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Book Review: Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

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As a mother of two boys now aged 11 and 13 I can only wish that this book had been written when I was struggling through sleepless nights and ghastly bedtimes with my little dears! I think that any parent with young children will recognise the tone of voice in which this book is written – recognising the frantic desperation and ever present guilt suffered by parents. I would have loved, as I cried myself to sleep, to have known that I was not alone in being “fed up”, to say the least, with being a mum!

I laughed out loud at the beautifully written lines which would give a Gruffalo a run for his money! The juxtaposition of gorgeous illustrations, courtesy of Ricardo Cortes, and the poetry that mimics many a children’s story book taps into the rebellious side of any parent. Each stanza ends with a desperate, but wickedly funny line that had me giggling with guilty understanding.

At a glance Go the F**k to Sleep with its bright paintings of babies, kittens, moonlight, and mountains would slip into any nursery bookcase, but maybe this would not be a wise idea. It’s more a guilty pleasure – to be savoured away from young eyes.

I think that this book should definitely take its place as a compulsory gift, given about three weeks after becoming first time parents. It’s about this time you realise that having a baby is not a laugh a minute and the guilt over the thought that maybe having a baby wasn’t such a great idea after all, is just kicking in. Haggard and exhausted parents the world over would benefit from a read of this, accompanied by a glass of wine or a large bar of chocolate. Possibly both.

Adam Mansbach has taken a bold step in writing a book that totally understands an unspoken part of parenthood. I don’t imagine there are too many parents who can honestly say they don’t identify with Mansbach’s take on the art of being a mum or dad and haven’t spent time trying desperately to get a child to sleep. Part of me cringes at the use of the “F” word like this, but somehow it works. It’s funny – very funny. Placing an expletive in the title of what appears to be a children’s book is a real taboo, but obviously, this is not a children’s book and when you are drowning in a never-ending stream of nursery rhymes in the sugary sweet realm of early parenthood Go the F**k to Sleep is a refreshing shot of reality.

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  • patricia steward

    This little book is hilarious! It certainly took away my guilt from all those sleepless nights.