It’s Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive

Evan Handler, Author . Riverhead $24.95 (223p) ISBN 978-1-59448-995-2

Handler, Sex and the City star (Charlotte’s bald, tubby husband) and author of the cancer-survival memoir Time on Fire , struggles to grow up in this collection of autobiographical essays. Handler has issues to rehash, including his bitterness over the years lost to illness, complaints about medical care he received, showbiz wrangles and, above all, his testy relationships with women. This last topic provokes both showy self-reproach and sly self-exculpation; “[m]y progress toward maturity might have been lethargic,” he allows, “but it’s inaccurate to state... that anything was 'my fault.’ ” Not the breakup with uncommunicative fiancée Patricia; or the rift with Abbey Leigh, a sexual dynamo given to screaming rages; or the jealous fit his future wife, Elisa, threw when he innocently mentioned another woman’s breasts. Handler has funny stories to tell (one mega-agent suggested he package his bout with leukemia as an amusement park ride) and desultory thoughts to dispense (“Do I think there’s a God? I don’t know”). Unfortunately, his egotism often robs him of perspective, as when he jumbles together Elisa’s abortion with his small-claims lawsuit over a botched floor refinishing. As Handler parades, bemoans—and excuses—his erstwhile callow self-involvement, his confessional drips with it. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
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