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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Chelsea Chelsea’ needs more bang bang

    Chelsea Handler

    Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

    Hachette Book Group

    Released March 9, 2010

    Score: C+

    She actually went that far. Well, at least in chapter one.

    In her new book “”Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang,”” stand-up comic and host of E!’s “”Chelsea Lately”” Chelsea Handler went where most female comedians have dared not tread.

    The first chapter, titled “”The Feeling,”” chronicles Handler’s childhood masturbation habits. At age eight, Handler began playing with herself, and she’s been obsessed with the act ever since. Handler shamelessly fondled her crotch underneath the kitchen table during family meals, would grind up against the schoolyard swings to stimulate her genitals and skipped out on birthday parties so she could pleasure herself to “”Growing Pains.””   

    Yes, this sort of self-gratification can be taboo, and it’s shocking to even bring attention to it, but it’s a societal reality. Most of all, the topic can be funny in the context of a memoir. Handler definitely knows how to write about female masturbation in a humorous way, even if it may be unattractive to men and a more traditional-minded audience. 

    “”Chelsea Chelsea”” has such a strong start that readers inevitably demand and expect the comedy to thrive throughout the book. Unfortunately, the rest of “”Chelsea Chelsea”” isn’t half as entertaining as “”The Feeling,”” and the humor peaks on page 17, the final page of the chapter. Handler used a smart marketing technique, knowing that prospective customers will be intrigued by chapter one and purchase the book, only to be disappointed later on. Sadly, this chapter should have been in one of Handler’s other works so she wouldn’t have had to waste her time on a third book.

    Even so, several chapters have semi-entertaining elements to them. It’s kind of amusing to read about Handler’s cheapskate father who unrepentantly and publicly seeks to cheat people out of their money. Handler also talks about trying to find a temporary sex partner for her obese friend, Sylvan. Then she has a chapter that lists all the outrageous lies she’s told.

    Unfortunately, most of these stories don’t really deliver, nor do they say much about Handler herself. Handler spends a little too much time talking about her dad’s delusional antics, Sylvan’s poor diet and her friend Sarah’s horrible fiancé. I wanted to hear more about Handler herself, especially having read her other two books, “”My Horizontal Life”” and “”Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,”” both of which explored her unusual drunken experiences and sex life.

    Handler seems to have changed considerably since her first book, “”My Horizontal Life,”” hit bookshelves in 2005. “”My Horizontal Life”” is a collection of her one-night stands and numerous sexual encounters. Though it’s meant to be comical, there’s a visceral undercurrent of loneliness and sadness at the end of the book. Handler asks herself and a friend at one point, “”What guy is going to marry me?”” The book is intended to make people laugh, but it’s tragic in nature because Handler finds herself alone and unsatisfied at age 30.

    Fast forward to “”Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang,”” and we learn that Handler had a live-in boyfriend, Ted, who jokes about her laziness, binge eating and flatulence problems. This is great, I thought. Handler isn’t so lonely anymore.

    However, more information is necessary. How did they meet? When did they start dating? Does Handler, who once prided herself on being kind of a sleaze, feel like this is going to last forever? Call me crazy, but I wanted more insight into her cohabitation. After all, Handler’s new book is much tamer than the last two, so an explanation of her transformation would be helpful. Considering the fact that Handler proudly got around a lot in her teen years and 20s, she fails to provide readers a summary of how, when and why she ultimately transitioned from a single girl to a woman in a serious relationship.

    Regardless of mixed or negative book reviews, Handler will remain successful and entertaining. She reinforces the idea that female comedians and women in general can be vulgar, crude, sexually driven and even disgusting. Call it unladylike, but it’s actually progressive and liberating for females. Hopefully, Handler can continue with her authentic voice and, in turn, produce better material in the future.

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