December 6, 2023

Kidding Around with Adam Mansbach

“You probably should not read it to your children.”

Go the F*ck to Sleep

With 284,000,000 search results on Google, a shout out in New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix, and the #1 spot on Amazon, Go the F*ck to Sleep is the talk of the publishing industry. And it doesn’t even come out until October!

Is this the beginning of a new trend in “kidding around” lit for parents? A few other irreverent series have made their way to bookshelves and gift stores in the past (see below). Why is this book getting so much attention? And why now? Are parents really so fed up? Or have we all recovered a sense of humor about parenting? Regardless, Go the F*ck to Sleep provides a brilliant burst of levity, and people are responding favorably.

I was introduced to Go the F*ck to Sleep when several of my friends sent the pdf version that has been circling email chains for the last few months. As a children’s book author and WNK blogger, they thought it was perfect for me. They also admitted the story reflects their own bedtime struggles.

In a recent “Today” show interview author Adam Mansbach said, “Despite the tremendous culture of parenting there’s a lot that doesn’t get talked about. Hopefully, the honesty of this book will open up the conversation. These are legitimate ways that we feel, and we should laugh about it, and be honest about these tribulations.”

As with most widely appealing humor, people seem to be laughing because the joke is on all of us, and is born from a seed of truth.

I found the book to be worthy of the response. It’s well written, and the viral contagion is as much a reflection of the authors talent and honesty as it is just plain good timing. People are obviously ready for a little break from Baby Einsteining, and humor, we are reminded, is always a good way to shine a light into some shadowed cracks and get people talking. And maybe if parents readily share simple daily struggles, fewer among us will feel alienated by perceived failings at a job that may be too often advertised as glorious and rewarding? Go the F*ck to Sleep is a breath of fresh, funny air, because we all know, it’s really not that easy.

Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Manbach from Akashic Books:

“Go the Fuck to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach’s verses perfectly capture the familiar–and unspoken–tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, they open up a conversation about parenting, granting us permission to admit our frustrations, and laugh at their absurdity. With illustrations by Ricardo Cortes, Go the Fuck to Sleep is beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny–a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children.”

Three-Martini Family Vacation by Christie Mellor from Chronicle Books:

Three-Martini Family Vacation

“Chill the glasses! The author of the wildly successful Three-Martini Playdate is back with more irreverent and useful advice about life with children. Wickedly funny essays offer helpful advice on harnessing the energy of toddlers-gone-wild: on vacation, out to dinner, even just when grandmother stops by for a visit. Parents will relearn the art of traveling, socializing, and eating out like adults . . . sometimes with well-behaved children in tow. In dozens of short, kicky chapters like Cocktail Parties: Actually for Grown-ups…gently reminds parents that family vacations can truly be fun.”

Baby Be of Use Series by Lisa Brown from McSweeney’s:

Baby Be of Use

“With the Baby Be of Use Six-Book Bundle, you’ve got your domestic bases covered. Between naps and “turning over,” your baby can learn his or her way around banking, car repair, breakfast preparation, drink-mixing, wedding planning, and romantic matchmaking. Through basic shapes and colors, these board books teach your precious little angels to be useful at long last. And why shouldn’t they help a little around the house?”