Sean Schemmel reads Justin Halpern’s Sh*t My Dad Says, where Halpern describes his experiences with his dad upon moving back to the home of his childhood at the age of 28, with a new work-from-home job and freshly dumped by his girlfriend.
His dad is a no-holds-barred elderly man, maybe the least passive-aggressive person in history, who will happily rush out from the bedroom in nothing but the clothes he was wearing when he was born, with a shotgun in his hands to defend his house against an imaginary 1am burglar. Prone to explosions of rage, kicking dog’s toys and ripping up Justin’s falsified science project, Dad is a serious man who will not take sh*t from anyone, at any time, anywhere. The only person who is apparently able to hold Dad’s reins in is Justin’s mom, but even when she intervenes, Dad will have his way and continue to simmer until he gets his point through. Dad’s point of these lessons is to prove that his son is “a quality human being,” not a lying sack of said sh*t.
Describing his father is something Justin Halpern does well, and though his father is extreme at times, setting high demands for his children and not holding back on the colorful language, he has a definite sweet side, hard-ass though he might be in every angle of family life. In one instant, Dad will hand Justin a Snickers bar, to make sure he’s comfortable while Dad has work to do, and in the next shouting at Justin to get out of his f-ing closet, because it’s his f-ing closet, never mind the game of hide-and-go-seek that’s going on.
Justin describes his dad and both his childhood experiences with him and the more adult sides of it with vivid colors and a light and easy language. It’s easy to picture dad’s military-style upbringing methods, teaching the children what’s right and what’s wrong, and making sure that his voice is the voice of ultimate command at all times. It’s easy to hear that Halpern harbors a lot of love for his dad, and that the dad harbors a lot of love for his son, but it’s also easy to hear that Halpern is almost as amazed by his dad as the reader is apt to be.
Sean Schemmel reads this text like a pro, juggling Dad’s voice and its nuances nicely. There is one thing that might make some people chuckle a little extra – Schemmel sounds exactly like the late and great George Carlin when he’s doing Dad’s voice. It doesn’t help that Dad’s logic and colorful language is in itself a strong reminder about Carlin’s rhetoric. Sean’s voice is comfortable enough, making the roughly three-and-a-half hours of audio that this book consists of a nice distraction, and the book’s text makes it funny enough to double me over several times. Let it be said that it probably helps to have seen George Carlin a few times, and also if you have a dad, or maybe an uncle that have some of these traits in them. That said, almost everyone has a relative that has some of these traits…
George Carlin sound-alike or not, this is definitely worth getting on tape – for once I can’t say anything about getting it on paper, because I haven’t. Yet.Powered by Sidelines