Go the F— to Sleep: A Funny Book for Parents

06/24/2011 at 10:00 AM ET
Courtesy Akashic Books

When Adam Mansbach initially sat down to write Go the F— to Sleep, he was looking for a fun way to deal with his baby daughter Vivian‘s refusal to go to bed. What the novelist didn’t realize is how much the book would resonate with other parents. Before it even went to print, the funny tome made it on the New York Times bestseller list.

“I gave a reading from the book on April 23, months before it was to be published in October, just to try it out. The reaction was so strong,” Mansbach told Metro Philadelphia.

“People asked me about the book and I said they could pre-order it on Amazon. The next morning, I thought to check it and before that reading we didn’t even have an Amazon ranking, and when I checked it, it was at 125. I write novels — if they hover around the thousand mark when they’re actually published, that’s respectable.”

The book even gained a few celeb fans. Pulp Fiction and Snakes on the Plane star Samuel L. Jackson — who is known for his eloquent use of bawdy language in films and is also a father — lends his voice (and attitude!) to the audiobook version. Check out some of the footage of the recording below.

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Showing 54 comments

showbizmom on

LOVE this! Listened to it with the husband and some other parents friends. We all just about died laughing. Even my super traditional Korean in-laws got a good laugh. The author speaks the truth and I just love it!

Emilia on

I must have a poor sense of humor, because I find this to be pretty awful. Sweet images and a lullaby-rhyme, put together with “go the f*** to sleep” really is not nice, to me. I would never have thought that about or toward my babies. But I am not a swear-word user and am very sensitive to hearing them in public, media, etc.

JMO on

I think it’s funny. Remember it’s not intended for kids it’s intended for sleep deprived mothers/fathers!! You def. need a sense of humor. Even if your not one to use those words you know your thinking them 🙂

2Little on

That’s ok Emilia. You don’t have a poor sense of humor…some things are not for every body. I happen to think it’s hilarious. And that’s ok too.

Sandy on

We’ve reached an all time low. I am SO sick of the vulgarity in our world. Everywhere I go I hear parents swearing in front on their kids- especially the “F” bomb. I have turned to these so called parents (saying it in ear shot of my kids) and told them I don’t use that kind of language in front of my kids so shut up!

It’s pathetic and I feel anyone that would find this funny should get their head examined.

And don’t tell me to lighten up! It’s pathetic and that’s that.

romie on

LOL…hahaha. This is hilarious.

Grace on

Ha ha ha. every parent I know has gotten to the point of utter exhaustion and exasperation and have probably uttered this or something similar to themselves. I would never say it out loud and don’t speak like that, but that’s why it’s so funny to me. My precious babies, while loved and adored and treasured, have all brought me to this point. I don’t need a head check either. I just know how that for me, it’s important to laugh and see the humor in this crazy journey.

daria on

as the parent of a formerly-reflux baby, i completely relate to this. it’s hilarious. also, @sandy, i would never use this language in front of my children. i would also never tell someone to shut up.

showbizmom on

Just to be clear, this isn’t a book that was written for kids. The writer,publisher, and Samuel L Jackson have made that very clear. It’s a satirical book for parents about trying to get your kid to sleep. Any parent that would buy it then read it to their kids, yes I agree needs to have their head checked.

In the meantime, I’m a great parent to my girls, not perfect because no one it. I think we’re doing pretty good so far and we happen to think this book is hilarious.

Jen DC on

I read this the first time a few months ago and CRIED I laughed so hard.

I’ve felt this. I’ve seen parents feel it. I would venture to say that 97% of them have not said this aloud near their kids – but that 100% of the parents I know have THOUGHT it.

2Little on

Yikes, Sandy. Sounds like you need a nap. Go the f##k to sleep!!

Jenner on

This book is not funny at all. Our society is getting dumber with every generation; this book is proof.

Jess on

I’ve never said a bad word in my life…but I still LOVE this! Too funny!

Emilia on

I wonder if our different reactions to this book have to do with parenting styles. I love attachment parenting, and I think that in AP you really don’t feel the same level of frustration about “why won’t the little *** go to sleep?” It is not true to say that 100% of parents have felt that way, because I know I never did.

I know this is all meant in humor, and that it hits a great note with most people (and that’s awesome), apparently, but to an AP parent, something seems wrong if you have to get that annoyed by the baby.

The beauty of attachment parenting is that it makes the baby and parent both feel calmer, and for me it made the baby years really easy.

Molly on

Ummmm, if you can’t tell this book isn’t for kids you need help and also, go the f___ to sleep. Funny book 🙂

Molly on

@Jenner, your comment is ignorant. You must be proud to be an ignorant person

Tee on

Wow. Just wow. So this is what our society has come to, that people would actually defend this book. I don’t know why I’m surprised. The author of this book should be ashamed of themselves! And we wonder why children are the way they are.

tc on

Sandy so you tell someone to shut up in front of your kids? Wow pot meet kettle.

Tee on

And furthermore, People.com should be ashamed of themselves for promoting this book. I am horrified.

dd on

emilia, what the F? I am an attachment parent and I own this book AND, AND AND! i read it to my daughter (without saying the F word)! She liked it! And she went the F to sleep after I read it!

Attachment parents are not above getting annoyed by their kids (especially if you co-sleep and the kids like to kick and rock and sing themselves to sleep), it’s about your outward response to your annoyance with your child. I keep it in, like a good AP mommy, and it sucks to keep it in. It’s hard to not lash out. But you better believe I’m thinking “stop nursing every 10 minutes and GO THE F TO SLEEP.”

But thanks for perpetuating the “holier than thou” attachment parenting stereotype. This is YOUR personal attitude, plain and simple. Please don’t make it seem like if you aren’t feeling 100 percent positive about your child, that you are not AP. It is OK to feel negative thoughts about your kids. It is not OK to then behave negatively toward your kids.

Jillian on

Jen DC, I also cried from laughing!!

This book is hilarious, awesome, and perfect! I love it, love it, love it!! It is a book that me and all of my mommy and daddy friends and family have.

Emilia on

I feel like this book is just disrespectful to children.

I don’t mean respect as in looking up to them, nor allowing them to set the rules and always have their own way, or trying to put them on an adult level and be their buddy… But respect for their dignity as a human.

The book has a tone of poking fun at babies that bothers me. I just mean it bothers “me” and I am glad that so many people seem to get a kick out of it, if it resonates with something you can relate to (I didn’t have to deal with colic, luckily), but I am sure that I also represent a lot of people who find it very distasteful.

And yes, perhaps I was lucky, maybe I should not attribute it to attachment parenting, apparently it does not work the same way for everyone… but I am one person who can say that I never felt like the baby should “go the **** to sleep” so that I can go away and… what? go have a drink or go watch TV or something.

ecl on

The people getting upset by this book are just more evidence of the sad assumption promoted in our society that all moms are martyrs and should never get upset with or frustrated by or tired of their children at any moment of any day.

This causes women to have unrealistic expectations about motherhood and how hard it is and perhaps can prevent them for asking for help lest they seem weak or less of a mother.

I haven’t read this book, but I like anything that promotes a discussion about how frustrating parenting can be. Admitting this doesn’t mean you love your child any less. And wanting some time to yourself after your child goes to bed doesn’t mean you love them any less either. Everyone needs time to recuperate before the next day begins.

kristy on

To Emilia, wanting your child to “Go the F to sleep” doesn’t always have something to do with going off and drinking or watching t.v. We co-sleep. My sleep is dependant on my daughters. So yes, I have THOUGHT this, but never said it. It’s not aimed at my daughter, but at the situation.

Like any Human, we have limits and we experience frustration. Attachment parenting doesn’t make you exempt from frustration.

I don’t know your child(rens) ages, but my daughter can bring me to the brink of insanity with one more drink, I’m hungary, I have to potty, My hair hurts, my arm hurts, Theres something on my foot, Mommy open your eyes, I have teeth can I see your teeth etc, etc, etc

Mira on

Couldn’t agree with you more Emilia!

dd on

No, Emilia, when I want my kids to go the F to sleep, it’s because I want to GO THE F TO SLEEP TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I can be an attentive AP mother the next day!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kids need to sleep to grow and thrive! I want my kids to GO TO SLEEP for their HEALTH.

The F word is JUST A WORD. Take the F word out, does it still offend you?

Shannon on

LOL!!!! 🙂

SLJ is the perfect person to narrate this!

Jessie on

Wow, Emilia, sounds like you were really lucky to have kids that didn’t test your patience at bed time, ever! I am an attachment parent, but believe me, when my 18-month-old wakes up for the SIXTEENTH time to nurse, roll over me, jump, try to play, etc. believe me I am thinking GO THE F TO SLEEP.

Mom2E on

Like Kristy, I have thought this very thing in my head, in response to the situation. Having one daughter who has never slept well or gone to sleep easily, and another who is right now screaming her head off in her Daddy’s arms downstairs because she has colic, well, this book really hit home for me. It made me laugh about a stressful situation, and made me feel less alone (even though I know colic can be fairly common). Parenting is not all sunshine and roses, and I so appreciate when people bring it up so we can discuss it. Then again, I also appreciated “I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids” by Ashworth and Nobile.

J on

Well said dd!

Emilia you really have it wrong regarding you ideas that those who don’t do attachment parenting feel like “Why won’t think little sh*t go to sleep and they all want to hurry the kid to bed so they can go drink, watch TV, etc.

You may feel very calm with your baby at bedtime, but please don’t make assumptions that all non ap parents are angry fussy people trying to dump their kids off in bed at night to go party. That’s certainly how you make them sound with your comments you made about them.

Molly on

Thanks for that comments ecl and Kristy. I appreciate real comments like yours about parenting then the ones who are upset at this book. I want the truth, not some silly make-believe ideas about parenting like Emilia is trying to spread around. Her comments seem unrealistic.

Emilia on

No, it’s not make-believe. I did not have to deal with colic, which seems to have been pure luck, did not co-sleep and was just particularly lucky with bedtime, so I was never driven to want my child to go….***…to sleep. They are elementary-middle school aged now and STILL I am lucky that they have great sleep habits.

Yes, someone asked if I would like the book better without the f word YES that would be sweet! A book about “come on, baby, why won’t you go to sleep” would be delightful. This is ruined by the horrible adult terms used in it. My only objection to this book is that word and to me it is so disgusting to see it in this context, in the realm of sleepy little babies being put to bed. If I see that word, I associate it with someone being very angry. I think that word should only be used in extreme anger, or in its original context, but not to be light of and the whole reason this book strikes people as “so funny” is that it is SO WRONG to juxtapose it with the sweet world of babies. It just appeals to your sense of oddness.

Tippy on

I’m giving this to my sister at her baby shower. I think it’s hilarious!

Silvia on

Sorry, I don’t think its funny at all.

Jillian on

Emilia, I must say, I am confused on what you are thinking and why you don’t like it because I feel you keep changing the reason. Now if the reason you don’t like it is because the F word offends you….fine, but that is not the message you said to begin with. Makes your message unclear and unbelievable.

LisaS on

Guess I know what book’s going into the cart at my next check-out on Amazon! And if this book is as good as it sounds, it’ll be my new book to give to friends who are expecting.

SadieA on

Emilia, I’m not sure how you’ve heard that word used in the past, but you clearly have very negative associations with it. You said you’re sensitive to it and it means extreme anger, those feelings are usually tied to experiences you associate with the word, not the word itself. It’s a foul word, for sure, but not all of us have such strong reactions to it. So while it may be wrong or odd to you, it’s just an adult word to some of us. Neither is wrong, it just goes to show that our experiences strongly shape our perspectives.

Anonymous on

This isn’t intended for parents to read to kids! Its for a parent who needs a good laugh if their kids won’t go to sleep.

Cecelia on

My sister received this at her baby shower a few weeks ago and everyone thought it was hilarious. Glad to know there are people who actually have a sense of humour.

Toya L. on

LMAO @ These comments! I have actually thought the title of the book before. I guess I’ll have to get the book.

jessie on

i don’t even have kids and i’d buy this book,lol. i’m sure many parents would relate to this

JM on

i don’t have a problem with the word fuck. i mean there are swear words used for PEOPLE that i find horrible but this is basically a verb and i think just a swear word usually used for emphasis. i have a problem with derrogatory terms. but swearing in this way, i don’t think ever hurt anyone.

AllisonJ on

This is hilarious! I love it! Wish this book was around when my kids were little….

Jenna on

The book might be the most beautiful and delightful thing since sliced bread, but I HATE how just about everything this day includes the “F” word. It’s f’in this and f’in that. The latest movie poster for BAD TEACHER states she doesn’t give an “F.” This is just another example. Why must the word be used interchangeably like it is?

Stella Bella on

I would never say this to my child, but yes, I’ve definitely thought it. Great book, and my husband and I listen to it when we’re frustrated and need to lighten up a bit after a rough bed time!

thekeoghfamily on

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read this book, I cried. It is still so funny to me…I actually think it applies to AP moms more, because we don’t CIO, we don’t (often) have babies sleeping 12 hrs a night a 2 months (or 2 years…), so it’s not uncommon to have a baby who needs to be ‘parented to sleep’ and sometimes that’s tiring.

My 3 kids fell asleep nursing for years, then slept with me, i wouldn’t have it any other way, but I could have written this book…especially for my first kids who didn’t sleep longer than 2 hrs stretches for the first couple of years. 😀

Indira on

So funny, I actually read this in Barnes and Noble yesterday! It’s pretty funny and, I think it’s supposed to be a juxtaposition between how sweet a parent is towards their child during these moments but, how annoyed they really are inside which is normal. I don’t think its disrespectful at all parents are just regular people and frustration happens.

Maddie on

i was crying with laughter, it is absolutely hilarious! If you do a youtube search you can listen to Samuel reading the entire book. haha, good to know there are parents out there with a sense of humor (i wouldn’t read this to my kid – i took it as adults only, but i absolutely *love* this)

MiB on

Considering that both my brother and me were very hard to get to sleep (we both still have trouble going to sleep) I’m sure our parents would have loved this book some 30 odd years ago! And no, they never told us to go the F to sleep, but they have told me since that they thought it quite frequently, particularly those nights where we woke them up at 1 AM crying that we couldn’t sleep.

fuzibuni on

For those saying it’s not a children’s book… that’s sort of like saying the Simpson’s is not a cartoon. This book is sold at children’s book stores and is published and bound just like other children’s books. Hence, it is a children’s book.

MammaDucky on

@ Emilia, my twins were given liquid caffeine as infants as a preventative measure for a single apnea episode one twin had at birth. Let me tell you, that was NOT fun. I absolutely sat there in tears, begging for them to go to sleep, but it was not so I could watch TV or get a drink. It was for sleep for myself. It was short lived, and they have been awesome sleepers since. Your case is unique, just like everyone elses. Don’t make blanket statements about a group of people, you make yourself sound silly and insensitive.

Kim on

All right, I understand the critics to this book, but seriously? It’s a book written in humor about the overtiring situations WE ALL HAVE faced, whether you want to admit it or not. Raise your hand if you’re a perfect parent! Wow, no hands raised, huh? It’s not a book written for children. If you honestly read this book to your child, shame on you, and your child probably has worse things to worry about than this book anyways. It’s a book written for adults, who’ve been there, and know what it’s like to just look at your child who has gotten out of bed for the 20th time and say, “seriously, kid, go the **** to sleep already!”

I have a 3-year-old and one due in December. I’ve been there. I was there last month. I was there last week. I was there last night. I could almost guarantee you that I’ll be there tonight. To read, and in my case listen, to this book, it makes me laugh. Why? Because every parent who has ever had a baby knows the exhaustion you feel when you just want some peace and quiet. And if you never have felt that way, congratulations, Supermom! I, who am not perfect, actually enjoyed not feeling alone.

Annie W. on


melissa C. on

sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me 🙂 I love the F word don’t care who knows. Yes it is not nice to say it to your children, but again this book is for grown ups. Yes babies are sweet yada yada that doesn’t mean when u are tired and they are crying they aren’t little devils at the time. My first boy teethed for 2 years straight numerous times i yelled in frustration what do you want. Please don’t tell me you are mother mary and u walk around with angel wings. We mothers deal with a lot of shit, literally sometimes, all over us we are allowed to say the F word sometimes. Especailly if you are covered in baby poo and the phone is ringing and your mother in law is knocking on the door and both your kids are crying for different reasons the only word that feels efficient at the time is F**K.