Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher

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Cannonball Read IV: Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher

By faintingviolet | Book Reviews | August 14, 2012 | Comments ()


If your memory was escaping you, and you were making conscious choices to let it go, what would you record for yourself? What would you choose to remember? This dilemma is what frames the beginning of Carrie Fisher's Shockaholic. For those unaware Ms. Fisher suffers from severe depression linked to a substance abuse problem. In order to deal with both of those issues she has taken what has become the last stop on the therapeutic path - electroconvulsive therapy (that would be the new and improved shock therapy to those in the know). The upside of this therapy for Ms. Fisher is a brain which finally feels that it is working; the downside of the therapy - gaps in memory which can be months long.

I decided to pick this one up based on my love of her stage version of Wishful Drinking in which Ms. Fisher takes the audience through her personal history - the story of how she went from being the baby of stars to a star in her own right to Princess Leia forever. Shockaholic is where Ms. Fisher delves into the events in her life which lead her to ECT, what the after effects of ECT have been for her, and how it all culminated in a relationship with her father at the end of his life.

The good parts of this one include Ms. Fisher's delicious way with words. If you've ever seen her on an interview chat show or one of her stage performances, the book reads the way she speaks. There is also the delicious voyeuristic part of any Hollywood memoir where you feel as though you have been told things that perhaps you shouldn't really know. The bad parts? Mostly that's the choppy, uneven nature of the writing and the constant reminders that the ECT has robbed Ms. Fisher of some of her memories. However the memories which survive make for a fun ride.

For more of faintingviolet's reviews, check out her blog,

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read IV. Read all about it.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Maguita NYC

    Really loved how Carrie Fisher owned up to her mistakes, and did not play victim to the consequences of her decisions. The woman has balls and owns up to every shitty thing she'd done... The ones she remembers anyways.

  • dizzylucy

    I read this a little while ago. It did seem sort of choppy and scattered, but still interesting. I thought the photos of all the tabloid magazine covers of her family were fascinating - more respectful than today's tabs, but still invasive and sad, the way she and her brother were there on the covers with stories about their parents and Liz.

  • Viking

    Her other novels were enjoyable, but I don't think any of the ones I did read were directly autobiographical. They were sort of loosely based. I would like to see her HBO special, can't afford cable. Anyone know where it might be viewable online?

  • BWeaves

    I rented the DVD of "Wishful Drinking." It's a bit chopped up, like bits were cut out of the actual show. I don't know if that's an improvement or not. She didn't really seem to be that into it. It's like she was over it, and just going through the motions. The only bit I enjoyed was when she was doing her family tree to see if her child should or should not date the child of someone else, because they may or may not be related.

  • fribbley

    You have said what I came down to the comments to say.

  • SugarSmak

    It's available on DVD - it's called "Wishful Drinking" - maybe TPTB can post an Amazon link with the affiliate code so any profits can go to the ACS?

  • mswas

    You got it, link added above and here: Wishful Drinking

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