Monday, January 17, 2011

Justin Halpern writes about a Dad with a Mouth

I was getting over a cold last week, and I decided to look for a comic novel. Well, I found one all right. Sometimes I was laughing so hard I thought I might choke. It’s probably not for everyone, but it’s certainly for anyone who’s had a father.

Sh*t My Dad Says

This novel/memoir is truly a delight. Sh*t My Dad Says (176 pages, It Books, $14.99) chronicles the brutal honesty and ruthless straight speaking of the author’s Dad. His sayings line up like soldiers at the beginning of every chapter. They are hilarious in the abstract, but at times they are even funnier when they are read in context.

I would give examples, but they abound on the internet and elsewhere. Some of them are also reproduced on the sometimes entertaining sit-com $h*t My Dad Says on CBS.

The Dad in question is foul-mouthed, but he also loves his son deeply. He is also in Nuclear Medicine at UCSD; he served in Vietnam; he is an avid basball fan; and he seems like an all-round good guy. His directness is often shocking, but it’s also a breath of fresh air. No one would recommend talking to a child the way this Dad does, but each time Justin quotes his father’s sayings, he is clearly doing so out of awe.

Another thing that comes across clearly is this Dad’s willingness to support his kid and to do everything he can for him. He supports him in every situation, and even when it seems that he has turned on his son, a reader can recognize that he is supporting him in another way. Justin’s attachment to his Dad is profound, and his book is really a measure of his gratitude to this man who allowed him to follow his dreams.

Whether or not you have watched the CBS sitcom, I recommend reading the novel. I promise you that it’s a different experience entirely. What started as a Twitter list of family reminiscences has become a national sensation. I think it’s right that it should.

Justin Halpern

Sh*t My Dad Says is available at Vroman's and Amazon.

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