Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall” as Want to Read:
Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  93 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
A wonderful debut, this funny yet sad novel recounts a young man's attempt--as father, husband, and son--to put together the pieces of an ordinary, and at the same time, very puzzling life.
Hardcover, 187 pages
Published May 7th 1996 by Knopf
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 174)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 20, 2013 Melki rated it it was ok

Okay. Let me rephrase that.



I'm either too smart, or not smart enough for this book. (Yeah, I know. It's probably the second one.)

That's what I get for choosing a book solely because it looked like a fast read and I'm sick to death of goodreads reminding me daily that I'm already behind on my challenge.

Anyway, the book consists of short little snippets - thought balloons from one man's mind. He's married to Tutti and has a little boy. He seems befuddled and passes that uncertainty ont
Edward Rathke
Nov 12, 2012 Edward Rathke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book where I'm not exactly sure what to rate it. In some ways it's a frustrating novel because it lacks cohesion or movement or any sort of progression. Even the sentences are in this sort of stilted repetitious style. But, at the same time, it's interesting and peculiar enough to keep you reading. I finished the whole thing in two sittings and never felt bored or strained at reading it, but it'd be hard for me to really say what it is I read.

Not a novel. Not even intending to be one, de
Jun 28, 2011 Bookbeaver rated it really liked it
It's hard to say what I might think of this book. It's there. I read it. Twice, actually. And thinking about a third time. What it is about this book? There's no plot. There's no building of suspense. There seems to be no reason for it having been written in the first place. It's more like a photograph of book. Or maybe a pencil sketch. Or one of those amazing, 3-D drawings that one guys does on the sidewalk in big cities, where there's a cave or a cavern that someone sitting near it seems to be ...more
May 24, 2010 Tom rated it it was ok
I don't know how or why I picked this up, but I'm glad I did, if only for the handful of vignettes that I thought were really amazing. Unfortunately, a lot of them were offset by scenes that struck me as being not done or not really well considered.

I'm not the right kind of reader for this book, because it's a lot of seemingly disconnected flash fiction-y moments strung together, suggestive of meaning. I'm a cynic. Sometimes when someone hands me a story or a book full of stuff like that, I thi
May 20, 2016 Adam rated it really liked it
Recommended to Adam by: Derek McCormack
Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall is the sound of a wandering mind. It's a floppy disk of stored banalities.

Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall is like reading the sounds of someone remembering, recollecting banal memories, attempting to find meaning and comfort, trying to connect each memory to something meaningful and larger. Sometimes looking out the window at trees becomes transcendent. Sometimes talking about your kid's lost Pogs is just hysterical. Sometimes coming to terms with the fact that th
Josh Luft
Jan 21, 2014 Josh Luft rated it it was amazing
Ken Sparling's fantastically titled Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall is a novel about a modern family man--his feelings, actions, responsibilities--comprised entirely of vignettes. The vignettes, ranging in size from a few pages to a single sentence, are often domestic and mundane scenes. However, by using vignettes, the scenes feel plucked from the protagonist's life, out of context, alien and surreal. This style works perfectly with the narrative, as the protagonist, "Ken Sparling," has a disco ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Petergiaquinta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I find a book on my kitchen table. It is thin and orange and has some kind of pseudo-retro cover art. My son says it is his. He says he checked it out from the university library. He says he likes this kind of book. Outside the kitchen window, I see the bird feeder leaning in the yard.
Inside the book are little slips of paper torn from a bigger piece of paper. They are marking certain pages and sometimes they fall out as I read this book. I wonder what these pieces of paper are marking as each
Tyrannosaurus regina
This isn't the sort of book you're supposed to be ambivalent about. This is the sort of book that you're supposed to love or hate. I love the idea of it, the shape of it, but the language just didn't speak to me. I wanted it to be beautiful or true or punch-my-gut familiar-I wanted it to resonate-but it only ever got close, sometimes.
Mar 16, 2016 Tiffany rated it really liked it
This book isn't for everyone. It moves in clips and broken pieces that thread together haphazardly but in a beautiful way. Some of the clips are just heartbreakingly beautiful, some made me laugh, others I had to reread because they were so profound. Because of the repetition of certain sentence elements or words, because of the switching between 1st and 3rd person (there is even some second person in there), a lot of readers will be thinking "wtf?". I'd urge those readers to stick it out. There ...more
Nov 25, 2012 Gabriel added it
Shelves: 2012
Eventually, she said, you'll have to leave. You'll have to leave, and I'll have to leave. We'll both have to leave.

But as we leave, she said, we'll both be leaving. You'll be leaving and I'll be leaving. But, she said, we won't, each of us, be leaving the other. It won't be an exponential kind of leaving, where the one leaves the other and the other leaves the one, and there's a leaving of one from the other and the other from the one. It will be more a concurrent kind of leaving of everybody fr
Jason Lee
Jun 23, 2013 Jason Lee rated it it was amazing
I read somewhere somebody called this book an anti-novel. I definitely agree that it is anti the typical novel story structure. I also like how Sparling himself describes the book as being like a beautiful tree. People would never ask, "what is the tree about? What's the rising action?" They would just enjoy the tree for being what it is: a beautiful tree.
Dad Says... is a beautiful book. It reflects on a life in the tiny fragments of memory that one accumulates over time. Memories of childhood,
Mar 20, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a lot of folks who've commented on this book (what can rightly be referred to as a cult classic / and impossible to read without feeling the influence it has had on dozens of writers of the alt and indie set) this book is hard to comment on in very many concrete terms. I can say for my taste, this was perfect. I WISH more of the contemporary folks were as thoughtful with their slice-of-life fragments of narrative. Hard to read without appreciating the odd and often deadpan humor of the work ...more
Jul 20, 2016 Garret rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-person
if you like things that make you feel sad but can't explain why, read this book
Nov 21, 2012 Heather rated it liked it
It took a bit to get used to. I'm not used to reading paragraphs of random thoughts that don't really connect to each other, and don't really make a story. I found it easier to read if I read it as poetry, which in a way it was--where each paragraph was its own separate entity, only sometimes kind of relating to another poem/paragraph/entity in another part of the book.
Aug 15, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: didnt-finish
Enjoyed this, but had to return it to the library before I got all the way through. May come back to it at some point. Don't have any specific thoughts right now.
Apr 23, 2009 Peter rated it it was amazing
I am currently rereading this. I think I liked it the first time.
Mar 05, 2008 Golda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian-authors
He's my guru, basically. Forever in debt.
from publisher
Joe Friend
Joe Friend rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2016
Zach Zane
Zach Zane marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2016
Wesley marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2016
Gunnar rated it it was amazing
Jul 21, 2016
Barry marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2016
Allison marked it as to-read
May 14, 2016
Jennie marked it as to-read
May 13, 2016
DaisySteiner marked it as to-read
Mar 10, 2016
Aurora marked it as to-read
Mar 10, 2016
Jeffrey Jenkins
Jeffrey Jenkins marked it as to-read
Mar 03, 2016
dimwig marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book