Go The F@#k To Sleep – Book Review

GoToSleepGo The Fuck To Sleep is a new book written by Adam Mansbach about a tired parent's frustration at his child's inability to go to sleep. Written like a children's book - but definitely not one - it mimics the rhyming cuplet style of the sleepytime genre only with a twist.

The story highlights much of the 11th hour drama that parents with young kids can relate to. Negotiating the number of books read, glasses of water drunk, and, not surprisingly, just how many trips to the bathroom need to be taken, it offers two sweet lines of text, followed by two exacerbated lines finishing with the book's catchy signature phrase.

The book appears to be doing well and the author is making the rounds to media outlets. But there's something about a book that jokes about being SO frustrated with your child that you would repeatly tell them to 'Go the fuck to sleep' - if only in your head - that has me going against the 'this book had me ROTFLMAO' crowd and give it a thumbs down.

Not that, like many people, I didn't chuckle on the first page but since I'm all about the HOW of things - the message started to wear on me - and this from a 'not overly sensitive to foul language', ex-New Yorker.

I know - what a wet blanket am I. Obviously it's a joke right? Obviously this book is for really caring, bleary-eyed parents to vicariously live through that bad parent saying what they would never dream of saying themselves, right? Obviously no one would really talk to their children like this, right?

And while I could definitely discuss both the statement and impact this kind of literature makes on our society, and the sad fact that there are parents out there who didn't get the memo that this book is not to be taken as an actual parenting guide - if the book hadn't go on and on, getting more uptight, and over-using the title phrase I probably would have kept my sense of humor about it.

I guess I was waiting for a better climax. Like Dad having the ephiphany of, 'oh yeah, I love my child', or 'I know, you just miss me because I work all day and this is really the only time you ever see me so why would you want it to end', or that kids grow up so fast that besides losing interest in having Dad read to him or tuck him in or kiss him good night, Dad will be writing the sequel about his now teenager entitled 'Wake The F#@k Up' with Adam Jr. sweetly responding 'Go The F#@k Away'.

I can't help thinking that this book misses the mark. Or that sadly it hits the mark it set out to hit. I guess I wish it had set its sights higher.

I will say this. As a writer, I know that it is easier for people to criticize others than stick their necks out and put their own spin on things. So I give Mr. Mansbach credit for having a real point and for making money off his misery. The fact that so many people have commented with gratitude and a chuckle that someone had the guts to say what they have apparently been thinking, could create an excellent opportunity to address this issue. Of course only if and when people can apparently stop laughing and get up off the floor they've been rolling around on. I do hope that that turns out to be the case...

And in the meantime perhaps parents might consider:
The next time that your tired and your eyes are made of lead,
And your kids are doing everything not to go to bed,
Keep the phrase 'I Love You' looping loudly in your head,
Cause they know what you are thinking even if it goes unsaid.

Here's to tired parents everywhere.

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Annie Zirkel, LPC is a Speaker, Author and Parenting Consultant based in Ann Arbor, Michigan who really does get what sleep-deprivation can do to a good parent. She is available for consultation and to answer your questions. You can contact her at annie@practicehow.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .