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Reading Justin Halpern's book brought back memories of my own father's words of wisdom. Although my father (a southern gentleman by birth) was somewhat more prudent in his use of curse words and references to sex, he never hesitated in telling his children (or anyone else for that matter) exactly what was on his mind. I remember when I introduced him to my first really serious girlfriend, a young woman who was more than a foot shorter than myself. He took me aside and said, "What's the matter, didn't they have one in your size?" However, when we later announced our engagement he was the first to congratulate us and brought out the bottle of Cold Duck that he was saving for such an occasion.

When the author was 28 years old he was suddenly dumped by his girlfriend and needed a place to live when he made the decision to move back in with his mother and his then retired father. Working from his new "home" as a writer for Maxim Magazine gave him the time (an awful lot of time according to the author) to see his father through new, adult eyes. The terror that he had felt in his youth due to his father's "bluntness" began to be replaced by admiration for the only person that he had ever known who really spoke his mind without self-censorship. It was only then that he began to see the wisdom in his father's tersely worded observations and began posting them on his Twitter page with the same title as this book.

Because Mr. Halpern Sr. has the gift of being able to "swear with great expertise" I can't quote many of them on Amazon, but here are a few of my favorite PG rated quips:

ON THE DEATH OF OUR FIRST DOG
He was a good dog. Your brother is pretty broken up about it, so go easy on him. He had a nice last moment with Brownie before the vet tossed him in the garbage.

ON MY BLOODY NOSE
What happened? Did somebody punch you in the face?!... The what? The air is dry? Do me a favor and tell people you got punched in the face.

ON THE MEDICINAL EFFECT OF BACON
You worry too much. Eat some bacon... What? No, I got no idea if it'll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon.

ON SHOPPING FOR PRESENTS FOR HIS BIRTHDAY
If it's not bourbon or sweatpants, it's going in the garbage... No, don't get creative. Now is not a creative time. Now is a bourbon and sweatpants time.

ON BEING ONE WITH THE WILDERNESS
I'm not sure you can call that roughing it son... Well, for one, there was a (EXPLETIVE) minivan parked forty feet from your sleeping bags.

ON SILENCE
I just want silence... Jesus, it doesn't mean I don't like you. It just means right now, I like silence more.

If you grew up with a Ward Cleaver type of father (or wish that you did) you may find Mr. Halpern's way of expressing himself to be crude, unfeeling, or even uncaring. Far from it. The author augments the pithy quotes (some recent, other's from his childhood) with brief essays that gives the reader a little more of the back story of this unique father-and-son relationship. Is it ideal? I have learned that, for me at least, the best way to judge someone's parenting is by the adult it produces. Justin Halpern's book reads to me as a love letter to a father that always tells it like it is and who made you who you are.

My father passed away at age 87 in 2008. At his wake (we are Irish after all so alcohol was involved) his former co-workers, friends and family paid tribute to him by telling our own little stories and quotes from a man who could be described as both taciturn and brutally honest. The recollections from my three brothers, my sons and myself included stories and things that my dad said that to the outside observer might have also seemed acerbic or even caustic, but to us it was the way that he showed us that he cared

This book is not for those addicted to a PC idea of what a father should be or for those who are easily offended by real life conversation. But if you, like me, value frank and seemingly brutal honesty (especially from someone who brought you into this world) this book will delight you as much as it has me. I only wish that I could give this to my dad for Father's Day. He would have laughed his (BLEEP) off!
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on May 5, 2010
To echo what others have said this book is hilarious. It's also sweet and touching. Justin's dad is a gruff Vietnam vet, retired research doctor who is honest to a fault. He's someone who knows himself and has the courage and a burning need to speak his mind. He also loves his family to distraction. Justin's dad is Jewish and his mom a quiet, loving Catholic and though their child rearing approaches seem as different as their religions they make a good parenting team.

Here are a few quotes which are NOT the funniest in the book but one's that are relatively lacking in four letter words:

On Getting an Internship at Quentin Tarantino's Production Company:

"That is one ugly son of a `gun'.....Oh, yeah, no congratulations. If you see him, try not to stare at his face if you've eaten anything."

After Justin moves out"

"You just barge in and take whatever you want, whenever you want it. It's like you're the ********* SS I'm living in ******* Nazi Germany...."

At the End of the Day, at Least You a Have a Family:

"So, there you go. Your mother thinks you're handsome. This should be an exciting day for you."

On a hypothesized life of crime:

"You always got us. We're family. We ain't going anywhere. Unless you go on a ******* killing spree or something."

"I would still love you Justy. I would just want to know why you did it," my mom said earnestly.

All these quotes can seem a bit over the top when you read them out of context but they never come across as glib or hate filled.....just honest. Justin was the youngest of three sons and the last chapter of the book is the story of one of Justin's love affairs gone awry and his dad comforting by telling the story of his first wife's life and death. The best thing about this book, besides the humor of course, is the emotional honestly.
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on May 13, 2010
I opened this book last night, and didn't put it down until I read it through. A quick, easy read, this book is gut bustingly funny...and it's not just a bunch of hilarious quotes, it's also a good, heartfelt story with family values and moral components intertwined. The language is very raw, so if you are offended by any or all of the entire curse word dictionary, this book may not be for you.

I found it refreshing that there is someone out there who is all about being completely honest and transparent, and doesn't beat around the bush, especially in society's current state, where everything offends someone somewhere.

Must read.
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on July 6, 2010
I sat in bed one night reading this book aloud to my husband, well tried to, I laughed so much at one point that I couldn't go on, just laid there laughing hysterically! It's not often you get to experience uncontrollable laughter, so when you do you often want to share the experience with others for days to follow. But, unfortunately, this is not the book you can do this with, not without possibly offending others with the colourful language...which in my view makes the story. So I will just say that I enjoyed reading this book from start to finish, enjoyed laughing out loud, and for a long time to come will remember Mr Halpern with the cheekiest of grins.
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VINE VOICEon June 24, 2010
I thought this book was just great. I got to know dad (Sam) very well and at the end of the book just loved him. I recieved this book as a gift and it was a good one. My only gripe is a very small hardcover book at 150 pages (1/2 of which are not filled) does not constitute a book. If the book price was the price of a paperback that would make sense. It took me slightly over an hour to finish and while I throughly enjoyed it, I dont believe 15.95 is a fair price to read a few short stories. I felt that the author was just giving us a hint of his family and there is more to come, which would be great as I wanted to get to know his family better.. But the value just isnt there. If I were you, I would borrow the book, wait until it comes out on paperback or get it from the library.
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on May 11, 2010
I picked this book because it came up as a recommendation and recently someone had mentioned the blog wwhich had inspired this book.

This was a really quick, funny, and touching read. Initially I thought this was just going to be about the outrageous things the author's father spouted, but it became the portrait of a wise. loving dad who seems unable to speak without referencing defecation in some way. When you read the book you really get the idea that the author is learning from his dad, who is admittedly a little rough around the edges, how to be a decent human being. Mr. Halpern doesn't sound like Ward Cleaver, but he values honesty and fair play, and he loves his family, and this is abundantly clear in what a likable person the author seems to be. I think it's also a deft touch that the author lets his fathers words, and the stories surrounding those words, tell the tale without underlining The Point, like some sort of Wonder Years voice over.

Not every word the senior Halpern utters is politically correct, which is part of the humor, and he obviously embarrassed his son on occasion, but this book seems like a loving tribute to a guy who clearly loves his son even while calling him a dummy. (Believe it or not.)The author's father might not be a model parent by the standards of parenting books, but underneath the abrasiveness is the type of parent that raises kids who know they're loved and supported.

I truly laughed out loud at least a dozen times, most of them while waiting to board a plane. I was a little concerned they might think I'd spent too much time at the airport bar, but I was having a hard time holding back the most obvious sign of my enjoyment. The title says it all about the language contained inside though, and much of the humor comes from a quite colorful vocabulary. Remember Ralphie in A Christmas Story saying his father worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay? That!

Please note this is a pretty quick read with the print version being 176 pages as I'm aware this might figure into whether or not a potential reader might find it worth the current cost. I thought this was a great read, but folks on a budget or who have a set price might want to wait.
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on May 12, 2010
I'm sure a most people feel this way, but I think the reason this book is so funny to me is because I can hear all of the quotes coming out of my Dad's mouth as I read them. Justin's story telling method is quick and to the point, which keeps the book all the more engaging and interesting. Typically a book like this would be something you'd read every once in a while... I found myself reading it non-stop and then going back for more when I was done with a "chapter". Great book, perfect light reading, and hopefully not the last we hear from Justin's Dad.
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on May 23, 2010
I loved this book. I heard my old man and my grandpa in some of the quotes. I am happy to see that so far all of the reveiws are 5 stars - I am sure there will be a poor review sooner or later, but you can ignore those.
My dad never used language quite as salty as Justin's dad, but his point was the same. My dad did not say I love you on a regular basis, however, he would show up at your house ready to build a shed, pour a sidewalk, install a patio, or build a deck at 6am ready to roll and wondering what the hell you were doing since you weren't already half done. Which would not have been any good anyway since you would have been doing it wrong. THAT is how a DAD shows love - a Father can only say I love you.
When I get together with friends, my dad always comes up as a topic of conversation. Stories about my dad are always popular and always end in laughter. This is a book full of dad stories and I am happy to say they are every bit as good (and some quite a bit better than) stories I tell about my dad.
If you don't think this book is funny and heartwarming, I truly feel sorry for you - you have missed out in life. Justin's dad is not mean, he just tells it like it is. The truth is rarely pretty, and life is not rated G.
This book is not just random quotes, it has several short, easy to read chapters that tell you a bit about life in the Halpern home and how Dr. Halpern shaped the boys' lives. Each chapter ends with a dozen or so hilarious quotes from Justin's dad.
I bought one for my dad and one for my wife's dad - this is a can't miss Father's Day gift - provided of course, your Father is also a DAD.
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on May 4, 2010
If you like the quotes (and who doesn't???) then you will LOVE this book. There are even more gems from Sam, some of the best yet, plus stories that provide context and touching moments, as well as more hilarity. I seriously couldn't put it down and I will definitely be giving at as a gift all year...
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on May 14, 2010
Hysterical. I tried reading it on the subway and I was laughing so hard I was afraid people were going to think I was crazy (Justin's father is thinking "why do you care what other people think, Weenie?").

Justin is a funny guy and his father is so unbelievably blunt, he is hard to believe. The best part though, was as the book went on, you realized how much of a good guy Sam Halpern is and how much he loved his son and family.

A story of fatherhood from a man's man perspective.
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