My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

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My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

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Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A witty and irreverent look at the life and times of Chelsea Handler, a 20 something gal about town. With the ins and outs of her one night and more than one night encounters, this is a tongue in cheek account of her life over the past few years and is packed with funny anecdotes and moments that will make you cackle in glee.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: January 2007
Publisher: Arrow
ISBN: 978-0099493525

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I think we can all agree that sleeping around is a great way to meet new people. Furthermore, sleeping around with midgets is a great way to meet midgets. The great thing about having sex with a midget is that first you get to have sex with them, and then you can use them as a pillow.

Although not every page is quite as outrageous as this, it does give you a taste of what to expect with this book. Meet Chelsea. She's young, single and a real gal about town. And she has a thing for midgets, but hey.

I think it's important to note that this is not really your typical hooker / slapper book. I've enjoyed quite a few of those recently, from Belle De Jour's Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl to my new favourite, Abby Lee's Girl with a One Track Mind. Those books do have a place in my heart and on my bookshelf, but this is something different. It's more of a memoir that, simply because of the time period in the author's life that it covers, happens to have quite a bit of down and dirty action in it. As "a collection of one night stands" you would expect there to be some saucy details in it, and there definitely are more than a few of these, but the sex isn't overly explicit (partly because beyond a quick reference to anal beads it's pretty much of the vanilla variety), and the book is much more than just description and description of male genitalia. Starting with a moment in her childhood when she came face to face, or rather face to crotch, with her naked father, this book charts her progress through teen years into her current twenties and features some brilliant characters along the way. There's the handsome gynaecologist, Dr Luke who has a beautiful boat with massive sails, and no that's not a euphemism. There's Dumb Dumb, the 28 year old virgin and an unlikely flatmate of Chelsea's who she is determined to get laid, and Shoniqua, another friend, who tries to do the same for our heroine during an unseasonably dry spell. And then there's the men: Carter, the limp biscuit. Peter, with his penchant for Asian women. Lupé, who (shudder) liked to snuggle. Tyrone who sent her reeling into a black-man phase and Jerome who swiftly ended it shortly afterwards. The barnyard phase that saw the rapid progression of blokes named Turtle, Chicken and Rooster. As the staff at The Bookbag said when they sent the book on to me, "enjoy Chelsea... .everyone else seems to have done". This girl gets around!

Chelsea does not come across as shy in any way, despite what she might try to tell you. Nor is she someone who tries to withhold details. She is, after all, the girl who made a point of telling her first grade classmates all about her parents' sex-life upon discovering the, um, ins and outs of it. And yet, unlike some other books in this vein, My Horizontal Life doesn't come across as an "over-share". You almost feel you know the girl, that she's an old friend you've known for years, and is therefore someone with whom you would often discuss such things in a frank and open manner. Skidmarked underwear? No biggie, everyone's been there. Embarrassing parents? Forget about it. You've cut your own fringe and it's gone wrong? Ok, let's do some damage control. The possibility of waxing a phrase into your bikini line? Let's talk wording.

There is little in the way of political correctness in this book, as the blacks, the gays, the religious and the height-challenged all get disapproved of in turn, mainly by her old dad who comes out with some killer lines. This book had me laughing out loud, for what it said but just as much for the way it said it. It's the kind of tale that has you snorting, hooting and cackling, and therefore probably shouldn't be read out in public. It's also an easy read that I flew through, but because it's broken down into different episodes (and by "different episodes", I mainly mean "different men") it's also easy to put down and pick up again later without losing the plot. Even if you're not a fan of vaguely pornographic dialogue you will enjoy this if you like to nosy into other people's lives, and appreciate succinct observations about life in the 21st century. As a guide, I'd liken it to A Certain Age or Save Karyn, and it also reminded me in a good way of the Jennifer Belle novels Going Down and High Maintenance. I like books I can relate to, and characters that react and say exactly what I would in the same situation, and this delivers on both counts. The fact that this is "real" as opposed to fiction just makes it all the more special.

Thank you to the lovely people at Random House for sending this fab book.

You might also appreciate Stripped: The Bare Reality of Lap Dancing by Jennifer Hayashi Danns and Leveque Sandrine.

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Buy My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler at


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Jill said:

Oh, if it's real sex, done by people with skidmarked knickers, then I'd like it. I like real sex. It's just that fictional rubbish I'm not keen on.

Magda said:

I didn't even know there was such a genre as lapper book. I think I would have enjoyed it (the book) when I was closer to Chelsea's age (as I enjoyed the fun, to some extent).

What is her, um, social background?