Are You There, Vodka? Handler’s cocktail for a successful book

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea
Chelsea Handler
Simon Spotlight Entertainment
272 pages
$28.99

Underneath it all, Chelsea Handler is a normal girl like you and me.

In this collection, her new book, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, she reveals stories we can all relate to—from Asian massage therapists believing her to be a lesbian because she demands they use their bare hands instead of a towel to massage her, to dealing with a boyfriend who has affairs with small dogs, and pretending you’re on a honeymoon with your own father in a scheme to score first class treatment.

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea focuses on Handler’s youth and later relationships.

Handler recalls fondly the 1967 banana yellow Yugo jalopy her father would drive her to school in. Of course, this was in 1984.

Her home life and childhood is certainly bizarre. Handler, the youngest of six children, admits her mother told her that she was a mistake. This led Handler’s childhood to be largely unsupervised as her parents were just tired by that point.

This freedom leant to Handler in her childhood worked its way into her adult life as she represents herself as a smarmy, midget-loving, Jewish-princess always looking for money, booze, and a good time.

The collection opens with Handler telling everyone in her elementary school that she is to star in a movie alongside Goldie Hawn, the sequel to Private Benjamin, something that is clearly a lie. Handler’s reflections on her childhood behaviour pave the way to explaining her behaviour in her adulthood.

As for her writing and ability to keep the reader entertained, Handler is right up there with such authors as David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell.

While her style is admittedly much more vulgar than either Sedaris or Vowell, the truth she conveys in her work is on the same level.

From the essays in this collection, you’d assume Handler does nothing but drink, have sex, and act smarmy, she does keep herself busy.

This is Handler’s second book, the first being My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, in which Handler recounts her stories of sexual encounters, both successful and failed.

In addition to writing, Handler has her own late-night TV show on E!, Chelsea Lately, and appears regularly in the online series In The Motherhood with Leah Remini and Jenny McCarthy.

Handler has a sly way of sneaking in her opinions and making jabs at the expense of celebrities throughout her writing—from calling Scientologists crazy, recalling Tom Cruise humiliating himself on Oprah, and referring to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as home wreckers.

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea is short enough for an easy read and entertaining enough not to be annoying. Handler’s sense of humour, while offensive at times (she refers to midgets as nuggets, among other things), is well-delivered.

When it comes down to it, reading Handler’s work makes one feel a little more functional in their own childhood, home life, and relationships at the end of the day, but at the same time, a little jealous.

After all, I’ve never been dumped by a red-headed boyfriend while another man I was dating hid under the bed, nor have I ever been pulled over for drunk driving and sent to jail thanks to a surly passenger only to experience a strip search—or what Handler now refers to as “anal rape.” I guess we all have our dreams.

If simply reading about Handler’s life isn’t enough for you, be sure to catch Handler in the flesh performing her stand-up comedy routine at the Meadowbrook Amphitheatre in Auburn Hills, MI, at 8 p.m. on August 9. Tickets range from $10-$59.50 USD, and are available through http://www.ticketmaster.com.

For more information about Handler and her work, visit her online at http://www.myspace.com/chelseahandler.

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