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Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

Are You There Vodka?

Are You There Vodka?

written and narrated by Chelsea Handler

I listened to Handler’s book on my trip to Minnesota, a nice drive that took way too long and led to some “amusing” exchanges between Avery and I.  The book is pretty funny, overall, and Handler’s storytelling style reminds me a bit of David Sedaris without so much erudition.  A few additional thoughts:

  • I think humor books work very well when read by the author.  Perhaps more so than drama books because humor often depends on timing, something the author will do better than pretty much anyone else.
  • I never watched Women Behaving Badly and have only seen Chelsea Up Late (or whatever it’s called) once.  I picked this up at the library because Entertainment Weekly said it was enjoyable.
  • The nicknames she creates for her family and friends are pretty funny, if a little mean.
  • How come everyone writing memoirs has insane parents?  What if we’re all that nuts, we just don’t have memoirists writing about us?
  • I will probably read her book on one night stands at some point.  The stories about her love life were the funniest of the stories.
  • I felt pretty tense when she got into a rumble with three high school girls who’d called her a name.  Good drama!

I didn’t like her chapter on dwarfs.  She presents it with an ironic twinge as though she was being funny in claiming to have an affection for little people, but it’s like any potentially offensive humor — it must cross the line or it won’t be funny, and when it does so it often stops being funny.  Her approach is to make her own perspective so outrageous that she comes off looking bad.  But it doesn’t work, for me.  The litmus test would be if you substituted some other group of people for dwarfs.  If her chapter had been about black people, for instance, it would have been patently offensive to everyone.  I guess somewhere dwarfs are still on the “funny” list.

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