One of my girlfriends in college once told me that she considered me a good, trusted friend because she actually had pictures of the two of us sober. It was a compliment, one of the strangest I’ve ever gotten, and the weirdest way I’ve ever heard someone categorize their friends. If I knew Chelsea Handler, I’d probably be one of her “sober picture” friends. She’d come to my house on a Sunday morning after some particularly spectacular night of debauchery to regale me with her hysterical stories. She’d borrow one of my t-shirts and those hoochie shorts from Express that I never step outside of my house wearing because her clothes smelled like sex and cigarettes. I’d make her some eggs, and we’d watch Monster Truck Jam with my son.
Chelsea Handler’s My Horizontal Life is a collection of the same stories I imagine she would probably tell me while leaning over my kitchen island drinking PowerAde. The friend who leant me this book described Handler as “the anti-Carrie Bradshaw,” and judging from the one and a quarter “Sex and the City” episodes I’ve been unfortunate to watch, I’d have to agree. Handler isn’t obsessed with fashion nor is she on a quest for The Perfect Man. She doesn’t get together with her BFF’s to giggle and toss out horrible double entendres over neon drinks. Carrie Bradshaw would have never bedded a midget or a teenage cruise ship performer. By her own admission, Handler loves men. She loves sex. She loves to drink. And she has got some hysterically funny stories about those loves of her life.
Beginning in her late teens, Handler chronicles her adventures between the sheets and with the bottle. She has a gift for spinning a yarn worthy of that silent laughter you have during a pee-in-the-pants hysterical fit. Unfortunately, I read this book while in the hospital, so I couldn’t interrupt The Mister’s more serious literary endeavor to share a story about bed-sheet skid marks. I don’t feel that particularly close to any of the nursing staff on North Six and was forced to giggle relentlessly all by my lonesome. The stories aren’t just about her conquests and drunken escapades; her family’s a real bag of mixed nuts and provides little doubt as to where Handler developed her sense of humor. Her friends, from a drug-addled gay man who ruins her sister’s wedding to the virginal roommate she’s dubbed Dumb-Dumb, provide another layer of weirdness to her already wacked-out world.
Handler’s wild, bawdy tales are checked by her self- deprecating honesty. There’s no way Carrie Bradshaw would ever divulge the perils of eating Mexican food before a one-night stand, especially if you meet your temporary paramour at a party lacking in adequate toilet paper. Handler’s background as a stand-up comic shows through; portions of her stories read just like material in from a good show. My Horizontal Life provided me with a riotously funny distraction from the drudgery of hospital life. Next time you find yourself embarking on a boring transcontinental flight or an insufferable family vacation, bring a Chelsea Handler along. I guarantee she’ll whisk you away from it all with a clink of the ice in her vodka and tonic.
This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. You can read more about it, here.
Cannonball Read / AlabamaPink
Books | September 24, 2008 | Comments ()