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I Suck at Girls: A Book Title Review

May 29, 2012


Portrait of William Shatner

Once William Shatner plays your dad on a television show based on a bestselling book you wrote about your life, nobody is going to really care if you used to “suck at girls.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern 

I have to give Justin Halpern credit.  It takes guts to put the words “I suck” in a book title.  It’s risky to put the words ‘I suck” in a book title.  It leaves the author open to snide parody comments by jealous unpublished writers about the book title like I Suck at Writing Sequels or I Suck at Anything That My Dad Doesn’t Help Me With. 

Those comments would probably be unfair, but that’s what some unpublished authors do.  I Suck at Girls is the sequel (kind of) to Halpern’s earlier book Sh#t My Dad Says, which has been a best seller for a couple years and was even made into a (somewhat ill-conceived) television show. 

When I heard that Halpern was writing a sequel, I wondered what kind of shock title he would use this time.  I’m not a big fan of profanity in book titles, especially from established writers.  It’s okay if it’s the author’s first book, and nobody has heard of the author, and he/she needs a gimmick to get readers’ attention.  But if the writer is a celebrity or an established author, then putting profanity in a book title is incredibly selfish.  I thought for certain that Halpern would find a way to use the word “sh#t” again (Even More Sh#t My Dad Says), or use the f-word too (F###ing Sh#t My Dad Says), or go for the trifecta by throwing an improper usage of God in the title as well (which I won’t do). 

Halpern showed some class.  He didn’t try to up the ante or double down (or use two clichés at the same time).  Instead, he took the self-deprecating approach.  I like the self-deprecating approach.  I appreciate the guy who can take a few funny comments that his dad said, start a popular Twitter account with those comments, turn the tweets into a bestselling book, parlay the book into a television show, get William Shatner to play his dad (I wish William Shatner could play my dad), and then get paid to write a sequel.  If anybody would think he had the right to go for an egotistical triple-crown profanity-laden book title, it could have been Justin Halpern. 

And instead, he went for self-deprecation.  I respect that. 


I haven’t read I Suck at Girls.  I probably won’t either.  I read the free sample on my e-reader, and it was a lot like Sh#t My Dad Says but without the funny comments from his dad.  Those comments were the best part of Sh#t My Dad Says.  Without those comments, Sh#t My Dad Says would have been slightly amusing rather than pretty funny, which is what I Suck at Girls seems to be. 

If I find out that his dad’s comments are actually in other portions of the book, I may go ahead and read it. 


Yeah, my last two book reviews have actually been book title reviews.  

I’m not getting lazy.  I just haven’t felt the urge to write about any of the books I’ve read recently.  These books haven’t been good enough to recommend, and they haven’t been bad enough to mock.  If a book leaves me feeling neutral, then I probably can’t write a decent review. 

Maybe I’ll review Fifty Shades of Grey.

  1. I haven’t read any of Halpern’s books, but I’d read your book review of Fifty Shades. 🙂

  2. I totally agree on not being able to give a review if the book had no polarizing effect on me whatsoever. If I feel neither amazed nor disgusted by a book, then I don’t feel I can say anything.

    • Thank you! I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me (or wrong with the phase that I’m going through). I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

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