In this raucous collection of true-life stories, actress and comedian Chelsea Handler recounts her time spent in the social trenches with that wild, strange, irresistible, and often gratifying beast: the one-night stand.
You’ve either done it or know someone who has: the one-night stand, the familiar outcome of a night spent at a bar, sometimes the sole payoff for your friend’s irritating wedding, or the only relief from a disastrous vacation. Often embarrassing and uncomfortable, occasionally outlandish, but most times just a necessary and irresistible evil, the one-night stand is a social rite as old as sex itself and as common as a bar stool.
Enter Chelsea Handler. Gorgeous, sharp, and anything but shy, Chelsea loves men and lots of them. “My Horizontal Life” chronicles her romp through the different bedrooms of a variety of suitors, a no-holds-barred account of what can happen between a man and a sometimes very intoxicated, outgoing woman during one night of passion. From her short fling with a Vegas stripper to her even shorter dalliance with a well-endowed little person, from her uncomfortable tryst with a cruise ship performer to her misguided rebound with a man who likes to play leather dress-up, Chelsea recalls the highs and lows of her one-night stands with hilarious honesty. Encouraged by her motley collection of friends (aka: her partners in crime) but challenged by her family members (who at times find themselves a surprise part of the encounter), Chelsea hits bottom and bounces back, unafraid to share the gritty details. “My Horizontal Life” is one guilty pleasure you won’t be ashamed to talk about in the morning.
Oh Chelsea, how do I love thee… Seriously, I cannot get enough of Chelsea Handler. She first made it onto my radar when she would make guest appearances on VHI shows such as Best of the and Best Week Ever. Then she got her own show, Chelsea Lately, on E! and it was over for me. I became a devoted fan.
Handler’s written three books, this one being the newest (released this month) and I have read all three. Her first, My Horizontal Life: A History of One Night Stands, killed me. In a good way. The crap she gets herself into is laughable, especially given the fact that she has absolutely NO censor and will tell a good story whether it sheds her in a good light or not.
Handler’s second book was just as funny, although, like this book, it didn’t have the same connecting factor. Both Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang and Are You There Vodka, It’s Me, Chelsea involve stories from Handler’s life, both growing up and as an adult. Undoubtedly, the best “character” in the books, especially in CCBB is Handler’s father, Melvin. Melvin is an over-the-top eccentric and trying to talk sense into him is an impossible effort.
Melvin’s stubborness is especially apparent in the chapter “Dear Asshole”, in which Melvin rents out his dilapidated vacation home to unsuspecting vacationers. After spending a week in what can only be described a hell hole, the renters send Melvin a multiple page letter describing the most awful living conditions one could imagine in a vacation home, such as a broken refrigerator with liquified squid dripping from the freezer. The letter from the renters makes its way between Handler and her siblings, who are all mortified. However, their father sees nothing wrong with the living conditions and believes the renters are just making a stink over nothing. His obstinancy was unbelievable and quite humerous.
If you’ve enjoyed Handler’s previous books, this is one that can’t be missed. Now, if you are new to Handler, I would suggest any of her three books to read. They are all ridiculously funny and entertaining.
In closing, here is a picture of me and two of my sisters at a book signing for Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea. I am the one in the middle. I think my enthusiasm is obvious!
Handler proves the adage that just because one can, doesn't mean one should. This applies to both her role as a writer and a narrator. In this disjointed collection of memories and experiences, even her overenthusiastic voice cannot compensate for the irrelevance and frivolousness that is this book. Her anecdotes cover a range of topics from sex to sibling rivalry to parental humiliation, all showcasing how smart and witty she can be-in hindsight. Whether rambling about how she's freaked out by red-headed men or bemoaning her arrest and short stint in prison, her attempts to be funny fall flat and her valley-girl persona wears quickly on listeners. Her lively voice has the potential to do well with audiobooks, but the overall tone and ecstatic energy she emits only emphasizes the inconsequential prose. Listeners might find themselves asking for Vodka to help reach the end of this production.