Justin Halpern might not be a household name. But most of you have probably heard of the book, canceled TV show starring William Shatner or the Twitter account that started it all: —— My Dad Says.
Halpern's first book was a New York Times bestseller, and the success of his Twitter account, currently with more than 3.1 million followers, has him thanking not only his dad, but also a girl, in his second book, "I Suck at Girls."
Halpern begins by explaining that he and his girlfriend, Amanda, broke up, and he moved in with his parents. That's when he started tweeting the often funny, usually offensive and brutally honest quotes his dad, a doctor, spouted off on a daily basis.
Halpern could have never predicted his success, and he realizes he is one lucky guy. But here's something else about Halpern, the son: He's also funny, and he's good at writing comedy.
"I Suck at Girls" is laugh-out-loud funny — it probably appeals more to men than women, although I found it to be honest, witty, hysterical and only slightly offensive at times. But it wasn't anything I hadn't already known about men — especially young men in high school and their hopes and dreams for their senior prom dates.
If you don't like to read four-letter words, then don't pick up this book. If you aren't familiar with Halpern's dad, he hardly says a thing to his children — whether they are 8 or 28 — without using curse words and sometimes vulgar images involving male anatomy.
I would never recommend this book to my mother; she would hate it. My husband would find it hysterical — not to mention if he pictured Shatner saying all the dad quotes — he's a Trekkie (my husband, not Halpern).
"I Suck at Girls" is not really about Halpern's father this time. It's more about him and his history with girls. But no worries: Dad's words of wisdom are all throughout the second installment.
The book starts with a lunch he had with his dad, where Halpern confides that he has bought an engagement ring for his girlfriend, and he wants to know what his dad thinks. I'm not sure, knowing his dad the way he does, why Halpern picked him to be the one to confide in, but he did.
His dad, after a lot of nonsense, gives his son some good advice and tells him to think about it for a day. Halpern does, and then we are reading a book about his past adventures with girls — from an elementary school crush to high school prom, from a wild trip to Europe to the first awkward date with his soon-to-be fiancee.
Whether you're male or female, you'll probably see yourself and your dating history in the pages of this book. In your life, there were most likely times you felt awkward around the opposite sex or had dates that didn't go the way you expected — so when you are laughing at Halpern, you're also laughing at yourself.
Then throw on top of that his dad — who is unique and blunt but loves his kids and his wife — and a mom whom every kid wishes he had, and the book is a winner. I didn't read Halpern's first book, but reading "I Suck at Girls" makes me want to read it, too.
By the end of the book, readers find out whether or not the author decides to ask Amanda to marry him and whether or not she says yes. It's a cute way to set up a book of essays and connect them in some way other than just a collection of funny stories in one person's life.
Margo L. Dill is the author of "Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg," a middle grade historical fiction novel. She often reviews books as a columnist for "WOW! Women On Writing" e-zine and her blog, "Margo Dill's Read These Books and Use Them" (http://margodill.com/blog/ ). Formerly of East Central Illinois, she lives in St. Louis with her family.