“From the #1 New York Times bestseller author of Sh*t My Dad Says, Justin Halpern, comes a laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching collection of personal stories about relationships with the opposite sex, from a first kiss to getting engaged and all the awkward moments in between. With Sh*t My Dad Says, Halpern brought his brand of talented comedic writing to the world.”
Thoughts: In Sh*t My Dad Says, Justin Halpern shares his experiences growing up with his father, someone who has very strong opinions about everything and is not afraid to share them. I Suck at Girls is Mr. Halpern’s follow-up memoir that makes the case for his declaration that he does indeed suck at girls, while adding as many of his father’s reactions as possible. Starting from his experiences in kindergarten and progressing through his life up until the point where he is contemplating marriage, Mr. Halpern discusses all of his gaffes, fumblings, and crass behavior that occurred in his meager attempts to get the girl.
As in Sh*t My Dad Says,, Mr. Halpern is not afraid of oversharing; most of the stories he shares involve a little too much information than readers may want to know. Female readers especially should be warned that unless they want to know what exactly goes on in the mind of adolescent (and grown-up) boys, they may want to avoid I Suck at Girls. There are some things that probably should remain a secret, and Mr. Halpern should probably learn that lesson, at least in the minds of female readers. That being said, one can imagine that male readers will love this book, as their experiences may mirror some of Mr. Halpern’s in some way. At least, they will be better able to relate to his stories more than female readers will.
As the narrator, Sean Schemmel fails to impress. His use of a falsetto to indicate female characters is a poor choice, as his falsetto is more condescending than earnest. His male vocalizations are only slightly more effective. He is best when portraying young Justin, complete with cracking voice. In general, it would have been better had he not tried to differentiate between the different characters, regardless of gender, as his performance adds nothing to the stories. I Suck at Girls is the rare book that works better on paper than it does on audio, and this is in large part due to Mr. Schemmel’s poor performance.
In many ways, I Suck at Girls picks up where he left off when describing the stuff his father says. His father still plays a prominent role in the stories Mr. Halpern shares, to great effect, while the stories that do not feature his father’s comments or reactions fall flat or fail to impress. The language is crude at times, and the stories themselves are squirm-inducing for female readers. While there are laugh-out-loud moments, they fail to overshadow the TMI moments, of which there are many, although male readers will find these TMI moments absolutely hilarious. In the end, I Suck at Girls is better left to the men, and female readers will have to rest assured that there are some things about men that women should never know.
Acknowledgments: Thank you to Beth Harper from Harper Audio for my review copy!