The B&N Podcast: Chelsea Handler Gets Empathetic


Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

If you’ve read one of Chelsea Handler’s many bestselling books — Are You there Vodka, It’s Me, Chelsea, My Horizontal Life, Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me — or seen her irreverent take on talk show hosting on shows like Chelsea Lately, Netflix’s Chelsea, or on her recent documentary series Chelsea Does — you might think you know what you’re getting with comedian and cultural commentator Chelsea Handler. Boundary-smashing, can-she-say that jokes, and an unapologetic focus on the deflating pretension wherever she finds it. But in her new book Life Will Be the Death of Me…and You Too! Handler shatters expectations again, with a memoir touched off by a sense of emotional crisis that leads to a journey of self-discovery, and a reconsideration of everything she thought she knew about herself and how to live her life. In it, Handler talks openly about the trauma of losing a beloved family member as a child, her long struggles with intimacy, and her newfound commitment to empathy and connecting to the present. And If you’re wondering, the jokes are still there. We spoke with Chelsea Handler the other day by phone, and asked her to talk about what it was like trying to get this journey chronicled on the page. ”

In a haze of vape smoke on a rare windy night in L.A. in the fall of 2016, Chelsea Handler daydreams about what life will be like with a woman in the White House. And then Donald Trump happens. In a torpor of despair, she decides that she’s had enough of the privileged bubble she’s lived in—a bubble within a bubble—and that it’s time to make some changes, both in her personal life and in the world at large.

At home, she embarks on a year of self-sufficiency—learning how to work the remote, how to pick up dog shit, where to find the toaster. She meets her match in an earnest, brainy psychiatrist and enters into therapy, prepared to do the heavy lifting required to look within and make sense of a childhood marked by love and loss and to figure out why people are afraid of her. She becomes politically active—finding her voice as an advocate for change, having difficult conversations, and energizing her base. In the process, she develops a healthy fixation on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, through unflinching self-reflection and psychological excavation, unearths some glittering truths that light up the road ahead.

Thrillingly honest, insightful, and deeply, darkly funny, Chelsea Handler’s memoir keeps readers laughing, even as it inspires us to look within and ask ourselves what really matters in our own lives.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The funny, sad, super-honest, all-true story of Chelsea Handler’s year of self-discovery—featuring a nerdily brilliant psychiatrist, a shaman, four Chow Chows, some well-placed security cameras, various family members (living and departed), friends, assistants, and a lot of edibles.


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Author photo of Chelsea Handler (c) Emily Shur.