Though many know comedienne Chelsea Handler for her late night hilarity on the Entertainment Network’s “Chelsea Lately,” she has found her niche in memoir writing. Her third book, “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang,” hit the shelves March 9 and has received great praise.
The new book spent the week of March 21 on top of the New York Times Best Seller List as a “Hardcover Nonfiction.” The following week it dropped to second, edged out by “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, but still ahead of big name titles by Karl Rove, Mitt Romney and Mitch Albom.
Because of the popularity Handler’s latest, her first two books, “My Horizontal Life” and “Are You There Vodka, It’s me, Chelsea?” returned to the best-seller list as paperback nonfictions.
“Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang” is a series of essays about various amusing moments in Handler’s life with no apparent theme. The earliest story takes place when Handler was eight-years-old, while the most recent was mere months before the book was finished.
Handler’s parents, who are not strangers to her writing, mean well, but are absentminded, unreliable and less responsible than a young Handler.
However, when Handler mentions her upbringing, it seems as though she exaggerates a bit, as her father put it to her brother Greg in “The Suspect,” “Chelsea has a tendency to confuse the details.” She was rude to her aloof parents, using language that would seem unacceptable to normal guardians.
This aspect doesn’t matter to the book all that much. Sometimes it’s just the possibility of the nine-year-old telling her father that having a Smurf doll is better than a live cat, because, “…what am I going to learn from a cat? How to take a dump in a box then walk back into a room like nothing happened?”
As funny as the interactions with her parents, friends and (now ex-) boyfriend Ted are, she hits her stride when talking about times spent with her siblings. From her annoying sister Sloane to her lackadaisical brother Ray, it seems that hilarity ensues with every meeting of the Handler’s.
She goes on to tell the tale of rowing across a Martha’s Vineyard bay (and subsequently capsizing) to find her brother, who was tripping on mushrooms. She then tries to convince her sister to buy a pony, her boyfriend to buy a dolphin and her friends that another friend, Paul, is actually a woman.
Though many parts of the book could be potentially taken the wrong way, Handler manages to write in a way that is not distasteful. She makes fun of herself much more so than her friends of varying creeds and ethnicities. For example, a stunning visual of Handler laying in a bed full of old food, face swollen from crying due to a weekend of Abigail Breslin movies and “Sex and the City” shows that she doesn’t care too much what anyone thinks of her.
The main goal of the book is to simply be funny and entertaining. Thanks to many other anecdotes spanning her life, Handler goes above and beyond these objectives. Anyone looking for a laugh should definitely consider picking up Handler’s latest book.
Though it can come off as scatterbrained at times and seems to hop around, “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang” is hilarious, immature at times and reflective.
Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected]