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Depression: Major Depression & Unipolar Varieties
Suicide
Addictions: Alcohol and Substance Abuse

by Carrie Fisher
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2004
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Oct 19th 2004

The Best Awful

The Best Awful tells the story of a Suzanne Vale's manic episode, during which she runs off to Mexico while high on drugs.  She crashes and returns home to California and is desperately suicidal.  Her personal life is a mess, since her former husband Leland left her for another man.  Her young daughter Honey is worried by her bizarre behavior.  Suzanne reaches out to a number of people for help and of course she eventually stabilizes. 

Fisher's writing style is lively and gives a strong sense of Suzanne's frenetic thinking style.  Suzanne has a strong sense of irony and a dramatic style.  Her heroine, Suzanne is a former celebrity who has become an interviewer of celebrities, so Fisher is writing about a world she knows about.  It is hard to know to what extent the novel is based on Fisher's own life, but it is tempting to speculate.  Given the book has a Hollywood setting, it will be hard for most readers to directly identify with its characters.  Indeed, it is not a work that sheds any profound insight on the nature of mental illness or coping with dysfunctional families, but it is energetic and basically cheerful.

Fisher herself reads the audiobook, and the actress is good at her job.  The story moves along quickly, and listening to Fisher's performance is enjoyable. 

 

© 2004 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.