NOVEL

by Carrie Fisher

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On her meds, bipolar cable talk show host Suzanne Vale is slightly odd. Off them, she's straitjacket material. Divorced from Leland Franklin, a film-studio exec who "forgot to tell her he was gay," Suzanne is still struggling with the split three years later. She bemoans her failure as a woman, as a daughter to her actress mom, Doris, and as a mother to Honey, her 6-year-old daughter. To boost her wounded ego, Suzanne racks up a couple of empty Hollywood trysts before making an unwise decision to stop taking her bipolar pills. That sets off a darkly funny episode of "psychotic breakdancing" from Tijuana to an L.A. rehab facility.

This sequel to Fisher's bestselling Postcards from the Edge (also a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine) has its moments. Suzanne's descent into the kaleidoscopic haze of her mental illness is often hilarious, with Fisher's no-holds-barred humor and snappy banter keeping a tired plot afloat. Fans of Hollywood endings are in luck: With its quick, tidy (and semi-lame) resolution, Awful reads like a movie script.

  • Contributors:
  • Sean Daly,
  • Steve Dougherty,
  • Ting Yu,
  • Kyle Smith,
  • Andrea L. Sachs.