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This book has been on my to-read list since it came out in 2010. Thing is, I just could NOT see forking over so much money for such a tiny book that I’d read once and probably never pick up again. Of course, I could have picked it up at the library at any time, but I never got around to that previously.
I’ve been in somewhat of a reading slump for a while. I realized it when I kept rating books as 3 stars while writing reviews – I liked what I was reading, but wasn’t loving anything. I decided I needed a quick read that was light and funny to get me back in the groove, so I finally swung by the library and picked up Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern.
Sh*t My Dad Says is Halpern’s memoir of growing up with a father who often said the most craziest of things. The layout of the book is very cool in that the author has split the chapters according to various parts of his life. He then includes seemingly random quotes at the end of each chapter that relate to that part of his life but didn’t necessarily fit in with the story he was trying to tell.
I loved the fact that even though his dad could be very brash and crude, it was obvious how much he loved his son, and his sayings were just his way of expressing that love. It can be hard for fathers to express their love to their sons, but Mr. Halpern did his darnedest, in his own ways.
Justin writes: Even though he wouldn’t admit it, I always knew my dad was happy to see me when I came home. I’d usually head over at night, when he was home from work, and we’d have a nice chat about things that were going on in each other’s lives.
I also loved how PROUD Mr. Halpern was of his son, for all his achievements, both great and small.
Justin explains: So I plugged away, and a couple months later I got a job waiting tables at a place called Crocodile Cafe… It was basically a lower-key T.G.I. Friday’s. Landing the job was a minor victory, but my dad thought otherwise.
“Bullshit, you done good. It’s hard to get a waiter job in L.A. All these fucking actors, they got all the jobs. Your mom and I are proud of you. We’re gonna come up and take you out to celebrate.”
“That’s really not necessary, Dad.”
“Bullshit.” (My dad loves the word bullshit and delivers it with many different inflections. This particular time, his delivery said to me, “This is not something you can argue against.”
And finally, Mr. Halpern did his best to give sage words of advice when he could.
“People are always trying to tell you how they feel. Some of them say it outright, and some of them, they tell you with their actions. And you have to listen. I don’t know what will happen with your lady friend. I think she’s a nice person, and I hope you get what you want. But do me a favor: Listen, and don’t ignore what you hear.”
Oh, and let me just tell you, some of the things he said were FUNNY! It’s no wonder his son decided to start recording some of it! Below are two of my favorites:
On My First School Dance
“Are you wearing perfume? …Son, there ain’t any cologne in this house, only your mother’s perfume. I know that scent, and let me tell you, it’s disturbing to smell your wife on your thirteen-year-old son.”
HAHAHA, Oh my god, I seriously laughed out loud when I read this. It’s a good thing I was alone at the time! I mean, he could have easily stopped with “that’s your mother’s perfume,” but then he went on and I just about died.
On Accidentally Eating Dog Treats
“Snausages? I’ve been eating dog treats? Why the fuck would you put them on the counter where the rest of the food is? Fuck it, they’re delicious. I will not be shamed by this.”
You know those dog treats that look like knock-off vanilla oreo cookies? Yeah, I ate one once.
Okay, I know I did a LOT of quoting the book in this review, something I don’t do often. But the book is about things his dad told him growing up, and I think expressing my favorite parts is the best way to show the awesomeness of this book. I really couldn’t find anything wrong with it.
If you are looking for a quick, funny, and heartwarming read, this is definitely it.
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