Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" by Chelsea Handler

Comedy's latest "it" girl has put out a new book of "essays", and it's supposed to be funny. That's what everyone was telling me, that she was just the coolest thing ever, that it was the funniest book they'd ever read, etc. So when the world demanded that I take a break from my usual reading material and go for something lighter (mostly because the world has become way too depressing in the last few months), I decided I'd find out for myself about this Handler woman and her humor.

Is the book funny? In some places, yes, it's very funny. In others, well, not so much laugh-out-loud funny as mildly humorous. And only if you realize that there is absolutely no way that the information Handler presents in each essay is completely factual. The book seems like it's biographical, and I'm sure some of it is, but if you read it believing that everything in it is true, well, it comes off as kind of sad. It's about a woman who drinks far too much, sleeps with pretty much anything that moves, and has a so-so relationship with her family - not what I would call the stuff of good comedy.

If you read the book with an open mind and take everything as fiction, it can be funny. I'm sure there are small grains of truth throughout, too; who doesn't have parents that drive them insane? Who hasn't had too much to drink and regretted it (and what they might have done) the next morning? Who hasn't expressed an opinion one way or the other regarding their own boobs?

Handler reminds me a bit of David Sedaris; she's got a very warped sense of humor, and it's not going to appeal to the masses. Some will find her funny, others are going to be scratching their heads and saying "WTF?" Reader, you make the call. This bookbabe for one thought it was OK but probably wouldn't go out of her way to find her other book, "My Horizontal Life".

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