Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Salon - Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Justin Halpern's anecdotal memoir, Shit My Dad Says, is number one on the New York Times Best Seller list today. Did everyone rush out and buy it for their father for Father's Day?

Before reviewing it, this is a warning. If you're offended by the title, you'll be offended by the book, so don't bother picking it up. The title is a perfect indication of Halpern's father's language. If you aren't offended, let me tell you, this is the funniest book I've read in a long time. This one is laugh out loud funny.

In May 2009, Justin Halpern accepted a job with Maxim.com, knowing he could live anywhere. He planned to move it with his girlfriend in San Diego, but she broke up with him. So, at twenty-nine he moved back in with his parents. His mother still worked as a lawyer, but his father had retired from his position in nuclear medicine. And, since Justin worked from home, his father felt free to interrupt him, and talk to him. Halpern found his seventy-three-year-old father's comments so funny that he started a Twitter account called "Shit My Dad Says." When it grew to a million followers, and publishers and TV producers were calling, Justin thought he should tell his dad what he'd been writing. Even his father's reaction to that is funny.

Justin Halpern's father is brutally honest, and Halpern intersperses his dad's one liners between chapters of the memoir as he tells the story of his life with his dad. I just found his father's philosophy quite honest, if a little raw. Here are a couple quick quotes.

"On My First Day of Kindergarten - "You thought it was hard? If kindergarten is busting your ass, I got some bad news for you about the rest of life."

"On Furnishing One's Home - Pick your furniture like you pick a wife; it should make you feel comfortable and look nice, but not so nice that if someone walks past it they want to steal it."

Halpern's book passed the ultimate test for me. My sister called while I was reading it, and I read her passages from it. We were both laughing hysterically, and her husband is getting the book for Father's Day. If I can sell it over the telephone, it works.

It's hard to imagine living with a father as brutally honest as Halpern's, but he survived to write about his dad. Justin Halpern wanted to be a screenwriter. Now, he's cowriting and coproducing a sitcom adaptation of Shit My Dad Says. It's hard to imagine it will be as funny as the book.

Justin Halpern's Twitter account is www.Twitter.com/ShitMyDadSays, and his website is www.ShitMyDadSays.com

Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. HarperCollins, ©2010. ISBN 9780061992704 (hardcover), 158p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

17 comments:

Book Bird Dog said...

Nice choice for Father's Day! My Sunday Salon.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Wow--his dad sounds rough but honest. Sometimes it's better to hear the truth up front.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Book Bird Dog! I hadn't really thought of it for Father's Day. It was my sister's comment that made me realize that.

Lesa said...

Oh, I quoted some of the milder ones, Elizabeth. His dad could be very rough. But, the book was hysterical.

le0pard13 said...

I recently finish the audiobook version of this, Lesa. Narrator Sean Schemmel did a wonderful job with Justin's voice and especially with his father's. Naturally, I fully agree with your and your sister's assessment of the work (and selection for today's post). Thank you for this.

Lesa said...

Wasn't it terrific, Michael? It turned out to be the perfect review for Father's Day. I really need to thank my sister for that. I'd been reading Justin's Tweets. It's even funnier when you really how educated his father is.

bermudaonion said...

I became aware of Justin because my nephew follows him on Twitter. This book sounds hilarious!

Beth Hoffman said...

I've been following Justin on Twitter and bought his book the instant it came out. Oh, I laughed myself sick! It's hilarious and what's interesting is that as rough as some of the language gets, I wasn't offended.

My husband read some passages and laughed so hard he snorted. LOL!

Lesa said...

Kathy,

The book is hilarious. Anyone who follows Justin on Twitter will appreciate the book. (Does your nephew have it yet?)

Lesa said...

I've been waiting for the book at the library, Beth, and it took this long for my name to come up on the list. You're right. Absolutely hilarious. And, I wasn't offended either. Funny, sometimes in movies or books, the language just becomes too much, but, it seemed natural in this one. I'm glad you and your husband liked it. Can't wait to hear my brother-in-law's reaction!

kathy d. said...

It sounds funny but the "wife" thing could put me off a bit. Otherwise, sounds quite funny.

Lesa said...

Oh, that was just one comment,Kathy. Actually, Justin's father is quite respectful of his wife, and is the one who encouraged her, and took care of Justine, while she went back to law school.

Nishant said...

Thank you, Book Bird Dog!
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Josh said...

I've been following him on Twitter for a while now, and just read a few introductory pages on Amazon.Com and had to close my door I was laughing so loud. Can't wait to go buy it.

Lesa said...

Josh,

My cats thought I was crazy since I was laughing so much when I read it. My sister's whole family loved it, too. You're going to really enjoy the book!

Kris said...

I'm not a twitter fan but I follow him on facebook. I just love the things his Dad says...so freaking true. lol! Glad you enjoyed the book!

I watched a clip of the sitcom not too long ago..not sure how I feel about it. I think it could be funny, but not sure they can really pull it up.

Lesa said...

The book was fun, Kris. You're right. I haven't seen a clip of the show, but I'm not sure it will be as funny as his father's comments.