One of the most exciting books to come out in awhile has got to be Adam Mansbach’s book, “Go the F**k to Sleep,” which came out this week – just in time for Father’s Day. Styled like a children’s story, this tale of a father’s frustration with his daughter’s bedtime routine perfectly crystallizes what every father surely feels as they tuck the blankets, kiss their kid’s cheek one last time, and turn the light out, slinking into the hallway, whispering “no whammy no whammy no whammy.”
As you can tell, this book speaks directly to me.
(Giveaway is below)
Every parent is familiar with the nighttime routines of their kids – and along with the routine comes the unexpected (though us fathers do expect it) – another sippy cup of water, another teddy bear, another story. You know that the first time you close your child’s room door, it won’t stay closed. Mansbach’s “Go the F**k to Sleep” is a celebration of this process, which he did with his daughter Vivien (who is now three years old).
There’s not much else to really say about this book in terms of the writing – it’s a sing-songy plight from father to child written just like the kid’s books are, in quatrains (rhyming stanzas of four lines each). And sure, is this a book that you might read once or twice, give as a gift to a pregnant friend, and then shelve until you have your next kid? Sure. But this book is still delightful – and at an Amazon price below $10, every father can afford to support another one of their bleary-eyed own.
And believe it or not, film rights for this book had already been sold for this book more than a month before it hit shelves.
Believe it or not, Mansbach has had some pretty heavy conquests in the past. He won the California Book Award for his book “The End of the Jews,” a complex cross-generation book about the Jews and African Americans. He won The San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2005 for his book, “Angry Black White Boy,” a satire about American culture, race and violence. Mansbach has also had pieces published in tons of papers around the country, and is a professor at Rutgers University. So, frankly, if this guy wants to use the “F” word, we’re all ears.
One of the jewels of this book is in the illustrations by Ricardo Cortés. Each picture looks like it was painted, which is awesome, for an industry of doodled and fabric-patch-looking stuff. Not to knock the doodled stuff, but Cortés’ vibrant art elevates the experience of the book higher than just a vulgar laugh. And Cortés has probably the greatest “about” section in any kid’s book anywhere, saying that he’s “illustrated books about marijuana, electricity, the Jamaican bobsled team, and Chinese food.” Ladies and gentlemen, when I write a book, I hope that Ricardo Cortés is free for collaboration. Check out this two-page spread:
Now, I’ve got some emotional conflicts with this book. I wish it were longer. Though it’s the perfect length for a kid’s book, it’s clearly not for kids, with lyrics like “How come you can do all this other great s**t / But you can’t lie the f**k down and sleep?” So…it being a book for adults, I almost want to see it drag on longer. I’m assuming we’ll see another kid’s book down the line from Mansbach – if he’s taking requests, I’d like to request “Eat Your Goddamned Peas” or “Crap in the Toilet, For F**k’s Sake.” If Mansbach needs a co-writer, I’ve got some spare time.
I mean, look: of course I’m giving this a 5-star rating for parents, but you’d be surprised to know that I’m giving this a 2.5-star for kids. “F**k” is easily-masked, so you could, theoretically, say “go the heck to sleep” if you wanted to share this humorous jaunt with your kid. If you can replace “the N word“ in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” with the word “slave,” then surely you can come up with something for Mansbach’s S-and-F-bombs.
“Go the F**k to Sleep” is available NOW from all major sources.
Through some clerical error at Akashic Books, we received a second copy of “Go the F**k to Sleep.” So, we’re raffling it off to a lucky 8BitDad reader. It’s not signed but has a super-1337 sticker on it saying it’s an “Advance Reading Copy” and that it’s “NOT FOR SALE.”
How To Win: All you gotta do is comment on this review. Tell us what your least favorite part of the bedtime routine is, or just say hi. As long as you leave some way for us to get in touch with you – our comment form asks for your e-mail address, and doesn’t make it public, so that’s a perfect way. A winner will be chosen at 11:59pm, June 24.
The nit-picky fine print: US & Canada only. Max of one entry per person, period. Apologies to our loved-ones, 8BitDad employees and members of their families are NOT eligible to win.
And if you’re not feeling much like a winner, you can purchase “Go the F**k to Sleep” on Amazon, available now.
Now go the f**k to the comments section below and leave one, will ya?