John J.'s Reviews > Go the Fuck to Sleep

Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
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's review
Aug 29, 2016

did not like it
bookshelves: humor
Read in June, 2011

I read Go the F*k to Sleep at the B&N in Union Station a few minutes before I had to catch a train after a long day of work to return home to my sometimes fussy two-month old daughter. After seeing all of the hype and the Amazon preorder sales rankings, I thought it would be ROFLMFAO funny.

It was not. It wasn't ROFLMAO funny, nor even LMAO funny... neither was it ROFL funny nor LOL funny. Maybe I don't have a sense of humor. Or maybe my kid is a frakking saint...

Or maybe this book is nothing more than a steaming pile of cash cow patties. The illustrations are not funny at all. If you ignore the text and rely only on the illustrations, you would have no sense of the frustration the author is attempting to convey. You might say, "But that's ironic because the tranquil images are in stark contrast with the narrator who is frustrated enough to drop F-bombs on a toddler." Perhaps, but irony isn't always funny; sometimes it just compels you into a self-satisfied smirk for understanding "adult" humor simply because you happen to have lived through more than fifteen or so years of human existence. Congratulations on your successful traipse through time - it took a lot of skill and determination to age.

The illustrations fail to tell a story because there is no story. There is no narrative. There is no conflict, and thus no resolution. There is no development of character. In fact, the only characters appear to be an inconsolably whining kid, and her a$$hole father.

I suppose the poems are the meat and potatoes of this tale of woe. But they're terribly amateurish. You want irony? Here it is: In a book of poems marketed as a children's book written for adults, the poems appear to have been written by a foul-mouthed five-year old. Here's the sample poem quoted in an article from The New Yorker:

The cats nestle close to their kittens now.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the fuck to sleep.

Cats nestling kittens. That's cute. But why "now"? "Now" doesn't even rhyme with anything. It's certainly not there to bolster the meter which, as far as I can tell, is nonexistent. In fact, the poem sounds better if you take out the superfluous "now." Are the kittens being nestled to sleep, or to suckle? Maybe they're hungry. Maybe your crying kid is hungry. Try feeding your kid. We also have some lambs and sheep. FYI, the past participle of "to lie" is "lain," not "laid." Ok, everyone is tired... the kid is cozy and warm in bed. Hang on... If the kid is cozy and warm, she is probably asleep. If she isn't asleep, she is probably not cozy, possibly not warm, and maybe neither. Wherefore "my dear"? Again, I'm tripping over forced metrical filler. Sheep - sleep. Ba dump ka-ching.

Perhaps you find this schlock amusing, and who am I to argue with taste? But if you are entertained by this kind of thing, here's my advice (in poetic form):

Over life's box of chocolates time flows, like caramel,
And now you're no longer a pup.
You're older, fatter, lazier, and now you have a baby,
So grow the fuck up.

JJTC 8/29/2016
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02/08 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Shawna I agree with everything you said, especially the part about nestling, snuggling, etc.

Sometimes small kids are just lonely and it can help them drift off if we climb into their beds with them and let them snuggle for awhile. It works wonders, and is much more nurturing than a cold, "Go the F to sleep, my dear."

Love your poetic advice!

message 2: by Matty (new)

Matty Awesome review

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