PositiveThe Washington PostThis engrossing, gracefully written, occasionally hagiographic book doesn’t just repeat the motto, it illustrates it, recounting numerous tales about how Fisher, who struggled with mental illness and addiction, managed to find the funny in it all — and share that with audiences, both as an actress and a writer ... reads as definitive, drawing on myriad interviews, media analysis, close readings of Fisher’s writing and at least one chat with a Star Wars groupie ... While illuminating how Fisher’s personal trauma catalyzed her wit, Weller shows that the life of this Tinseltown scion touched on major issues of our day ... [Fisher] hobnobbed with so many boldface names that Weller’s book sometimes reads like a parody of a TMZ post ... Weller’s biography seems to still shiver with the pain so many people expressed upon learning of Fisher’s death ... That pain may point not only to love of Star Wars but to the way Fisher’s story affirms our (sometimes) suppressed misgivings about our culture’s deference to fame and commercial entertainment. The emotion also echoes the poignant evidence laid out in this book, bearing witness to Fisher’s strength, compassion, talent and ability to alchemize pain into art.
PositiveThe Washington Post\"... fascinating ... Laurens resourcefully weaves in further details drawn from the writings of historians, art critics, scholars, and authors and artists including Balzac, Zola, Théophile Gautier, Paul Valéry and Vincent van Gogh. This material illuminates Degas’s lifestyle and creative vision and contextualizes \'Little Dancer\' within the artistic and intellectual movements of its time. But Laurens goes further, adding her personal observations and associative, almost poetic interpretations of the material ... Readers who prefer straightforward historical and biographical writing may sigh with exasperation when Laurens turns particularly philosophical, imagining, for example, an inner life for Degas’s Little Dancer ... Still, the book is full of thought-provoking insights and revelations ... Laurens herself arguably displays similar ambition in this book, which acknowledges cruel truths, displays critical virtuosity and stimulates thought with observations that can be both intriguing and unsettling.\