Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Image Description: the book-cover of Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Title: Wishful Drinking
Author: Carrie Fisher
Social Media: Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format and Price: Ebook at $13.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Author:
Carrie Frances Fisher (1956 – 2016) was an American actress, screenwriter and novelist, most famous for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy.

About The Book:
In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabres.” Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

General Observations:
~Diverse Books 2017: I’m nominating this book for the “Main character with an Invisable Disability” category. In this memoir, Carrie Fisher talks about her struggles with addiction, which is connected to her adult-diagnosis of Bi-polar. It was comforting to read about Carrie Fisher’s struggles because, in a way, they were familiar and foreign at at the same time. We need more people like Carrie Fisher in the world, more people who are willing and able to talk about their struggles with mental health because the more we talk about our struggles, the more accessible they become, and gradually our collective stories will destroy the stigma of mental health.

~Short and Sweet: The paperback and the ebook version are only 176 pages, I found myself consuming this book rather quickly, which should say something as I’ve been in a reading slump recently and have seriously struggled with motivation to read. I consider Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic to be parts 1 and 2 respectively, they’re both short books (both are 176 pages, which is about the same size as a standard manga volume), and if you liked part 1 but don’t want to continue, that’s okay. But if you want more details on some of the events and experiences that Carrie Fisher brings up in Wishful Drinking, you can continue with Shocaholic, it’s entirely up to you.

~Make ‘Em Laugh: Carrie Fisher had such an amazing sense of humor, I love and truly admire how she could take such pain and misery, and turn it into something worth laughing about.

All in all, it’s a great short read about struggling with mental health and addiction and I think the world can never have too many books like this.

Image Description: an illustrated picture of Carrie Fisher as General Organa (from The Force Awakens) standing on the deck of a space-ship with the cosmos and various planets and galactic-bodies in the background. In the corner of the picture is plain black text that reads
Image Description: an illustrated picture of Carrie Fisher as General Organa (from The Force Awakens) standing on the deck of a space-ship with the cosmos and various planets and galactic-bodies in the background. In the corner of the picture is plain black text that reads “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. Carrie Fisher, 1956 – 2016”.

Available for purchase at: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book

M is for Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School, Vicky Martin and Robert Pritchett

M is for Autism
Title: M is for Autism
Author: The Students of Limpsfield Grange School, Vicky Martin and Robert Pritchett
Social Media: Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Format and Price: E-Book at $15.39
Rating: 3 out of 5

About The Book:
M. That’s what I’d like you to call me please. I’ll tell you why later.

Welcome to M’s world. It’s tipsy-turvy, sweet and sour, and the beast of anxiety lurks outside classrooms ready to pounce. M just wants to be like other teenagers her age who always know what to say and what to do. So why does it feel like she lives on a different plane of existence to everyone else?

Written by the students of Limpsfield Grange, a school for girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder with communication and interaction difficulties, M is for Autism draws on real life experiences to create a heartfelt and humorous novel that captures the highs and lows of being different in a world of normal.

General Observations:

~Size Does Matter: The book is really short, too short, and it only covers one type of narrative. Even though I know that multiple girls collaborated on this book with writing and drawings, it only felt like one girl’s experience. Especially since the Limpsfield Grange School teaches girls within the 11-16 age bracket. That is not to say the book isn’t enjoyable to read, I did enjoy reading this and I feel it addresses a very important topic, however it felt like more of an introduction or a short essay than a novel. However, I would also like to point out that Limpsfield Grange School has also organised to continue publishing more books written by the students.

~Representation Matters: The Limpsfield Grange School is a special needs school that primarily focuses on girls with Autism, it’s the only school like this in the UK (there are no specialized schools like this for girls in Australia). A big problem within the Medical community is the dismissal and refusal of diagnosing of girls, women, femmes and female-perceived people. This book directly tackles this issue and just how stressful and needlessly unhelpful the whole diagnostic process is for the person with Autism and the family as a whole, and this is for people under the age of 18, it’s incredibly hard to receive an adult diagnosis for Autism (there’s apparently only five doctors in the state of Victoria who are even qualified to diagnose Autism in adults). This is a conversation that needs to be happening and happening more often.

~Format and Book Layout: I read the book quickly, suspiciously quick in fact, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of “blank” pages in the book, it turns out that there are hidden pages. I needed to read the book on my desktop and invert the colour scheme (change the background black and the text white) of the book to read the hidden chapters. If this has been done on purpose, that’s brilliant use of symbolism and metaphor (that neurotypical people are only getting half the story), but if it’s not done on purpose, it makes me a little confused (I’m going to assume it was done on purpose).

In conclusion, quick short read on Autism from the perspective of students from The Limpsfield Grange School, so a book about Autism by Autistic people for Autistic people, and I’m looking forward to reading M in the Middle

Links:
~Limpsfield Grange School for Girls – Part 1

~‘Autism is seen as a male thing – but girls just implode emotionally’ by Angela Neustatter

~6 Realities Of Life As The Parent Of An Autistic Child

~6 Things People With Autism Would Like You To Know

~The National Autistic Society: Gender and Autism

~Autism Women’s Network

~Not just a boy thing: how doctors are letting down girls with autism by Amelia Hill

~The Autism Project: Mothers with ASD ask why scientists are missing girls

~I have autism and the lack of authentic autistic voices in books angers me by Sara Barrett

~Diverse characters: Corinne Duyvis on the decline of “issue” books by Corinne Duyvis

~Autism helped me become an internationally published author – here’s how by Corinne Duyvis

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy
Title: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Author: Jenny Lawson
Social Media: Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Picador, Imprint of Pan Macmillan UK
Format and Price: E-Book at $11.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Author:
Known for her sardonic wit and her hysterically skewed outlook on life, Jenny Lawson has made millions of people question their own sanity, as they found themselves admitting that they, too, often wondered why Jesus wasn’t classified as a zombie, or laughed to the point of bladder failure when she accidentally forgot that she mailed herself a cobra. Her blog is award-winning and extremely popular.

About The Book:
In LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.”

“Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you’d never guess because we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, ‘We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.’ Except go back and cross out the word ‘hiding.'”

Jenny’s first book, LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn’t need a bit more of that?

General Observations:

~Late To The Party: Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened are both best-selling books (as well they should be, Jenny Lawson is hilarious and brilliant) but it is difficult to review a book that everybody’s already read and enjoyed. In fact one of my major problems with writing this review is that I think this novel is so perfect there isn’t much that I can say. However, as per usual, I’ve decided to work backwards instead of forwards, so I didn’t figure out the how’s and why’s of Jenny Lawson’s family interest in taxidermy straight away (I’m not the most observant) however Furiously Happy, while it may have a slight connection to Let’s Pretend This Didn’t Happen, can be read as a standalone book and it makes perfect sense, very much the same way of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling can be read separately but are better off being read together.

~Representation Matters: Jenny Lawson isn’t just writing openly and honestly about her struggles with Mental Illness like Depression, Suicide idealization and Anxiety (General and Social), she’s also a person with ADD and Rheumatoid Arthritis (two painful and invisible disabilities). It’s an amazing feeling to read this book and realise that despite the internal and external obstacles that Jenny Lawson faces, Jenny Lawson continues to keep going (though some days are harder than others), she has a successful writing career, she’s been married to a man who clearly loves and adores her and she has a loving and supportive family. The world needs positive examples like this more often. I get the same feeling reading this book that I got from You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day, this is the kind of book I needed in Secondary College whilst dealing with depression, in fact I would recommend anyone and everyone (regardless of whether or not they’ve had a direct or indirect encounter with Mental Illness) to read this book. It explains the problems with Depression so well and so clearly it was almost painful. There were so many relatable “Me too! Me too!” moments through out this book, but my favourite chapters would have to be the chapter where Jenny and Victor travel to Japan and the chapter where she and a girlfriend travel to Australia.

In conclusion, just go read it, it’s brilliant and hilariously funny and I cannot do it justice or give it enough praise.

Links:
~All Fur Coat And RA: Writer, blogger, spoonie with Rheumatoid Arthritis discussing personal experiences and societal attitudes to chronic illness and hidden disability

~5 Realities Of Having The Government Ban Medication You Need By J.F. Sargent and Lauren Ipsum

~5 Things Only Adults With ADHD Will Understand by Karen Ann Kennedy

~Falling through the cracks: one ADHD girl’s story