MY HORIZONTAL LIFE by Chelsea Handler


A Collection of One-Night Stands
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Disjointed, lackluster musings on her promiscuous social life, by directionless if cheerful Handler.

The L.A.–based standup comic here relates the meandering story of her many sexual misadventures. She starts with a not-very-amusing incident: at six years old, she was persuaded by her sister to take a picture of her parents having sex. (Dad was pissed: imagine that.) Moving on to her teenaged adventures at the Jersey shore, Handler invites us to find it hilarious that she picked up a good-looking man, had sex with him immediately, and dated him for months despite the fact that she couldn’t stand talking to him. The joke in the next section is that while her father was a racist, she personally dated a wonderful black man, and it inspired her to want to sleep with many more of them. Next comes what’s supposed to be an entertaining misunderstanding involving her sisters and the fact that Handler did not in fact have sex with the naked midget they found in her hotel room. In one genuinely funny moment, the author was dismayed to find that the handsome stripper she picked up wanted to tell her his real name and discuss the fact that what he really wanted to do was act—it figures that she would get stuck with the guy who wanted a real relationship. There is more: the one-night stand who showed up at the restaurant where she worked and was seated in her section, with his girlfriend (Handler pretends she is her own identical twin and has never seen him before); the friend who plays a practical joke on her by telling Handler’s date that she has a terminal disease and just wants to cuddle; the gay friend invited to be her date for a wedding who terrorized her family.

It might work as standup, but when transferred to the page this shtick is a groaner.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-58234-618-6
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2005


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