Review: Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

4 April, 2012 Random Reads, Reviews 4 comments

Review: Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin HalpernSh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
Series: Standalone
Published by It Books on May 4th 2010
Pages: 159
Genres: Adult, Non-Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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."

"Do people your age know how to comb their hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their heads and started fucking."

"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.

Well, that was something I don’t read everyday. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had the ability to make me laugh out loud on one page and cringe on the next. When I first picked up Sh*t My Dad Says, I had no idea it originated from Halpern’s twitter page. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I can see why the twitter page, which compromised of random quotes from Halpern’s dad, would be a hit. It’s just the right amount of comic relief you may need while wasting precious hours of your life scrolling through twitter. It’s sort of like following Yoda, Darth Vader, Snape or my personal favorite, Lord Voldemort, on twitter.

His tweets are mildly offensive, but admit it. You lol’ed, didn’t you? So, in that context the quotes found in Sh*t My Dad Says are funny. But what happens when you put it all in one place? The short answer is simple: It’s not very funny. Okay, wait. Some of the quotes are funny and in the beginning I did laugh quite a bit, but as I got further and further into the book, the novelty wore off. What was once humorous as an occasional tweet, turned into just a very vulgar book.

My biggest issue with Sh*t My Dad Says is that most of the quotes were directed towards Halpern when he was a child. This did not sit right with me at all. Cursing at and shaming children is wrong on so many levels and I failed to see the humor in that. It totally killed the entertainment factor when his dad is directing the F-bomb at his young son left and right. And I was sitting here waiting for an adult to correct this guy, but it didn’t seem like it was anyone’s issue but mine. It was very shocking because if my dad had said half of the things Halpern’s did to me, I would cry a river. I’m not saying his dad didn’t love him or care about him, but wow. I just don’t understand how someone could show so little respect and talk down to a child like that.

So as far as I’m concerned, these quotes would have been better off remaining on twitter and not in a book. Sh*t My Dad Says is the perfect example of the age-old rule: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker, fangirl and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.

4 Responses to “Review: Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern”

  1. Donna @ Bites

    I felt the same way about Denis Leary’s book, Suck On This Year. Why We Suck was epic ad on audio it’s four and a half hours of listening to Denis Leary. I love the man. Like dip him in gold and worship him, love. But Suck On This Year was a compilation of his tweets from that previous year. I’m not sure what else I was expecting but I pretty much buy into anything Leary so, of course, I bought it. Turns out I’d read half of them already because I get his updates on Facebook and the rest were only mildly amusing. At the end of the day I was the asshole that actually paid full jacket price for a 90 page book of tweets, one tweet per page, barely. With pictures. So yeah, I get it. Good idea, shitty execution.
    Donna @ Bites recently posted…Last Call for Booksahol!My Profile

  2. Lexie B.

    I think these things are much more manageable in small doses. The occasional tweet? That’s fine, entertaining, not too overwhelming. But an entire book? To be honest, I don’t think I’d want to read an entire book full of ANYONE’S tweets, no matter how awesome they might be.

    And I was equally shocked at the quotes I’ve seen, and the fact that Halpern was the subject of many of these when he was only a kid. My parents persisted in the belief that “crap” was a swear word till about eighth grade, so the idea of them dropping the F-bomb in normal conversation is mind-boggling. I suppose some people are raised in very different environments than others, but that still seems . . . unnecessarily harsh.
    Lexie B. recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (15)My Profile

    • Stephanie Sinclair

      My parents were the same way! You couldn’t even utter the word “stupid” in our home. That’s pretty much how I role with my kids too. I’d have to be pretty angry to curse at all and I’ve never done that in front of my kids. Though obviously all bets are off when I’m writing a review for a truly awful book! 😉

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