Monday, June 10, 2019

Book Review: Life Will be the Death of Me...and you too


Rating: 5 Stars

I have to say, it kind of confuses me in looking at some of the reviews and ratings on Goodreads. Some people took stars off for the book not being funny enough for them. It makes me wonder if any of them bothered to read the synopsis.

This is easily my favorite book by Handler - and not because I laughed my ass off the entire time reading it. This is not a funny book. This is a book where Chelsea deals with growing up, so to speak, to coming out of her bubble, and seeing that happen is truly impressive. There is humor still, in some of the narrative, but at its heart it is about Chelsea dealing with something she barely mentions, but it is obvious in all her other books that it has impacted her entire life from that moment on: the death of her brother Chet.

 I absolutely love her for so many reasons, but the main one has to do with her honesty. No matter what, I feel like Handler is someone who will always give you the truth. She is honest about her life, her perspective on people and issues impacting our world, her own lack of knowledge on certain topics, and her desire to become more educated on said topics. That is one of the reasons I loved her Netflix talk show so much and was bummed when she ended it.

This book, however, explains why.

Handler discusses her experiences in seeing a therapist, who was once a guest on said show, Dr. Dan Siegel. She works through the trauma and grief over Chet's death, and how it impacted her entire family. The way she writes and speaks about it is so raw and with such emotion and honesty. I was both incredibly impressed with the growth that came out of the sessions, and deeply saddened for her and her family.

While I love Chelsea and admire her, prior to reading this I have to admit that I didn't know if she was someone I would be able to be friends with (you know, that hypothetical game you play where ultimately everyone says they want to best friends with Mindy Kaling because she is hilarious and awesome?) The reason for this is that I also find Chelsea Handler to be kind of intimidating. I mean, I am pretty outspoken and blunt, straight to the point, no fuss. But Handler is on a whole different level and I previously felt like, wow, she would peace-out on me rather quickly. But after reading this book, and getting to see this new side of Handler, I completely take back any previous thoughts about not being BFFs, and have concluded that in fact, yes we would be BFFs after all. It doesn't mean she is any less intimidating, it just means that seeing the vulnerability she puts on display here is truly amazing. It truly humanized her. This is not the same Handler we have seen on her various shows through the years, and being able to look inward, she has come to some really good conclusions about herself, her life, her family, and how to be a better person.

Handler is the first to admit she came completely unhinged after trumplethinskin's election. But that eventually lead her to the point where she began examining her privilege as a white woman in the US and what she has that so many others don't. Handler deals with those topics just as well - politics, her burgeoning activism in the aftermath of the election that stunned all normal, logical, forward-thinking people, and more. Her humor is there, but a bit more restrained, because these are not funny topics. This is the most serious and introspective of all of her work and as I said previously, by far my most favorite.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts comes in one of her therapy sessions, when dealing with empathy and Handler deals with this and how to have empathy for others. It was definitely shocking for her, and something that wasn't easy, but was very eye-opening and relatable. That in itself seems to me to be one of the major turning points for her on this self-discovery trek she has embarked on. 

While most of us will never live the "privileged" life that Chelsea Handler does, readers will still be engaged in the story and connect with it. After all, everyone has lost someone they love, everyone has dealt with the same issues Handler is dealing with in the book, and we can all learn a little from one another.

Excellent read, highly recommended.


  1. I've actually never heard of her. Reading any kind of memoirs can be hit and miss for me...sometimes too much inane childhood stuff puts me off or an entire history of grandparents and great grandparents! That said, I have also read a lot of good political ones over the years and have a lot more of them to read!

    1. Chelsea Handler is a comedienne and has had a couple shows that I watched religiously because she is hilarious and very straight-forward. her most recent show was on Netflix, and she became very politically active during trumplethinskin's campaign. She quit the show after the election and this book is the result of that time period where she was working through a lot of stuff that she discusses here. She is an absolute riot and I highly recommend her other books - she has six altogether. This book is my most favorite of all of them, but if you want one that is straight-up laugh-out-loud funny, start with 'Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea' or 'Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang'. She's a good writer in additional to being funny.

  2. I too have had various uncomfortable reactions to Chelsea Handler. I love your review and you made me want to learn more about her.

    1. I hope you do! I absolutely love her and her honesty. She's the first to admit when she doesn't know something, but she also makes a point to learn about those things. It's one of the reasons I loved her Netflix show so much. This is my most fave of all her books now, but I also really enjoyed 'Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea' and 'Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang'. I think it is probably a good idea to read a mix of her books, to truly see how important and powerful this new one is.


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