Go the Fuck to Sleep: What if a mother wrote it?

You’ve heard of that “Go the Fuck to Sleep” book that’s coming out, right? And that Samuel Jackson has a free Audible.com reading of it available now? I downloaded the Samuel Jackson reading, and yes, he is perfect for it.

If you’ve ever been a sleep deprived zombie, like I am right now–holing up in Target might not have been the best idea, some people were infected, but luckily throwing huge bottles of detergent knocked their heads in, was a bit splattery, but anyway–you know what it’s like to have a hard time getting your kid, yes, the fuck to sleep! Especially when it seems highly likely they have been changed out for an evil creature of the fae.

Here’s an article by Nick Duerden of The Guardian about the author, and here’s a notable quote:

One thing he [Adam Mansbach] never envisaged was becoming was a writer of subversive children’s rhymes. But then, he argues, he’d never had children before, and didn’t realise what a rich source of inspiration they could be. “The first couple of years were pretty rough, though I should point out that it was my partner who dealt with it 75% of the time. In fact, she has only permitted me to speak about the book at all if I make it clear to everyone I talk to that it was mostly her. She says that if she hadn’t been so tired herself, she’d have written it.” The bolding is mine, for emphasis.

I don’t think he should have gone for the funny and made it seem like his partner forced him to tell reporters that she actually did most of the work, and not him. I think he could have phrased this better. As in, “My partner [does she have a name?] did most of the work, suffered the most sleep deprivation, and couldn’t write this herself because of it. Also, if SHE had written it, mother’s groups and the far conservative right would have been crawling up her ass in indignation that a MOTHER would dare think these things about her own child. But since I’m the dad who isn’t putting in nearly the same amount of time as she is, and I’m expected to be creative and don’t have all that Motherhood, America and Apple Pie shit to think about, I ran with it. And now look! I’m surprisingly successful!”

Okay, so that’s a bit heavy-handed, but if you have to spell it out, that’s what you’ve got to do. Oh, Nick Duerden, the article writer? I don’t know if there’d been an agreement not to mention her, but I didn’t see mention of Adam Mansbach’s wife/significant other’s name at all. Fail, people. And doing a little more hunting, there’s no other article I could find (but that I might have missed) where his partner even comes up at all. So maybe Nick didn’t do such a bad job after all.

It is a very funny book, and I couldn’t stop laughing while listening to Jackson read it. I wonder if it would have met with the same success if a woman had written it.

ETA: Welcome to Blog Like It’s the Apocalypse 2011! 😀


  1. Casey says

    Wow, I didn’t know this was like, REALLY getting popular…I found it in a beatnik/hipster/etc. bookstore in San Francisco last Saturday and was amused by it…

    I’m trying (very poorly) to explain to someone right now on DeviantArt that having a mental handicap on the autism spectrum doesn’t mean you lack empathy, or that someone without any empathy automatically equals them having DA AUTISM (she doesn’t seem to understand what NPDs/APDs are) so I can’t really think properly about how different the reactions would be if a woman wrote it, I only know that my mom would still LOL….

  2. says

    I watched the YouTube and it was fucking hilarious. I thought it was interesting that SLJ talked about telling his daughter to “go the fuck to sleep” so many times that she started repeating it. There’s this social convention that we all have to pretend cuss words don’t exist around children, and I know somebody somewhere thinks it’s a form of child abuse *eyeroll* to let a little girl say “fuck”.

    When I first heard the title, I thought instantly of K, my mom’s BFF. She is a fabulous mother of four and has a mouth like a sailor. One story we love to tell about her took place in the middle of the summer. She was sitting in the car about to leave, talking to my mom out the car window. It was humid and baking hot outside and suddenly she realized her car was blowing hot air instead of cold. “Who turned the fucking heat on?” she demanded. The four-year-old piped up from the back seat, “I turned the fucking heat on!” She scolded him and moved on, not seeming to notice anything unusual about the exchange. We all think it’s fucking hilarious. But we have told this story to people who think K is a terrible mother for cussing in front of her kids and for not correcting her children when they cuss.

    So I absolutely think there’s a double standard where mothers are judged more harshly than fathers for the same behavior.

  3. says

    Ahhh, Target! That explains the sounds. After I woke up (I don’t remember going to sleep, which would alarm me more if I had found shelter since then, or if my sleep patterns weren’t already disturbed) I could hear everything, but I could also… smell it. Can’t you guys smell them coming? The undead reek. Ugh.

    I for one think it would be funnier if Mansbach’s partner had written it. I viewed the book as coming from a gender-neutral position because I tend to project, and having experience with young children, could relate. And would so read it to my own children and/or relatives’ children. But then again, I’m sometimes so weirdly liberal that I lose sight of the conservative norm. *shrugs*

    It’s a full moon again tonight. I’ve been trying to nap during the day to stay alert during the night, but whether it’s from hunger or fatigue, I keep blacking out, and it’s terrifying. I always come to in safety, but I’m never sure how I get there, and if the shopping centers weren’t so overrun with the stench of rot and the sounds of shuffling and moaning, I’d “loot” (remember, for minorities, it’s looting) for some soda or something.

    Y’all are my only tie to civilization, and I hope for your continued safety. Wish me luck. –G

  4. says

    Hmmm. I’m going to start asked people this question myself. But, I definitely think it wouldn’t be received as well as it is, if it had been written by a woman. Absolutely. Motherhood is put on this iconic pedestal that makes it hard for mothers, themselves, to live up to. And they shouldn’t have to. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. [Having chosen not to have children, I see this with my friends, especially with the whole breastfeeding guilt trip thing.] Fathers have it easier, because in this day and age still, they’re still commended for doing the very least of things.

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