My dad and I don’t talk much about my writing. Oh, sure, he’d like to see me make it. What father doesn’t want his daughter’s dream to come true? But he’s not a reader himself, and definitely not into writing, so there’s just not much beyond “go for it” that he can say.
So the other night at the pub, I was surprised when he turned to me and said “You know, you may be going about this writing thing the wrong way. Instead of approaching it so seriously and all, maybe you should just go with something … blunt, off the top of your head.”
(Side note: Dad doesn’t know my latest venture is writing about a dead man-whore. He remembers my old literature snob days from college. He’s got every reason to think I’m too serious.)
He went on to ask me if I’d heard about the guy who wrote “Go the F** to Sleep.” I hadn’t, but of course I googled it the next day.
It seems that one night Adam Mansbach and his wife were desperately trying to get their daughter to nod off, and she was having none of it. Sleep-deprived and needing to vent, he posted a joking Facebook status update that his next book would be called “Go the F*** to Sleep.” He was kidding, but his friends responded with such excitement that he actually sat down and wrote the damn thing.
It wasn’t supposed to be released for months, but has gone viral and is selling advanced copies like wildfire before it even hits the streets, according to this: Go the F** to Sleep.
Take a look and read some the excerpts. They cracked me up. This is a lullaby for exhausted and bleary-eyed mommies and daddies if there ever was one.
As I sit here typing this, my local news channel is holding a debate about the book. There are a lot of folks, mostly parents, who think the whole idea is offensive. Some of the comments I’ve heard have been:
– Something like this shouldn’t be written in the style and format of a children’s book.
– People will read this to their kids, and that’s just wrong.
– Sure, this is funny, but in today’s times we just can’t joke about such things. (Huh, WTF?)
To these people, I say “Go the F*** to the Personality Upgrade Store and Buy Yourself a Sense of Humor.”
This book isn’t meant for kids. It is the brainchild of an exhausted dad who, instead of taking out his frustrations by downing booze straight out of the bottle or banging his head against the wall, sat down and wrote a funny piece that will let other parents have a laugh and vent vicariously. As far as people reading it to their kids, maybe that’s unavoidable. Stupid is as stupid does.
But guess what? Kiddos who have parents who use this book as a bedtime story because the cover makes them think of “Where the Wild Things Are” will most likely be exposed to the F-word and more long before they should anyway. That is not on the author’s head.
My favorite was a comment from one my local newscasters, who said something along the line of “she’s totally against this book because children are miracles and as parents we just have to do whatever it takes …”
Does that mean parents can’t vent about it, especially in such a funny way? Its not like the guy left his daughter awake and screaming in the bedroom while he went off and wrote his book. Blowing off some steam by picking up “Go the F*** to Sleep,” having a chuckle and knowing they aren’t alone in their feelings might help sleep-deprived, frustrated parents do whatever it takes” even better.
I’m not a momma, but I know from my own childhood memories that if “Go the F*** to Sleep” had been around then, they would have bought it and had a good stress-relieving laugh. I remember being constipated as a kid, and whining all day because my tummy hurt and I was afraid to go to the bathroom. Both my mother and father cajoled, wheedled, tummy-rubbed and gritted their teeth through the storm.
Deep down, I know they were thinking “will you PLEASE just go take a shit already?” And I’m totally okay with that. They were wonderful parents. I didn’t grow up emotionally scarred, sullen and in need of therapy because they were a little irreverent and would admit without qualms that although they wouldn’t trade it for the world parenthood was a pain in the ass.
I think one of the reasons so many new parents struggle is they aren’t allowed to admit that in spite of all the joys, sometimes the lifestyle sucks. Admitting that you wish your bundle of joy would just let you get some damn shut-eye is “wrong.” If new parents complain about being exhausted or stressed or missing certain things about pre-kid life, they have to look over their shoulders and make sure the Mommy and Daddy police aren’t coming up behind them with pitchforks.
Adam Mansbach is breaking down that barrier with some fun. His book admits that “it is okay to think ‘go the f*** to sleep” when your brain is fried, your bundle of joy won’t stop crying, and you REALLY miss your bed. You’re only human. Instead of joining your kiddo in a frustrated wail, read this and laugh a little.
The book is already selling like hot cakes. All the humorless critics will do is give it more publicity, and I’m glad.
More power to Mansbach. Since I don’t have kids, no one will have to worry about me incorporating it into their bedtime ritual when I buy my copy.
As to the question of what his daughter will think about the whole thing when she’s older? I can’t predict that, but if she’s anything like me, it will probably be something like “Oh hells yeah, I made daddy famous.” Especially when she gets to go to the college of her choice without working 3 jobs to get there, because daddy can afford it.