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It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive Hardcover – May 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594489955
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594489952
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,575,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“In It's Only Temporary, Evan Handler confronts the ambiguities of life backward, forward, and in between. With hilarious honesty he reflects on the realization that we can start over again. It's Only Temporary is a heartfelt book for all of us who are getting younger and older at the same time.”
—Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and The Kitchen God’s Wife

“In a series of wonderful essays, Evan Handler gives himself up to us - warts and all. To our amusement and bemusement we share in his emotional growth as he struggles to mature. I not only laughed along with him but felt that I too had grown a little along the way. Who could ask for more?”
—Lewis Black, comedian, Daily Show correspondent, and author of Nothing's Sacred

“Evan Handler's new book is simply wonderful. He pulls you inside his life, and you come out his very close friend.”
—Neil Simon, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright/screenwriter of Lost In Yonkers, The Odd Couple, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and The Goodbye Girl

“Evan Handler is a man who’s looked into the abyss and laughed. His book, It’s Only Temporary, made me laugh along with him. He covers love, lust, showbiz, triumph, and despair – and he manages to be both funny and inspiring about all of it. It’s an important book that I think can help to spread goodness around the world. Something we desperately need.”
—Lance Armstrong, seven time Tour de France Champion; Founder, The Lance Armstrong Foundation

“Evan Handler is not only a fine actor, he’s a damn good writer. It’s Only Temporary is wise and funny and as righteously indignant as it is endearingly self-effacing. In what may be a literary first, the book actually left me wanting more.”
—Meghan Daum, author of My Misspent Youth and The Quality of Life Report

“Evan Handler's unsparingly honest stories about life, love, and his own shortcomings are hilarious to read and oh, so easy (and fun!) to relate to. By the end you will be left with the surprising but unmistakable feelings of hope and redemption. It’s Only Temporary is truly an inspiration, particularly for anyone who's out there looking for love.”
—Liz Tuccillo, co-author of He’s Just Not That Into You

“Change is good - that’s the credo Evan Handler reinvigorates with the hard won wisdom of this hard luck story. Handler’s prose style is disarmingly funny and smoothly conversational. He writes like a guy who's just happy to be here, and a little pissed off at you if you're not. As he has worked hard to shape himself into a good actor, life has shaped him into a good man. The cover photo is worth the price alone.”
—David Duchovny, actor, director, screenwriter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Evan Handler is an actor, author, screenwriter, and journalist who is probably best known as one of the stars of the HBO television show, and films, "Sex and the City," as well as for his current role as Charlie Runkle, best friend to David Duchovny's Hank Moody, on Showtime's hit comedy "Californication" (Season 5 airing January 2012). Evan's past film and TV credits include leading and featured roles in Ron Howard's film "Ransom," the early '80's box office smash "Taps," Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers," Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and "The West Wing"; the ABC TV movie "The Three Stooges," and the sit-com "It's Like, You Know...," as well as memorable guest appearances on "Lost," "Six Feet Under," "Law and Order," and "Friends".

Prior to his work in film and television Evan played leading roles in seven
Broadway productions - all prior to his thirtieth birthday. Among them were "Six Degrees of Separation"; "I Hate Hamlet"; "Brighton Beach Memoirs"; "Broadway Bound"; and "Master Harold...and the boys". Off-Broadway, Evan appeared in two Donald Margulies world premieres, "Found a Peanut" (NYSF/Public Theater), and "What's Wrong with this Picture?" (Manhattan Theater Club); "SLAM" in EST's Marathon '84; and Jacquelyn Reingold's "String Fever," also at EST.

In addition to his acting appearances, Evan is the author of two books. TIME ON FIRE: MY COMEDY OF TERRORS, is Handler's critically acclaimed debut memoir, detailing his unlikely recovery from leukemia, and his escape from the clutches of those supposedly devoted to its treatment. His most recent book, IT'S ONLY TEMPORARY: THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD NEWS OF BEING ALIVE, describes the years since the illness, and the surprisingly long and complex journey toward long-delayed gratitude. A regular featured contributor to the Huffington Post, more information about Evan and his books is available at

Customer Reviews

Funny...heart warming.
Helen A. Gordon
After reading Time On Fire - one of the most compelling books I've ever read - simply couldn't wait for a sequel.
Jan Ward
Sadly, the book was dull and disjointed.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase gain an understanding of what Evan went through. I wrote an extensive review of his first book on Amazon in 1998, and received a lovely email from Mr. Handler thanking him for my kind words. The review was later deleted (not sure why) but I wrote another short one back in 2000 to make up for it. And here is why: it's a phenomenal story about what it is like to be young and on the cusp of success before it is snatched away from you. Make no mistake - this man should be dead. The survival rates for his type of leukemia in the 1980's were dismal at best. His navigation through treatment and all it's emotions is striking, and made this nurse think twice about how healthcare is delivered.
So what happens when you beat the odds and have to live? You press on. And so he has, and has gained success again in the process - although not nearly what he should have. It should be noted that Evan was on his way to a major acting career when he was young. Matthew Broderick and a host of other young 1980's actors have basically had better careers because he had to drop out of the business for treatment. He should have won his Tony by now...if not his Oscar.
So - the new book. Of course, it's not about his time on Sex and the City. That's only a small portion of what he's been doing since his recovery. So those looking for some insight into that character should read something else. It's about trying to gain self-identity as something other that a patient. Living a life you weren't expecting to have. It's anecdotal (most good writing is) and funny. The story of selling his engagement ring back to Sotheby's made me cry, because beating cancer doesn't preclude you from failed relationships.
As a new mom, I love that he has embraced fatherhood - he's lucky he could have kids after all his treatment. And it was nice to catch up with his progress after all these years. I loved it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Partisan on May 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Evan Handler's IT'S ONLY TEMPORARY picks up where is earlier memoir 'Time on Fire' left off. Where the first volume detailed his battle with lukemia this book tells of his attempts to restart his acting career and personal life once he was cured of the illness. He writes of being cast in the Broadway production of 'Six Degrees of Seperation'and of his abortive attempts to commit to one woman. He writes of his attempt to volunteer at the hospital where he once underwent treatment and how the hospital,recalling what he'd written about them in the earlier book, refused his offer. The book ends with the story of how he met his wife. (At a bookstore appearence he read one of the better chapters; the meeting of his in-laws and the cultural differences between his Northern Italian wife and family and Americans.) These chapters are so good that the book concludes on a wonderful note.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Shyla Casey on June 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read Evan Handler's new book the week it came out (MySpace was abuzz with it's empending release for a while). It was wonderful. I was expecting a self important, "this is me after cancer, pity me!" type of book, but was pleasently surprised. It is full of humorously self depricating, truly hysterical essays that draw you in to the book. They are not presented in a "first this happened and then this happened" progression. Like the author explains in the intro, he wants it to be like getting to know someone, you find out things about them randomly and out of order. My favorite moment in the book was, after describing some truly terrible behavior, Mr Handler reminds the reader that he had had cancer. Sounds odd? You have to read it to fully appreciate why I had to set the book down for a few moments to laugh myself silly. I also had my eyes opened to the fact that Americans have dirty butts. We do, and the authors wife knows this. I haven't been the same since! Mr Handler is a remarkable writer and this book shows off his talents beautifully. I was drawn into his mind and was pleased with what was presented to me there. Honest, raw emotions and dark humor. Each essay brings you further to what I see as his point: Life is not easy, even if you're supposed to appreciate it a little more than others. I firmly suggest anyone read this book. It is like talking to a really good friend you haven't seen in years. Catching up on all you've missed. Being entertained by his self expression. This book is worth the price and then some. Read it!! You'll thank me!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Edit Purple on June 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Time on Fire when a colleague was dying of lymphoma. I found the book extraordinary, and it hit me hard--and the situation, and especially his anger, though frightening, were riveting.. Sadly, this new book is anything but on fire--it's boring as he goes from relationship to relationship. I liked him better when he was angry--he had more interesting things to say. Yet I'm glad he has survived, thrived, and is finally happy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Walker on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Evan Handler's second memoir is heavy, light, illuminating, infuriating, jaded and joyful. Finding his way in the world (again) after surviving an "incurable" cancer that hit him while he was an actor on the rise in his 20s, Handler muddles through relationships with a hard-boiled charm that won me over. It's a fantastic read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Berke on May 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again, Evan Handler shares his heart & soul with us, as he takes us on his personal journey from conquering cancer, to his life today. And, what a journey it is! His honesty, & willingness to share his journey, is extrordinary, but in a very ordinary way. By the end of the book, I truly felt that I had gotten to know him, as I would with any new friend. Anyone who has lived through a life-changing experience of any kind, will be able to relate to the powerful feelings that he expresses with such candor & humor. As a friend of mine says, "everyone has a story" -- but not everyone has the ability to share their story in such a delightful way, & leave you wanting to know more. (And, I always love a happy ending!)
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