Postcards From the Edge, Carrie Fisher’s highly autobiographical novel, is made up of two parts, despite its table of contents which lists seven.
The first one-third of the book is written in first person and contains the journal of a Hollywood starlet who is a recovering drug abuser. Her journal is very frank and introspective, clever and nicely written. Her character is very well-developed, not surprisingly, since it is probably a mirror image of the author’s own character. It’s a good portrayal of what growing up in show business can do to fragile egos.
The most powerful and important component of the book is the inner monologue of a hardcore cocaine addict who is in denial. It is brilliant and, as the New York Times calls it, “harrowing”. Boy is that the right word. Fisher interlaces the guy’s monologue with the actress’s journal. The contrasts between the two characters are significant and full of meaning. And it would be hard to read the entirety of the guy’s monologue without the comic relief of her journal entries. The guy puts himself through hell, taking copious amounts of drugs, and reading his first-person account is a little taste of hell itself. But people need to understand that reality. School kids, especially, should read that part. Fisher apparently had swallowed some very strong doses of reality herself.
The last two-thirds of the book is in third-person with very little plot or character development. It shows the actress putting her life and acting career back on track after getting out of drug rehab. It has some funny repartee-type dialogue, some witty narration. But it is nothing like the first part of the book, and probably can be skipped altogether. I don’t know why Fisher made the book so disjointed. Seemingly there just wasn’t enough story to fill a whole book.