Saturday, July 13, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

When Chelsea Handler needs to get a few things off her chest, she appeals to a higher power—vodka. Seems reasonable, when considering that she discovered her boyfriend was having an affair with a Peekapoo and she had to pretend to be honeymooning with her father in order to upgrade to first class. Welcome to Chelsea’s world—a place where absurdity reigns supreme and a quick wit is the best line of defense.

In this highly entertaining, deliciously skewed collection, Chelsea mines her past for stories about her family, relationships, and career that are at once singular and ridiculous. Whether she’s convincing her third-grade class that she has been chosen to play Goldie Hawn’s daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin, deciding to be more egalitarian by dating a redhead, or looking out for a foulmouthed, rum-swilling little person who looks just like her...only smaller, Chelsea has a knack for getting herself into the most outrageous situations.

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea showcases the candor and irresistible turns of phrase that have made her one of the freshest voices in comedy today...


Okay, so I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I read this one.  I was on a humor kick, and personally, I like Chelsea Handler's sarcastic humor, so I thought I would give it a try.  And I do not regret it.

I had recently read Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres and Bossypants by Tina Fey.  Chelsea Handler's Are You There Vodka, It's Me, Chelsea is equally as funny, with a totally different flavor.

In Are You There Vodka, It's Me, Chelsea, Handler tells a handful of stories from her life starting with a memory from her childhood where she told her classmates that she was going to be in a movie with Goldie Hawn in order to avoid getting in trouble for not doing her homework, to her pre-teen years when she lied about her age to get some babysitting jobs, one of which ended up going horribly wrong when she was hired to watch a sugar-addict who was older than her true age, to many more stories that provide momentary glimpses into Handler's life and make the reader laugh out loud.

If you like Chelsea Handler, you'll love this book.  If you don't like Chelsea's sarcastic humor or are offended by language or sexual references, you might want to stick with something like Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Blue Bottle Club by Penelope J. Stokes


ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

On the eve of the Depression, four adolescent girls confide their dreams on paper and commit them to posterity by storing them in a blue bottle in an attic. Sixty-five years later, a jaded female television reporter finds their girlhood wishes and determines to track the women down. While the plot may sound predictable, the protagonists are not; Stokes offers some of the strongest, most appealing women characters ever to appear in evangelical fiction (which is not a genre famous for its three-dimensional females). The novel has a happy ending, but not in the traditional sense of many evangelical novels written for a female audience: no godly heroes come riding in on white horses to rescue these women from poverty, abandonment and despair. Their stories involve broken dreams and betrayed hearts, but speak to an ultimate victory that is centered in God's unconditional love and their lifelong friendships with other women. (Beliefnet, Aug. 2000) -- From Beliefnet


First of all, I really enjoyed this book and I want to make sure that statement is clear before you read anything else.

That said, there are a lot of grammatical errors in the book.  Not just a few here or there, but a LOT.  Missing punctuation and typos are very distracting to me when I'm reading, but I enjoyed the story so much that once I was into it, I happened to notice those issues less often - not that they were occurring any less often, they just didn't distract me as much from the story.  However, the version I read was the ePub version through my library and my guess (from my own experience) is that many of the errors were due to the conversion of the document to ePub format, not the author's errors.  I still thought this feedback was important for potential readers (and the author/publisher).

About a quarter of the way through the book, I started to have some concerns about the religious theme that was developing and where it was headed.  However, I found that as I read on, it got better (for me).  The religious theme did not seem overly aggressive to one particular viewpoint, which I liked.  I read some negative reviews from people who probably have stronger one-sided religious views than I do.  It is no surprise that the writer of a spiritually themed book cannot please everyone because we all have different opinions when it comes to religion and God.  However, I did not read into the religious theme that much, I just took it for what it was - a lighthearted, spiritually uplifting book.

Overall, the story line hooked me.  I loved the characters, I loved the overall message.  I would recommend this book for any woman who enjoys fiction, stories about friendship and has an interest in things of a spiritual nature.