Book Review: “Sh*t My Father Says” by Justin Halpern

There are lots of wisdom from the author’s father, Sam Halpern, in this book. The story started out at the present when the author moved back to his parents home where he captured all the nuggets of wise quotes from his father. The quotes started out as innocent, funny twitter one-liners, which eventually evolved into this book. The chapters were organized as themes of their own but chronologically organized from the author’s birth to the present.

The father, Sam Halpern, is a wise man whose cavalier personality and the mastery of foul language makes this book particularly funny and the truth hard hitting.

I enjoyed the story of Sam’s chasing after the noise after the 1am curfew and ended up being full monty in front of his wife’s sister. Another funny story was when the author was crawling under the chairs when his father was giving a speech on Nuclear medicine to the physicians. His father’s belief in religion and afterlife is very clear – non-existent – focus on living, dying is the easy part. How true! The father at one time forced his son to apologize to the entire class of his faking the scientific experiment project, which speaks loudly about the father’s integrity.

My favorite quotes are below:
On getting his son to consume all the energy from the candies, “Don’t come back in until ready to sleep or shit.” On sportmanship, “No, you can’t go getting mad at people because they’re shitty. Life will get mad at them. Don’t worry.” On getting a dog, “.. if someone has shit on their hands, it’s an indicator that maybe the whole responsibility thing isn’t for them.” More funny quotes: “Well, I’ll say it’s never a good sign when a fat kid laughs at you.” “.. it’s disturbing to smell your wife on your thirteen-year-old son.” On LEGOs, “Listen, I don’t want to stifle your creativity, but that thing you built there, it looks like a pile a shit.” On sharing, “ You always have the right to be an asshole – you just shouldn’t use that right very often.” On dealing with bullies, “… It’s not the size of the asshole you worry about, it’s how much shit comes out of it.” On his 8th-grade graduation ceremony, “… why don’t they just throw a fucking party every time you properly wipe your ass?” On accidentally eating dog treats, “… Fuck it, they’re delicious. I will not be shamed by this.” On being intimidated, “Nobody is that important. They eat, shit and screw, just like you….” On his first driving lesson, “… OK, first thing before that first thing; Farting in a car that’s not moving makes you an asshole.” On curfew, “… That’s your curfew: not waking me up.” On democratic system, “ … Yeah, democracy ain’t so fun when it fucks you, huh?” On taking his girlfriend to Las Vegas, “… The only thing you’re old enough to do is rent a hotel and – ah, I gotcha. That’s smart.” On house-sitting, “Call me if something’s on fire, and don’t screw in my bed.” 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.” On today’s hairstyles, “Do people your age know how to comb their fucking hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their head and started fucking.”

The foul language may at times be disturbing but it’s the hard truth that most people would be uncomfortable with. Good to have a dad like that for boys; don’t beat around the bushes just let you have the truths. For girls, this may be a little obtuse. In fact, I’ll bet if Sam has one girl, his demeanor/conversation may not be quite the same. Overall, it’s a nice short book to read on vacation – not too serious and full of life lessons.