Sarcastic wit for women, served on the rocks
August 29, 2008
As a preteen, I, like every other American girl, read Judy Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” It was a rite of passage; required reading for every girl about to enter middle school.
The same can pretty much be said of Chelsea Handler’s “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” ” except this rite of passage is for every girl over the age of 21. Or at least those of us with an appreciation for sarcasm, cynicism and a good, strong cocktail.
Written with the same straight-forward, fast-paced, comedic flair as Handler’s “My Horizontal Life” ” hands-down one of the funniest books I’ve ever read ” this collection of stories runs the gamut. From childhood tales (she creates her own babysitting ring) to adult antics (deciding to be more open-minded by dating a redhead), nobody is spared. She writes about her father, with whom she pretends to be honeymooning to get upgraded to first-class; her family members, who think she should market her own line of thongs; her friends, in a classic rant about “regifting”; and her “mini-me,” who, if you’ve ever seen her “Chelsea Lately” show on E!, you can surmise is a midget.
All of this is served up with a chilled vodka with lemon (on the advice of her doctor). The result is an absurdly funny ” and at times adolescent ” look at life. The perfect transition from Blume’s book about adolescence to life as an adult.
And yes, there are moments in “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” that are serious. Well, not serious in how they are presented ” Handler is, after all, a comedienne, and she can’t seem to write a word that isn’t funny ” but serious in nature. Family, relationships, finances, weight, substance abuse are all touched upon, lightly, in Handler’s stories. But they’re not dwelled upon, preached about or resolved; they are simply there.
For some readers, this may be a problem. “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” will not solve the world’s (or anyone’s) problems. But for me ” a girl over the age of 21 who enjoys sarcasm, cynicism and a good, strong cocktail ” it’s a collection of witty tales about real life and the perfect antidote to, well, real life.