Shockaholic Hardcover – 2011
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Reading a Carrie Fisher book is a wild trip indeed, full of stream of consciousness writing mixed with a strong dose of humor. The result? Revelations and opinions that are totally refreshing compared to so much tepid writing and so-called "confessions" out there.
Fisher can definitely NOT be described as tepid. Given the day and time she could be described as depressed or hyper, a loyal friend or a shopaholic. She fights to keep weight off and recently shed weight with the aid of (as Fisher puts it).." "my unexpected ship...the S.S. Jenny Craig." Yep, she used the Jenny Craig program in spite of the fact that she'd have to reveal her hefty body to the public before taking off the weight. Not an easy task.
But for me it is her unique humor that make her books, including Shockaholic, stand out from the crowd. Who else would write: "One could argue that by having regular ECT treatments, I'm paying two- that's right, two electric bills. One for the house and one for the head."
In between the humor are serious messages. Electroshock therapy may help when other depression treatments fail. Like so many others, Fisher was terrified to try it but it helped her immensely. With so many ashamed to admit that they struggle to remain semi-balanced and functioning, Shockaholic could take away some of the stigma.
Not that the book focuses only on electroshock treatments. Fisher doesn't avoid making fun of herself while sharing her views on a variety of topics. Michael Jackson. Elizabeth Taylor. The details of a wildly surreal conversation with Senator Kennedy. Memories of visiting Michael Jackson's Neverland estate.
In light of recent events (as of the book's publication), I found Fisher's info about Arnie Klein (Jackson's dermatologist) to be particularly intriguing. There is, in fact, a complete chapter on Michael Jackson and his super celebrity status as well as Fisher's experiences with Klein.
You never know what you'll find between the covers of a book written by Carrie Fisher. I always feel inspired as well as entertained by her writing. By her own admission, writing is therapeutic for her....and readers are the lucky recipients of some of that writing.
There's a lot more to this book, though. She dishes on Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, just to mention a few things. I felt I understood a lot of things much better. I also came to a much better understanding of just what a monster celebrity can be, especially when it robs people of their childhoods. Fisher's unflinching look into the world of fame, including her parents, is very enlightening.
And did I mention that she is funny?? She's hilarious! Fisher writes about really horrible issues and still manages to make them funny. She sure calls things as she sees them. Her humor may be off-putting to some readers, but I love her.
Overall, wonderful new memoir by a woman who has battled demons her whole life but has overcome them. A great, entertaining, informative read. I highly recommend it!!
Ms Fisher has her daemons, but she remains articulate and witty with a sharp observational sense. She covers a number of different aspects in this, her shock therapy, Michael Jackson, Liz Taylor and her parents in the main, her style is self-depreciating and humorous and she doesn't hold back. She comes over very well as a warm, caring and aware person whose addiction and depression problems are not hidden and are put into context. You kind of think that time in her company would be a real pleasure (although she has memory problems relating to the on-going shock therapy and she may not remember it!).
So short but entertaining, the insight to Jackson (and his dentist!) was probably the most interesting along with her tale of a dinner with a very famous senator! A combined volume of all her biographical writing would probably be fascinating, but the short chunk approach leaves you wanting more and feeling slightly short-changed.
This book, told in her singular voice, is slight but packed with surprising emotion and feeling. Ranging from such disparate subjects as ECT (or "shock treatment"-hence the title), to Michael Jackson, to her complicated relationship with her father, Shockaholic is a quick, but greatly satisfying, read.
"To have such comedic timing and truth telling is a gift. A survivor's tool as well. Bless her heart. Reading between the lines I'd say Carrie Fisher has even a more profound truth telling book in her that is just calling out to be written, to share and to provide world wide healing."
Carrie takes a further step forward in telling more of the secrets. In continuing to do that, Carrie will find her complete healing. President Garfield said, "The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable."
Meanwhile along with the gut aching laughs Carrie has given me I share being touched by Star Wars in that as an expert witness testifying before a jury in a child death case the state's attorney asked me about Yoda. As Carrie wrote, "If this wasn't funny, it would just be true." Yoda must have been on the jury because they came back with an $11.7 million dollar judgment against the state.
Now in "Shockoholic" Carrie confirms a story I heard through a friend who had a relationship with a guy who swam in those high political circles. He brought his 14 year old daughter to a strategy meeting that included Senator Ted Kennedy. He reported Kennedy talked about his daughter in the same sexual predatory manner as Carrie describes in her book. As a good father that night he simply walked out and left that ugly world of politics for good.
Carrie knows so many secrets, in my opinion, that's what drags her down into depression or maybe there are still memories that she has suppressed. A studied show that out of a 129 women who were terribly assaulted when they were little, that as grown women 38% had totally buried the horrible assaults done to their little souls. Cory Feldman told us as a kid he and the other kids were surrounded by pedophiles in Hollywood.
To be able to tell some ugly truths and thread humor through it so we can hang in with the story is a gift. I hope Carrie keeps writing, keeps exposing the secrets, one more book at a time. Then my guess is she won't need shock treatments anymore. Carrie and others gave me the courage to write about some of the secrets I knew from being the insider, whistle blower on state government.
I hope Carrie knows how much joy she's brought to people lives by her storytelling. I teach a child abuse class. I apparently get good evaluations in the community, people talk. One class I forgot to mention Carrie Fisher and Wishful Drinking; and at the end of class a guy let me know about that, he'd been so looking forward to my Carrie Fisher story. I don't know what I said about Carrie, but it apparently was memorable and brought laughter in the middle of a class where I have to talk about sweet little children being abused.
So Carrie, you go girl.