Sep 02, 10
Read in July, 2010
I was in the mood for light comedy, and Justin Halpern delivered. I’m not saying this is the great American novel (and it is extremely American, in that boisterous and light way), but it gave me quite a few strong chuckles – enough to earn me a few sideways glances at the gym.
Halpern found himself at 28 moving to live with his girlfriend in San Diego, only to be dumped by her the moment he showed up on the doorstep. His only option was to move in with his parents. His mom is sweet; his 74-year-old dad isn’t. The old man is a study in wonderful contradictions. He is completely devoted to his family, but he’s also their harshest critic. He curses like a ship of sailors, but he’s also a nuclear medical expert. He’s full of some of the funniest one-liners – an endless supply of dirty words loaded with vitriol and wisdom.
The man says things like this: “The whole world is fueled by bullsh*t… What? The kid asked me for advice on his science fair project so I’m giving it to him.”
Or : “Nobody is that important. They eat, sh*t, and screw, just like you. Maybe not sh*t like you, you got those stomach problems."
What Halpern shaped around his dad’s pithy quotes is a loving, accepting memoir of growing up in the same house with this codger. This book is an easy read, and totally worth the scant hour it takes to get through it. Sure, it isn’t classic literature, but it’s a great break from the heavy stuff, a short moment with a fantastic character.