Evan Handler has a lot on his mind, and, like Harry Goldenblatt, the character he portrayed on Sex and the City, he’s not shy about engaging his audience with quick-witted honesty and strong opinions.
In his new book It’s Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive, Handler chronicles his search for love and happiness in a collection of off-beat and poignant autobiographical essays. He approaches topics such as serial dating, dysfunctional relationships, unexpected depressions and lasting love with a mixture of humor and realism.
“I’m interested in the underside of a story. I tell Hallmark stories in a most ‘unHallmark’ manner. I don’t believe in pumped up sentimentality,” he said.
Handler, who currently appears as talent agent Charlie Runkle on the Showtime series Californication and reprises his role as Harry in this summer's Sex and the City: The Movie, hopes his book will appeal to anyone who’s ever struggled to find his way.
“It’s got a happy ending—a guy who breaks through and finds happiness and freedom from things that haunt him throughout the book," he says. It’s about redemption through love. And it’s an unabashed love letter to my wife.”
Handler and medical researcher Elsa Atti, were married in 2003, and Handler writes about the birth of their daughter, Sofia, in 2007 as a miracle conception. After surviving a supposedly incurable form of leukemia, Handler, 47, wasn’t sure he could have children. He’s been cancer-free since 1998. His 1996 memoir Time on Fire documented his struggle to live and the perils of the healthcare system.
Since then he’s become somewhat of a health-care activist and educator, and he’s becoming more interested in environmental issues.
“I am of the ilk that an SUV driver with an American flag doesn’t a patriot make. I think it should be a requirement, if the technology exists, that people drive cars with good gas mileage.”
So in 2006 Handler bought a red Prius, which he adorned with personalized eco-plates that spell out a contracted form of “living proof” which he hopes will benefit both the environment and passing motorists.
“I just try to live a thoughtful life,” he says. —Katherine Tolford