I had planned on writing about new books for the rest of the week, but I just can't bring myself to do that. This morning, we lost a gifted writer and beloved actress, Carrie Fisher, and I want to talk about some of her books.
The first book of hers I read was her second novel, Surrender the Pink. It was a mass market paperback, yellow with big playful type and a pink heart with arrows that have been shot at it. I was in college, and the world of publishing was opening up for me in a way I'd never expected. I was learning about new authors and what it takes to not just write a novel but to sell a novel. I was looking at the book world in a whole new way, and I just wanted to read everything and drink in all the information I could and swim through all the words and ideas I found.
When I read Surrender the Pink, I was young and ignorant. I couldn't begin to understand the complexity of the relationships that Carrie Fisher had in her life. She was well-educated and emotionally intelligent. I was naive and inexperienced and sheltered. I didn't even realize what the book was really about until much later.
But it didn't matter that it was over my head. All I knew was that I Had To Read That Book. There was something deep inside me that knew that I was supposed to read that book. The one with the yellow cover and the heart and the whimsical title.
And all that experience, all that street-level smart that she had and I lacked, she shared it with me. She opened herself up and put all her feelings and thoughts on display for me and everyone to see. I think that was one of her greatest gifts to us all, her courage. She was a brave lady, whether it was talking about her failed marriage through the thinly-veiled characters of her novel or rescuing the universe from a fascist in a black cape or opening up about her struggles with bipolar disorder and the remedies that rarely worked for her. She was never afraid to put it all on the table and let us see it. She was smart and funny and brash and so, so brave, and we are all better off for having her in our lives.
Oh, the novel? You should read it. It's about a relationship that doesn't end well and learning to let go of the idea of What Love Should Be in order to find a better self. You should read it. You should read it because Carrie Fisher was smart and funny and courageous. You should read it because Carrie Fisher was heart-breakingly honest. You should read it because Carrie Fisher was Carrie Fisher, and we all loved her, and this book was a part of her. Even if it's not her best, it's still all her, and that is more than enough for me.