Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Book Cover Image: Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin HalpernTitle: Sh*t My Dad Says

Author: Justin Halpern

Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):

“After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair, has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him:

  • That woman was sexy. . . . Out of your league? Son, let women figure out why they won’t screw you. Don’t do it for them.
  • The worst thing you can be is a liar. . . . Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two.

More than a million people now follow Mr. Halpern’s philosophical musings on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming-of-age memoir around the best of his quotes. An all-American story that unfolds on the Little League field, in Denny’s, during excruciating family road trips, and, most frequently, in the Halperns’ kitchen over bowls of Grape-Nuts, Sh*t My Dad Says is a chaotic, hilarious, true portrait of a father-son relationship from a major new comic voice.”

Thoughts: Sh*t My Dad Says is as irreverent, crass and absolutely hilarious as others have said it is. However, Justin Halpern’s dad is not for the weak. He is one tough man in the advice he offers and support he provides his sons. A reader quickly sees why Halpern’s tweets about his dad’s phrases grew to be so popular.

If one can overlook the cursing on the part of the dad and the no-holds-barred approach to story telling that Halpern adopts when sharing vignettes of his own life, there is some great, common sense advice to be gleaned from Justin’s dad. Covering all aspects of life, from respect for self and others, to puberty to the idea of teamwork, Halpern sets aside all political correctness and drives right to the heart of an issue. It is a very refreshing touch of honesty in a world where skirting around or ignoring an issue has become the norm.

Potential readers should be warned that the language is rough, which is to be expected given the title. However, some of the stories Halpern tells are also a bit rough. Justin holds the same mirror up to himself as he does his father and could even be accused of over-sharing with his audience at times. The right reader will be amused; the wrong reader will be offended.

My husband is the one to recommend that I read this particular memoir. Even though he read aloud much of the advice spouted by Halpern’s dad while he was reading it, I could not help but chuckle at some of the stories. The advice shared is told in such a way that it is hilarious but take away the bravado and course language, and one is left with a nugget of advice that is heartfelt and serious. The suggestions are extremely sensible and well-meaning and need to be shared with everyone. For those who are easily offended, consider yourself warned.

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