Never before has a book grabbed my attention as Go the F**K to Sleep by Adam Mansbach. A carefully crafted “unintended” viral marketing plan was elegantly executed. PDF copies of the book were “leaked” catapulting Mansbach’s children’s book to the top spot on Amazon before it was even published. Impressive. Add the word f**k to a children’s book and you are on to a winner it seems. The fact is, this is NOT a children’s book. It just looks like one – it was marketed, until it’s release, as a children’s book – very clever! Now they have they have released a free audio version of the book narrated by none other than Samuel L Jackson guaranteed to be a cult classic eh?
So what is it about?
It’s a book for parents about the trials and tribulations of trying to get kids to sleep. It’s written and illustrated in the style of a children’s bedtime book.
What did I think about it?
For me, it’s the story that surrounds the book that is incredible. The hype, and the instant cult classic for me, is amazing. I love the F-word – I really do. I use it frequently as verb, a noun and an adjective BUT I rarely write it. I am not even sure why. I love the descriptions and the rhythm of the verses in Go the F**k to Sleep – they flow, they are rich and then you are hit with the F-word which after the first 2 pages get’s old and actually very irritating. At some points in the book I find myself getting annoyed, and perhaps even slightly offended, which for someone who LOVES colourful language is saying something! Even in the moments of high desperation and extreme tiredness I don’t think would articulate my sentiments in the way that was published, well, at least not with my own child:
“The tiger reclines in the shimmering jungle.
The sparrow has silenced her cheep.
Fuck your stuffed bear, I’m not getting you shit.
Close your eyes. Cut the crap. Sleep”
The illustrations by Ricardo Cortés are rich and very cute – they are so attractive that BiP enjoys looking at them making it hard to remember that it is a book for adults, NOT children. It definitely throws you out of your comfort zone, it is uncomfortable, it is funny in parts, but it is over the top.
Parting words …The title was probably all it needed to be an instant success … maybe a couple f**ks in the book would have made it punchy and funny – instead it comes across as forced and overly deliberate. The humour is lost with the excessive use of expletives. Honestly, if you find the F-word that hilarious then maybe you need to grow up a bit.
I do not regret buying it – I am happy to have been part of this whole hype but I would say I am disappointed slightly!
*** Have you read it? Will you? Does the language add to the book or does it put you off? ***
I first saw the book on Facebook awhile ago and thought it was pretty hilarious. My husband did not find it amusing AT ALL…I tried to show it to him and after the first page he was like, yeah, I don’t like this.
Because of that, I probably won’t buy it, but I totally downloaded Samuel L. Jackson reading it and have listened several times.
I agree that the F-word seems overdone, but honestly it was just such an affirmation to me of some of the things that run through my head on occasion when I’m trying to get my daughter down – knowing she’s exhausted and just watching her refuse to close her eyes!
My favorite lines were the ones about being a terrible parent and commenting on how this room is the only thing I can remember…I am so not alone in thinking this stuff!
I guess it just lends humor to what can be an incredibly frustrating situation for parents – and I can almost think that the overdone F bombs point to how over-reactive we can actually become towards babies who refuse to shut their eyes!
In the end I’m sure a lot of people will buy it and think it’s funny and then forget about it. I do hope it doesn’t start one of those spin off series/t-shirts/coffee mugs/movies type things lol…
Sorry for the crazy mega comment, btw 😉
Hey Kelly! Thanks for your comment! I do agree with you on the part that talks about being a terrible parent – I have that thought cross my mind A LOT!
I do think this book is going to create massive spin offs … it will become tacky fast I fear … apparently there are film rights already signed? Crazy!
As I said, I am happy I got to read it, happy to own it … happy to be part of the discussion!
Thanks for passing by! Love your comment!
And you know he’s already sold the movie rights? Love it. 😉 I agree the word does get old and starts to wear… in fact like you I almost got a bit put out by the end. But I still think its a bit genius and like your other commenter, loved the SLJ audio version!
Movie rights? How will that work? It is genius! I have to admit! It was an instant hit!
It’s certainly an attention grabber, but I must say that I dislike the f-word (and foul language generally) so yes, that deters me. I’d have to read it to give a fair review, though no inclination to do so.
Check out the audio version by Samuel L Jackson … you are right, its an attention grabber … worth the listen just to see what the hype is about!
I read a leaked PDF version. It was funny at points and definitely right on, but I’m with you… It was a little over the top on the explicatives. I think it would have had the same effect or even a better effect with fewer in well chosen places. Overall, though, it was funny and a great idea to connect with all of us over-tired parents.
Agreed that the use of the F word was uverdone – but the story was f’ing hilarious! I did not expect to like it. I would never have gotten the book – even for free to review, but I happened to come across an article that said it was free at audible, and I hadn’t yet used my kindle for listening, so I gave it a try tonight.
Hilarious! Totally how I think about bedtime sometimes – with the F work, but not totally what I’d really say to my kids in real life. I just think it sometimes. Well most times. At bedtime.
It is funny! I don’t doubt that – it’s just the F-word started to get old, fast. The audible version is very good. Samuel L Jackson is excellent and is the perfect candidate to propel it into cult status overnight.
Maybe I’m just lucky that BiP is usually a great sleeper so when she puts up a fight I am not overly exasperated! I guess the book perhaps, connects more with the parents of older kids or those who refuse to go to sleep!
This is too funny. I would probably buy it based on the title alone and the subject matter. I love things that seem cute but are really kind of tongue and cheek sarcastic or naughty.
I think you, ( the entrepreneur you) should self publish your own naughty book. Wouldn’t that be fun.. I can think of so many funny ways to show the trials and tribulations of parents. ” Eat your “f**ng food”. F***ng touch that”. “Wipe your own damn butt”. LoL, it’s too funny..
Haha Annie! A book? There are many ways we could make the trials and tribulations of parenting funny and I agree, that it would have to contain the F-word but certainly not to this extent! I agree the title has it’s marketing made!
Wanna co-write a book?
When do we start!!!!!