June 29, 2011

Go The F*** To Sleep

"The eagles who soar thru the sky are at rest
And the creatures who crawl, run and creep.
I know you are not thirsty. That's bullshit.
Stop lying.
Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep."

Those are a few lines from the best-seller Go The Fuck To Sleep, a fake children's storybook written by and for frustrated parents. I've got to admit, I've read it and it's funny. Especially the audio version read by Samuel L. Jackson. But as with all things that are funny in an edgy kind of way there's been a backlash. It's probably best articulated by a recent editorial posted to CNN's site. It says, in part:

As the title suggests, "Go the F*** to Sleep" mocks the parental frustrations of trying to lay a child down to bed. Crass in concept and execution, this is an expletive-filled bedtime story intended solely for the amusement of parents.

Nobody is suggesting that there's a connection between Adam Mansbach's book and child abuse or child neglect. Still, there's no denying the reason "Go the F*** to Sleep" should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children.

The violent language of "Go the F*** to Sleep" is not the least bit funny, when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them.

You know, like all those parents depicted in all those beautifully illustrated storybooks.

And I'm having a little trouble understanding the backlash, frankly. If it was a book for kids then sure. Dropping the f-bomb in a kids book? Uncool. But a book for parents? Right on. But unfortunately some can't see the humor. As one CNN commenter stated:

Believe me as a parent I can understand this frustration but I do not find it funny especially with this degrading deplorable language. And believe me I am no prude. The bottom line is if you find this book funny than you really don't love your kids enough to respect them fully.

Now, I'll avoid even throwing in that there were totally bogus analogies to racism included in the misguided editorial and will just say this - are you fucking kidding me?

It's okay if you're not a fan of bad language or think the humor is crass. It should be pretty obvious by the title that this book isn't for you. But folks aren't objecting based on that. They're missing the point and seem to think that parent's shouldn't get frustrated nor should they express that frustration in any meaningful or humorous way. And they're getting mad a satire. It's like saying that Spinal Tap was a disgrace because of the way it misrepresented rock musicians in the 1980's. That was the point!

We're forgetting a lot of things criticizing this book and others like it. First, most enduring children's stories are terrifying. Cinderella is abused, forced into slavery in her own home. The Little Mermaid is horrifically mangled, her voice taken from her. Countless young princesses are married off to old men. But no, apparently these are fine. Second, parenting is frustrating. It's the most frustrating job I've ever had and I once made cowboy hats in a hot, unairconditioned factory in the Texas summertime.

Am I the only one who has read this book or thinks the concept is hilarious? Or are you all just as horrified as CNN?

Posted by Chris at June 29, 2011 7:03 AM

I haven't read the book yet (it is on my ever-growing list of things to do), but what I do know is that people take themselves and everything around them (but mostly themselves) waaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. I think a sense of humor is one of the first things to go, when it is what we need to get through life with anything resembling sanity!

Posted by: Elizabeth at June 29, 2011 7:38 AM

I haven't read it in full, but I think it's hilarious. And if someone objects to the word fuck, in a humorous book, meant solely for adults ... well, then yeah, you kinda ARE a prude. People (not you, Chris) need to stop acting like parenting is some kind of damn walk in the park. Maybe then there wouldn't be so many neglected children out there.

Posted by: Fraulein N at June 29, 2011 7:56 AM

The obviously ADULT book is hilarious, especially for those of us who have who have children who don't like to go the eff to sleep! The humorless twits who accuse me of not loving and respecting my kids because I find this amusing need to shut the eff up and find some real news to report.

Posted by: Laura at June 29, 2011 8:00 AM

Some people need to get off their sanctimonious high horse and take the stick out of their ass.

That book is HILARIOUS! And Samuel L. Jackson reading it...perfection!

It's a joke people, like you've never heard the word fuck before. Anyone who has ever had a child that did not sleep knows how true this is!

Posted by: Lisa at June 29, 2011 8:03 AM

I'm just pissed I didn't think of that book idea first.

Posted by: COD at June 29, 2011 8:08 AM

First of all, I'm with COD. I'm always thinking "DAMN! If only I'd thought of that first!"

And give me a break. If ANYONE posting negative things about this book has had a child, then I call BULLSHIT. Don't even sit there and try to tell me you've never had phrases like that cross your mind.

I'm a 53 year old mother of three, grandmother of two, and I sent the link when the book first hit the news, to my daughter, the mother of my two grandchildren. I laughed till I cried, because at ages 4 and just turned 3, sometimes grandma has one whale of a time getting them down at night while their mother is working third shift. And yeah - I'm thinking to myself "GO the FUCK to SLEEP already!" whilst I'm singing lullabyes for the fiftieth round.

As to not letting it into kids' hands - well - any of you Einsteins out there complaining about this keep any booze in the fridge low enough a kid could reach if they went rummaging around in there? Yeah. Thought so. Put it up higher where they can't reach - just like responsible parents will do with this book.

Please. Spare me. The book is FUCKing hilarious!

So now that a 53 year old grandmother, nearly a senior citizen, has dressed down the short bus folks who will never read this, and even tossed in the f bomb (we're not your grannie's grannies, this generation of mine!) - y'all have a great day!

Posted by: Julee at June 29, 2011 8:43 AM

I thought it was hysterical - and so, so, so true when you have kids of a certain age and bedtime takes forever and then some.

Also, the Samuel L. Jackson version was simply awesome. No one throws down an f-bomb like that man. ;)

Posted by: Traci at June 29, 2011 9:02 AM

I haven't read it but I did hear several verses read by Jackson on MSNBC. CNN missed the point entirely. I was laughing and shaking my head in agreement. Been there over three generations.

Julee, I got you beat. 73 year old mother of five, grandmother of 11, and great-grandmother of at least 5. Sometimes I lose count.

When we lose the ability to laugh, especially at ourselves, we're in serious trouble.

Posted by: ann adams at June 29, 2011 9:05 AM

I listened to the Samuel L. Jackson reading of it and found it HILARIOUS - and I don't even have kids! I'm with you on this one - I can't believe people are upset about this.

Posted by: Heather at June 29, 2011 9:12 AM

histerical!!! and the sequel should be call do what the f*** you're told

Posted by: becky at June 29, 2011 9:14 AM

Jesus Christ, if you read this book and don't laugh, then YOU'RE the one not trying hard enough with your kids. Only a parent who cares enough for their kids to read bedtime stories and patiently coo them to sleep each night knows why this is funny. Only those parents know the frustration of a kid who won't go to sleep, but stick with it until they do.

If you read this book and all you can think about are the neglected and underprivileged children in this world, then you need some fucking therapy. I would hate to live in your scary world.

Sorry if I'm ranty but I'm tired of the apologizing comics, the Fox news super-hype, and the gross overreactions to every tiny little thing that people do. Lighten up, people!

Posted by: Brad at June 29, 2011 9:21 AM

I think it's genius! I laughed my ass off! Samuel L. Jackson - nuff said!

Posted by: Kris at June 29, 2011 9:26 AM

I thought it was hilarious, although, I don't know that I would buy it only because it's a short book, and I don't read short books since I was about 7. However, I thought the concept was brilliant! Especially with how difficult bedtime can be, and kids want water, and hugs, and whatever else, ten times before they can go to sleep, it's so funny to see that mentioned.

Posted by: Carmen at June 29, 2011 9:34 AM

I read the book and laughed my ass off. I have two children and trust me, go the f**k to sleep is thought EVERY single night. I think the people criticizing the book need to not take life so seriously because sometimes if you're not laughing you're crying.

Posted by: Kerry at June 29, 2011 9:44 AM

The armchair psychology sorta goes like this: Sometime in the distant past, future offended person is inculcated with the idea that "good" parents never get frustrated, or if they do, never show it. "Think of the children!" --> Person then reads the book, or hears of it, and shocker of shocker, actually resonates to it. This of course is a grievous sin, given the earlier inculcation. --> Person then proceeds to slam anyone open enough to admit that they're human and find the book amusing or cathartic or a validation that they aren't, in fact, perfect, and that's okay. The reason for this is because they must prove to themselves that they are good people according to the standards set, most likely subconsciously on their behalf, by people other than themselves. So they demonize the 'bad' people. It's kinda sad, actually.

Posted by: Martin at June 29, 2011 9:59 AM

I laughed my ass off when I heard the Samual L. Jackson version. It's a shame though, I really thought I respected my children. Guess not! ;-)

Posted by: Holly at June 29, 2011 10:10 AM

I love this book. I'm pretty sure that I also really love my kids, too. No worries there. :)

Posted by: akofaolain at June 29, 2011 10:38 AM

People who don't find this book funny and think that it demeans children shouldn't be allowed to have children, primarily because by allowing them access to small, malleable gobs of clay, they'll just be cultivating the narrow-minded, humorless, self-righteous jackass ashtrays of tomorrow. That's something that needs to be nipped in the bud early and clearly either sterilization or eugenics constitute the only sane and appropriate solutions.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at June 29, 2011 10:47 AM

*smacks forehead*

To have someone think that I do not love and respect my child because I thought the book was hilarious is INSANE. Dimwit.

It amazes me how some people get their britches all in a twist over the silliest of things.

And Becky? I am with you on the sequel!! LOL

Posted by: Jen at June 29, 2011 11:13 AM

It's like that guy climbed into my head and stole all my thoughts! Guess that makes me a really bad parent! Oh well.

People need to stop being so defensive about stuff. Lighten up people! No wonder we are all so darn stressed out.

Posted by: cyndy at June 29, 2011 11:14 AM

Hilarious--heard the audio and Samuel L. Jackson is awesome. I think it sounds like what my sister must be thinking after my nephew gets out of bed for the 100th time! People are too uptight--this wasn't intended for children and I think it has nothing to do with respecting your kids. I say CNN needs to know how to take a joke--clearly that's what this is.

Posted by: Susan at June 29, 2011 11:29 AM

i found the idea of it pretty funny (and i am a sailor if i do say so myself) and by about 7pm every night i am just desperately wanting my own little angels to go the eff to bed but by about halfway through the book, it made me a little sad. i mean, yeah, it's *funny* but......

Posted by: kati at June 29, 2011 11:41 AM

I listened to the audio book version and thought it was hilarious. My wife wasn't quite so enthusiastic about it, go figure.

Posted by: Jeff A at June 29, 2011 12:22 PM

I think the book is freaking hilarious. I laugh and laugh because it is SO TRUE. Just last night, I took my daughter in to bed at 7:45 and the little twerp was still bouncing around at 9:30, with me lying beside her, parroting "Please lie down and go to sleep." I did think of the book a couple of times during that time.

My mother, however, is horrified. "I can't believe people are reading this book to their kids." MOM. Seriously? NO ONE is reading this to their kids. It's for the parents, for the love. I can't figure out how an otherwise rational person could think that people would be reading this as a bedtime story to their kids.

Posted by: Carmen at June 29, 2011 12:28 PM

Dear People....Get the fuck over yourselves.

Save us from the do gooders and the whiners. They need to have a little fun sometime and dislodge the stick from their tight little asses.

Samuel L Jackson, hellyeah, I don't have kids and I'm getting THAT.

Posted by: Amy at June 29, 2011 12:44 PM

I haven't read it all, either, but I think the idea is funny. Perspective, people.

Posted by: Julie at June 29, 2011 12:51 PM

I haven't read it, but I've heard of it and I think the idea is hysterical. My son is a five-million hugs and kisses and more water kind of bedtimer, so I get it, I do. He's worse at napping, which is when I really want to say, Go the f@#k to sleep, 'cause when he doesn't nap, he's a jerk in the afternoon. I live in awe of parents who never get frustrated or raise their voices to their children. Bully for them. I am not one of those parents. At all.

Posted by: Brooke at June 29, 2011 1:01 PM

As a non-parent, I found this hilarious. All my friends whose kids we played with also found this hilarious. Thank gods my friends have great sense of humor. ;-D

I bought a book for one of these friends, unfortunately I can't recall the title, but it was like a fatherly advice to little boys. But they were all "suck it up," "told you not to run with scissors, now you're bleeding, whose fault is that?" kind of thing. Hilarious.

Posted by: oakley at June 29, 2011 1:06 PM

So wait - you are saying that Spinal Tap wasn't a true depiction of 80's rock musicians? Hello Cleveland!

About the book - every parent has thought it. Don't go denying it. And yes, Samuel was the perfect choice for this. If it was a record with an A and B side, I would vote for putting together a Pulp Fiction mash-up on the other side!

Posted by: Mike at June 29, 2011 1:45 PM

That book is hilarious! Is it meant for children? Of course not! That's why you listen to the Samuel L. Jackson version and laugh your ass off at it.

I wish people would get the sticks out of their asses and relax a bit. The world would be a much more pleasant place.

Posted by: zanie at June 29, 2011 2:28 PM

Forget the book “Go the F**k to Sleep”, a pathetic, soul-less, allegedly rebel, ‘children’s book’. Don’t waste your hard-earned money, instead read a BANNED book like “America Deceived II” by a real rebel and the “World’s Most Hated Author”, E.A. Blayre III.
Last link (before Google Books bans it also]:

Posted by: Gregg at June 29, 2011 2:34 PM

I haven't read the other comments yet, so I apologize if I'm repeating someone else. I saw that CNN article yesterday and was rolling my eyes so much that I couldn't even finish reading it. I had the same "are you fucking kidding me?" thought and closed out the article before I could get too annoyed.

I'm not a parent, but I have plenty of friends who are. I think the concept of the book is hilarious. I also think that if you're one of the people offended by it, then DON'T FUCKING READ IT. I mean. Seriously.

Posted by: shan at June 29, 2011 2:40 PM

One of the first things I noticed about many, many kids' books I read to my kids when they were younger (and still do), is how often everything winds down calmly and the main character just gently nods off at the end. So many of our toddler/pre-school aged books did that, that my husband & I would openly mock them as we read them (for each other's entertainment, of course). KIDS DON'T DO THAT.

This one is far more realistic. I can't even guarantee that I wouldn't have read it TO my kids. I might be just kidding, but I'm not sure.

I love the concept & feel validated by this book. Even if I don't actually (usually) talk to my kids this way.

Posted by: harmzie at June 29, 2011 4:02 PM

I love the satire.....I think the whole thing is funny and you have hit the nail on the head...

Rock-a-bye baby....in the tree top....when the bough breaks the cradle will fall....

Talk about scaring the crap out of your kids....

Posted by: David at June 29, 2011 5:03 PM

"The bottom line is if you find this book funny than you really don't love your kids enough to respect them fully."

Seriously, CNN commenter? To this, I say, F*CK YOU. I bet this guy/gal has never actually spent multiple nights -- or months, or years -- up with his child in the middle of the night.

Everyone I know thinks this book is funny. Because, of course, we all disrespect our children. THAT'S the reason.

Posted by: Laura Gato at June 29, 2011 8:35 PM

Wait a sec? CNN says that liking the book means I don't love my kids enough to respect them? What utter bullshit! Liking the book means I identify with something like this BECAUSE I respect my kids enough to want them to get plenty of sleep. Trust me, this will still be true when Mia and Owen are the same age as my boys (17, 21 and 22).

Posted by: Schadenfreude Warehouse at June 29, 2011 10:22 PM

Eh. I didn't really think it was that funny. I liked the concept of it, but I got bored about half way through listening to Sam reading it. It had nothing to do with the number of F-bombs in it (I probably curse more than I need to), it just wasn't my cup of tea. Maybe cause I don't have kids *shrug* (though, I've done lots of babysitting and have indeed spent nights trying to get a kid to shut up and go to sleep!)

To say people that did think it was funny don't love their kids is ridiculous! People are stupid.

Posted by: katie at June 29, 2011 10:46 PM

Well said, I heard this story a few weeks ago on npr and felt the same way you do...Rock on, those people need to crank it up to 11...

Posted by: karen at June 29, 2011 11:14 PM

Read it, loved it, will be hunting down the SLJ version right after this!

What ever happened to people understanding ideas like humour and satire? And I don't know a single parent who hasn't at least muttered that phrase under their breath after cuddling their child, getting the 10th drink of water, etc. for 2 hours or more!

Posted by: Jodi Lea at June 30, 2011 9:32 AM

I've never read the book but I will track it down soon because it sounds like something I'd like. And I'm in agreement with the rest of the commentors here - CNN is full of shit, yada yada yada.
However, as much as I like to just say 'fuck CNN' and move on, it worries me more than that. Too many 'people' place unrealistic expectations on parents. We need to laugh, we need to vent or we'll go crazy.
I miss Erma Bombeck terribly at this moment. I'd love to hear what she'd have to say on this subject. I'll never forget the Forward at the beginning of her book 'Motherhood: the second oldest profession'. She discussed a letter she had received from a mom serving a life sentence after killing her child who then started reading Erma's books in prison. She told Erma "I didn't know it was okay to laugh about this stuff. If I had only known..."
Granted, that's an extreme situation, but I'd much rather have parents reading a book together and laughing their asses off than smacking their kids around out of frustration.

Posted by: fauve at June 30, 2011 9:36 AM

I agree with all the comments (and you, Chris). People have lost their sense of humor and its been going absolutely ape-shit with the political correctness.

How DARE anyone say I dont love or respect my kids because I found this funny? (Shall we take a vote... from the kids?)

I'm a (nearly) 50 year old mom to 3 adult sons, (one of whom shared the link to the book with me!) and two grandsons.

I don't know where those critics are living, but its not in the 'real' world!

Posted by: 3jaysmom at June 30, 2011 11:32 AM

Folks need to get a grip. This was one of the most hilarious things I have ever read.

Any parent who ever had a child has felt like this book at least once in their lives. I never left my son, but OMG, pacing rocking him in my arms thinking "Go the Fuck to Sleep!" Did I stop loving him, did I stop nurturing him? Nope, but Oh MY God I was tired and I wanted him to rest too. Seriously, why is everything made out to be such a big deal...take it for what it is...a tongue in cheek look at something every parent goes through.

Posted by: Jean at June 30, 2011 12:36 PM

I downloaded it a few weeks ago via Audible and I LOVE it. Heck, everyone in my house, parents and non-parents alike, love it. We all think its hilarious. One of my roommates wants to buy a copy to give to his son, who has an infant daughter.

Obviously you're not supposed to read it to your kids. I get that. But really, get a sense of humor and go with it. Its gold.

Posted by: Debra at July 5, 2011 9:10 AM

I've heard of it and the concept mildly amuses me, and I get definitely see how it'd get funnier as exhaustion wore out and the need for commiseration increased. And I'd definitely like to hear the audiobook version lol.

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