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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Like My Father Always Said by Erin McHugh

Like My Father Always Said by Erin McHugh
Published by Abrams Image ISBN 9781419716218
Hardcover, $14.95, 142 pages
Last year author Erin McHugh had a big hit with her little book, Like My Mother Always Said, filled with bits of wisdom, advice and humorous sayings from moms, shared by their children. It was funny, sweet and touching.

McHugh is back this year with her logical followup, Like My Father Always Said- Gruff Advice, Sweet Wisdom and Half-Baked Instructions on How to Fix Your Stuff and Your Life, just in time for Father's Day.

Speaking before an enthusiastic group at her book launch at Barnes & Noble on the Upper East Side in New York City, McHugh shared how after Like My Mother Always Said was published, she heard from so many people who asked her "don't you want to know what my dad said?", and she was off and running.
Erin McHugh at Barnes & Noble

McHugh said that within a day of asking people on Facebook and Twitter to send her their dad-isms, she started getting a feeling that this was going to be a different book from the mom's. Mom's advice was about watching out for the child- their safety, their emotions. Dads, however, wanted to make sure you "had a firm handshake and a secure 401K."

Dads seemed to be more a product of their time, and some of their sayings "sound like they came from a 1940's movie", like the one dad who would say "Give me a drink, I can still hear the kids", or the one who asked his rambunctious kids "Who put a nickel in you?", a reference to the days when you would find mini jukeboxes on restaurant tables.

Some of the dads had some good serious advice. Casey told his sons Peter and Paul:
"There's only one thing you can both keep and give: your word."
Keith told his son Connor:
"Just don't be 'that kid'. Whatever the situation, you never want to be the one everyone else refers to as "Oh yeah, I know that kid.' It's never good."
Some dads had funny things to say. Bob told his son Dick:
"Stay single! But if you're going to get married, get married in the morning. Because if it doesn't work out, you haven't wasted the whole day." 
Jim's older brother frequently invited Jim and his wife to join them at Red Sox games or out for a sail on the weekend, and kept getting turned down. Finally, an exasperated Jim told his older brother that they couldn't go out on the weekends, because he had teenage children and had to wait at home for the police to call. (This was pre-cell phone days.)

Erin's own father is in the book. When Erin was away at college, her dad would send her cards and letters and he would always include "photo of Andrew Jackson to add to her Presidential portrait collection."

Like My Father Always Said is a wonderful book to give to the favorite dad in your life.  Reading it aloud will encourage you and your siblings and friends to share your own dads' hilarious and worthwhile pearls of wisdom. I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face. (And how can you resist the cover photo?)

rating 5 of 5


  1. Thank you, Diane! SO glad you enjoyed it!

  2. That does sound wonderful! My dad had some great sayings, including "Two wrongs don't make a right." I heard that so much growing up, I found I said it to Vance who now uses it even though he doesn't have kids.