Review: My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands
My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know exactly how I should describe this book. If you are familiar with the style of comedy that Chelsea performs, then you are pretty well prepared for what you would find in the book. Her abrasive, irreverent, charming style flows in each of the essays of the book. Each essay gives people a better understanding of Chelsea’s views on sexuality, relationships, and alcohol, as well as the support system that she’s had in her life.

There are essays that are more disturbing than others. For example, in the very first essay, Chelsea describes walking in on her parents while they were having sex, taking a picture of them, then hiding in the basement because her father wants to punish her by hitting her. He doesn’t get to do so that night,of the but, after charming her into letting him take her to school, he hits her that morning and takes her to school with a busted lip. Some might find this to be acceptable, but I felt like it was a bit abhorrent behavior. Of course, it wasn’t as bad as when he made lascivious comments about Chelsea’s body later in the book and how attractive he found her. He also made other comments in other essays where he comes off as homophobic and racist, including trying to call the police on one of Chelsea’s boyfriends because he thinks he must have stolen a car (one that rightfully belonged to the boyfriend) because of the color of his skin.

Chelsea also has moments where she acts quite ignorant, and those were times when I almost put down the book. She is extremely judgmental, moreso than I ever expected. She makes slurs often, and is not above belittling those who try to be nice to her. She makes fun of her sexually inexperienced roommate for being a virgin, which is just as bad as when others mock her for her experience and comfort with being sexual. She is quick to play to stereotypes, including ones that are degrading to her own life, heritage, and background. Because of this self-deprecating style, she ends up coming off as someone who may have more issues with her self-esteem than you’d expect,

Potential readers need to know that the book, though marketed as being about her one-night stands, is more about Chelsea’s friendships, family members, and longer-term relationships. She has more relationships in the book than she does one-night stands. People also need to be of the aware that her schtick about needing vodka or booze of any kind is also present throughout the book. I doubt of the anyone would be surprised by that, but just in case you are, you can’t say that you weren’t warned. Chelsea also admits to using a variety of substances and has friends who use illegal drugs, as well.

Other than the substances, the bigotry, and the other acts that I have mentioned, the book comes off as humorous and fun. Chelsea is more awkward than I would have expected. And her experiences explain a lot about her sense of humor. I don’t mean for this to sound like a psychoanalysis of her, but I totally get why she is how she is now. Yeah, that still sounds analytical, doesn’t it? I guess I would say just be careful not to judge this book too quickly based on what you think you know about her.

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About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.