Further globe-trotting adventures of the scandalous talk show host.
TV host and author Handler (Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me, 2011, etc.) returns with another chronicle of bad behavior, this time focusing on her various fabulous vacations to such exotic destinations as Africa and Switzerland. Her shtick remains intact: an unapologetic stream of calculated outrageousness, including casual near-racism, abuse heaped on friends and family, overindulgence in various intoxicating substances, sexual frankness and scatological misadventure (“Mixing Metamucil with vodka will be successful in helping you go to the bathroom, but your timing should be strategic if staying with a friend. Once you clog someone’s toilet, they have a hard time remembering anything about you other than you clogging their toilet”). The results are fitfully funny, though the author’s grotesque sense of privilege and entitlement begins to grate; though this tone is certainly also part of Handler’s highly polished comic persona, readers not blessed with the TV star’s wealth and coterie of pampering enablers may begin to resent her petty complaints and blithe disregard for consequences. The bulk of the narrative concerns Handler’s safari expedition in Africa, and the author’s observations, when not actively offensive, are amusing. Handler is particularly adept at realizing her characters: Her traveling companions, safari guides and resort staffers emerge vividly drawn, and her ear for distinctive and telling dialogue is well-honed. She is less successful maintaining interest when going on about her dogs, a common pitfall of overly involved pet owners. The highlights of the book are a riotously funny set piece in which our heroine evacuates into her bathing suit while perilously far from appropriate restroom facilities and a reproduced email exchange between Handler and a pathetically delusional suitor. This material is by turns gross, mean and compulsively funny, which sums up the appeal of the book when Handler is on her game.
Fans of Handler’s outrageous persona will find much to enjoy; the unconverted will remain so.