but this is our first homosexual.”

According to Carrie, her biggest challenges were not her failed marriages, but her addictions. As she puts it, religion is the opiate of the masses, and she simply took masses of opiates religiously. If her addiction wasn’t enough to confront, she was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

“Wishful Drinking” is adapted from her one-woman stage show, and like her public performances, it delivers the same knockout punches and unvarnished truths. This is a caustic, humorous and self-deprecating memoir written by one of show business’ most original thinkers.

© 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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