Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Earlier this week I finished listening to the audiobook Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (2009). Narrated by the author Chelsea Handler herself, it was great to compare the audiobook to Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? All three women are outstanding comedians in their own rights, but Handler is certainly an acquired taste.
I’ve seen Handler’s talk show “Chelsea Lately” a handful of times, so I knew what I was getting into. She is unafraid to discuss the most politically incorrect of situations, from her DUI and night in jail to her obsession with little people. If you’re easily offended, back away from this read. No race or religion escapes her mockery, and if she’s willing to insult her closest friends and family members, you know no topic is safe.
While I didn’t laugh out loud as much as I did during Bossypants, Handler has her hilarious moments. Some of the stories are funnier than others, but since they were narrated chronologically, it was interesting to see her progress from an elementary student lying about being in a movie with Goldie Hawn to win popularity with her classmates into a woman dragged on a Costa Rica vacation by her father who pretends to be her husband to fly first-class.
My only issue with the novel was I wasn’t sure just how autobiographical it was. Even as a child, Handler writes with an adult vocabulary and perspective, so the early scenes weren’t as believable. She gets herself into some crazy situations, including starting a brawl with some high school Latinas, so it’s up to you to determine fact from fiction.
Granted, she has filled in some details in various interviews, so I was already aware of her teenage abortion and her hatred of Angelina Jolie. While she often described herself as poor and unpopular when she was young, clearly that’s not the case now. Ignore the “I’m just like you” mentality that many celebrities like Handler perpetuate, and just enjoy the outrageous anecdotes as semi-fiction.
Again, if you’re uncomfortable reading about a woman who revels in drinking, drugs, and one-night-stands, then this book’s not for you. But if you think Handler’s more entertaining than obnoxious, then you’ll probably get quite a few chuckles from Are You There, Vodka?
Favorite Quote: “I rolled over and picked up Us Weekly magazine off the floor. The cover had a picture of Angelina, Brad, and their little Eskimo son, Maddox. I saw staring at the photo, wondering why this little boy looks so pissed off in every picture. At first I thought he was just pissed about his Mohawk, but then I realized he’s probably furious. Maddox must have thought he hit the jackpot when some A-list celebrity rescued him from third-world Cambodia, only to discover that she was going to shuffle him back and forth to EVERY other third-world country in the universe. He’s probably like, ‘When the f*** are we gonna get to Malibu, b****?”