Go the F**k to Sleep Book Review

June 13, 2011 |  by  |  book review, featured

Parental Catharsis in Profane Children’s Book

Kids and sleep is like the cat having a hairball on the carpet. It’s a problem everybody is likely to face eventually, nobody particularly likes dealing with it while it’s going on, everybody prefers to forget about it after it’s been dealt with, and it’s not particularly cool to be a person who writes about it on the internet.

Yet occasionally the pop culture God’s throw you a gift, like the latest book from Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortez called Go the F**k to Sleep. This book is probably the closest kid’s and sleep will EVER come to being COOL. It’s so cool it made it into the New Yorker and the Huffington Post. It’s so cool it’s currently the bestselling parenting book on Amazon and #2 bestselling book overall. It’s cool, funny, controversial, and profane.

WARNING – some profanity used in this post.

What’s it About?

See picture above.

Should You Buy It?

If the picture above makes you laugh then yes. It is funny, the pictures are great, and I think it’s a worthy investment of your $8 to get some parental catharsis in the form of a bestselling book. Sure you love them, yes they are a precious gift, but sometimes you just want them to go the F to sleep. I think my favorite part is the last page which goes:

We’re finally watching our movie.
Popcorn’s in the oven. BEEP.
Oh shit. Goddamnit. You’ve got to be kidding.
Come on, go the f**k back to sleep.

Why It’s Controversial

Well it’s clearly profane. And clearly I’m not bothered by this but you may be and that’s OK too. The most ardent critics seem bothered by the idea that there should be no profanity in a children’s book. Presumably they are concerned that given the label “children’s book”, some parents might overlook the profanity and actually read this book to their children. If you are reading this book to your children I would suggest that you probably have far bigger problems on your parenting plate than profanity.

One reviewer on Amazon had this to say: “No child should ever have to listen to this story. I would never read this to children.”

Hear hear. But I would send this to a friend. Because sometimes you need a good laugh. And to know you aren’t alone.

Did Somebody Say Samuel L. Jackson?

The cool quotient just hit factor 10 because Samuel L. Jackson has recorded Go the F**k to Sleep as an audio book. You can check out a video of Mr. Jackson making the recording or simply download a free mp3 (for a limited time) from Audible. This may be a more brilliant pairing than wine and cheese.


  1. I think this book is the perfect congratulatory gift for new parents…after the baby is born. I am personally buying at least 10 copies so that as soon as I get those birth announcements, I can pop ’em off into the mail. I’ll have to hide them from my brood, however, as I do not want “Go the Fuck to Sleep” to become a bedtime book favorite. 😉

    • I can’t tell if it’s a better new baby gift or something you hold on to until baby’s first birthday. The upside would be that the parents would actually “get it” then. The downside is that this kid would be surrounded by stacking toys, board books, and Thomas the Train. And that hugely profane book YOU brought 🙂

      Speaking of, the people who wrote these ardent reviews on Amazon freaking out about the travesty of this book sounded alarmingly like Gladys Kravitz. (Does anybody get that reference without the help of Wikipedia?)

  2. Venturing to say that 95% of us have actually said these words out loud. Very funny read! Not sure I would spend any money on it though! Agree that it would be a cute gift.

    • I also have outgrown the target for this book, which I suspect is parents of kids <2. Plus I would be a pretty poor advertisement for my own blog if I was still struggling at bedtime 😉

      Although like Mary I think I might want a few copies on hand for friends. Three years back I would have LOVED it!

  3. I am seriously going to have to buy this book and I see it’s even available for the kindle. I think the physical format would work better in this instance though (and it’s cheaper, completely defeating half the point of ebooks!).

    I have a few friends who’d certainly appreciate it too. Will be doing some posting on facebook methinks …..

    • Sorry to spam your comments area lol, but wanted to update you on something.

      You can only get the free audio download from audible if you have a credit card registered in the US. Unfortunately, as I’m in the UK, this means I can’t get it.

      However, there’s a video of the audio reading (with accompanying pictures of pages from the book) on youtube. This link will let you view it without logging in (it’s flagged for adult content, so otherwise you must be a youtube member to see it).


      • Becky – just to be clear you could NEVER spam me. Comments make my day 🙂

        Also I wanted to apologize for my horribly American-centric view of the net. My apologies to any non-US readers and a big thanks to Becky who found a boundary-free version to share!

  4. I listened to it (read by Samuel L Jackson) and OMG I laughed until I peed. A huge bonus is all the pictures of the big cats sleeping… I love cats, would love to lie down and sleep with them, but that baby in the pictures goshdarnit, he wants to play! Love it.

  5. I think this book is pathetic and useless- either a true sign of the sad state of modern society, or a true reflection on modern technology’s ability to give any moron the opportunity to have such trash published internationally.
    In any event- harrowing!

    • Harrowing? Well that is definitely a strong opinion. If you wanted to argue that Ke$ha was a sign of the coming apocalypse I might be able to see your point of view. Personally this book seems more like harmless fun.

      But thanks for sharing your view – I know that it evokes a strong response and exciting to have one voiced here!

    • I totally agree. It’s just gross. The fact that it’s a bestseller really disappoints me.

  6. Only when you are a parent do you realize that this is just how it feels sometimes when your little one doesn’t ever seem to want to sleep…and you want them to so desperately.

  7. I would totally read this to my kid – he’s 7 months and he has no idea what I’m saying so long as I read it in a sing-song voice. Have you seen the book, “All My Friends Are Dead”? Not as brilliant but you should check it out.

    • Hey Matt,
      Can your wife grab some video of you singing the Go to F*ck to Sleep book to your baby? I think that is something we would all really appreciate 😉

  8. In late July my husband and 14 month old son (me at 8 wks pregnant) went on vacation with my brother and sister in law and their 2 year old and 7 month old. We had a cabin in the Smoky Mountains (which, incidentally, is a 14 hr drive away) and our two rooms were right next to each other. I think the cry fest that occurred every night/nap time – not to mention in the CAR – was the reason I fell in love with this book. One night, after all the kids were finally sound asleep, my Brother in Law pulls out his computer and read this book out loud. I have never laughed so hard, or felt the words ring so true!

    • Was JUST at the local bookstore (Feb 2012) and somebody was buying a copy so I asked the owner, “How is this book selling for you?”

      Answer, “We can’t keep it on the shelves.”

      I think it speaks to a lot of people 😉

  9. It’s brilliant, I’ve ordered it for us and a couple of other families with newborn twins. I have a sneaky suspicion we will know it by heart pretty soon.

    • I wish I had written it! Both because then people would be saying I am brilliant. And I would be retiring on all the money I would be making with my bestselling Go the F to Sleep book sales 🙂

  10. This is a little late (about a year or so) but I read this book before my now 10 month daughter was born. I found it awful and disturbing and mean. Then I had my daughter and it became a theme in our house for a few months and something we occasionally find ourselves repeating on the (now) rare nights she doesn’t want to sleep. Very funny indeed! And something every new parent can enjoy 🙂

  11. this book is genius. i effing love it. and you know what? it just keeps getting better. when my son was 6 months and our friends gave it to us, i thought it was hilarious. now that he’s 2.5 and using every excuse under the sun not to go to sleep, i think it’s even MORE hilarious. and accurate.
    love it.

  12. The best version of this on YouTube for Australians is Noni Hazelhurst from PlaySchool reading it. Priceless!!

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