Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Suck At Girls by Justin Halpern

5 Stars
I Suck At Girls is Justin Halpern's sophomore novel, and the inspiration behind the short-lived television show Surviving Jack. I began watching said T.V. show for one reason . . .

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According to my family we all wanted to watch it because the commercials were so funny and made the show look entertaining, but . . . nope. I just wanted to spend 30 minutes looking at Christopher Meloni.

Turns out the show was pretty funny too . . .

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It's a shame it got cancelled so soon. RIP Surviving Jack, you will be missed . . .

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Unless you reside under a rock, you have heard of Sh*t My Dad Says at this point. (I'd link you to all the profound things I had to say about that one, but sadly I read it before I started reviewing.) I think Halpern sums up SMDS quite well without me:

"Getting a book deal and a TV show based on less than five hundred total words is a level of luck reserved for people who survive plan crashes or find out they're Oprah's long-lost sister."

Sh*t My Dad Says made for a great twitter account and website, but it just didn't have enough material to carry over into a book. When Surviving Jack came on the air, I figured it was just a revamped SMDS - Halpern did get his start as a T.V. writer, after all. It turns out I was wrong and Jack was actually based on this little book instead.

I Suck At Girls is Halpern's walk down memory lane through all of his failed relationships until he finally found "the one." He tells tales of his first crush - and how he drew her a picture of a dog shitting all over her face to profess his love; his first brush with pornographic magazines - which he stole from a homeless camp in the canyons of California where he was chased by a bum yelling "Gimme back my titties!!!"; of his first kiss after his high school homecoming dance:

"In the back of a taxi cab driven by a guy who looked like Ernest Hemingway with a meth addiction, with Snow's "Informer" playing on the radio . . ."

He talks about finally growing a set big enough to profess to the girl of his dreams that he wanted to ask her to the prom, but feared she would say no - only to have her confirm those fears; of traveling all the way to Europe in order to finally party and nail some broads - where his stomach revolted on him and became "filled with too much poo poo and fart" according to the non-English speaking doctor; to his first time and fantasies about a 45-minute romp filled with multiple orgasms for his partner - that resulted in a reality of a 1 minute 36 second session instead; and finally to stories about his wife and the first party he attended at her apartment - where she had to barricade the door while he had an epic bout with diarrhea . . .

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This book was everything I was looking for to wrap up my year of reading. It was short, it was funny, it was sometimes sweet, and Halpern is a connoisseur of profanity, which I always appreciate. (Also note, most of the chapters are told from the perspective of a teenaged boy so it's also chauvinistic and raunchy and everything else I love about comedies.) Halpern married the only girl he'd ever "gone stupid for" and this is a hilarious tribute to their love.

Halpern you got me at the right place and the right time so you get all the stars. Happy F*&^%$# New Year. Find me on the flip side where I'll be back to my curmudgeony self . . .

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