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Enough already

Okay, I laughed when I saw the cover of Go the Fuck to Sleep and I laughed again at least through the first half of the pdf of the whole book that has been making the rounds. But when it became A Thing and a big prepub bestseller and people all over the net lining up to buy it and baby-shower it, I realized it’s at heart just a potty-mouthed version of It’s All About Me, yet another book that allows parents to feel cool and special and hardworking and essential to the little baby for whom they so graciously interrupted their fucking stupid hipster douchebag lives.

Yes, I do feel better, thanks for asking.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Anonymous says:

    >Best Read Roger post ever!!

  2. Sue Fisher says:

    >I most heartily agree.

  3. >Seriously? Have you ever tried to put a toddler to sleep? I love my little boy dearly, I haven't the slightest regret about having him, and I spend inordinate amounts of time with him. But when you're tired and the kid is all "one more story" or "I need to go pee again", then you have to empathize with the authors of this book. It's loving without being kitschy, and it's a welcome reprieve from the fairy-tale parent models that we're help up to. Doesn't make us hipster douche-bags. Douche-bag.

  4. Roger Sutton says:

    >Dubi, I seem to have missed the part where you said it wasn't about you.

  5. >Not having read the book, and not really appreciating the language so I probably won't… I wonder about a parent who speaks to their children like that. Gives me shivers, but I may be a bit prudish.

  6. Anonymous says:

    >I feel better, too.

  7. Jessica @Vegbooks says:

    >Yup, I won't be reviewing it for Vegbooks. It's a novelty, and not a very clever one. Blech.

  8. Roger Sutton says:

    >Sharon, I don't imagine many people are actually planning to read it to their kids, which is part of what depresses me. I'd love to see parents get similarly excited for a book that really is for children.

  9. >See what happens when you don't read the whole article. Got it…

  10. Anonymous says:

    >Oh, Roger, you liked it when you first saw it, but now that you see EVERYONE likes it . . . all you feel is contempt. Get off my lawn you damn hipsters!

    And Sharon, you can let go of the pearls. The book isn't meant for children. Not everything in picture book format is.

    Which is why, Roger, I can't lump it in with the "Mommy/Daddy is the Greatest" Books. Having a good time while talking about how much parenting can suck seems perfectly okay by me. Someone pass the red wine.

    HIpless and Congenitally Uncool

  11. Roger Sutton says:

    >Hipless, Fran Leibowitz taught us that people love to feel superior to their pasts so give me a break.

  12. Reverie says:

    >HEAR HEAR!!!AMEN!!!

  13. Christine Norris says:

    >When you've spent months living with a tiny being who refuses to sleep/sleep alone/sleep for more than 30 minutes, to the point where you no longer remember your own name and seriously consider giving the kid a shot just to get him to sleep, you can laugh and completely appreciate a book like that.

    I'm laughing now because mine's 8, but it wasn't funny then. I think the exact title of that book has come from my mouth at least once during those sleep-deprived, frustrating days.

    And I'm not a hipster douche bag, thanks. I guess it's only funny if you've been there? 😉

  14. >First laugh I've had all day (and I REALLY needed it). Sounds like Ian Frazier's Cursing Mommy should call her attorney. Does Mansbach now have contracts for GET THE FUCK OFF THE COMPUTER (tweens), GET THE FUCK HOME (teens), and GET A FUCKING JOB (college kid home for summer)?

  15. >PS — the laugh was for your post, Roger, not the book!

  16. melanie hope greenberg says:

    >One or two librarians posted the cover and interiors onto FB last week. It was funny at first but I was bored after a few spreads.

  17. Literaticat says:

    >I am sure that this brands me as a total square, but I not into this book at all.

    Not because of the cursing (fuck if I care about cursing) – but because it is fugly and dumb and would have been a hilarious web comic but should have stopped there.

    Movie rights? Really? Come on.

    It is like … a dude who goes out of his way to wear something super ugly and uncomfortable that doesn't fit properly or keep him warm. An extra-small brownie uniform shirt with cigarette burn holes. Yes. It's the ironic shirt of books.

    It seems like a waste of money and time and energy. Just wear a real shirt for crying out loud. *scowl*

  18. Literaticat says:

    >er – *am not into

  19. Jennifer Armstrong says:

    >It's one joke. I stopped reading the PDF after the first few spreads. One joke. So pointless. I'm not quite as worked up as you, Roger, but I honestly can't see how people think it's worth buying…

  20. >Rubbing my own bleary eyes, I wonder who is buying it? Is it the sleep-deprived parents themselves, D-bags (as KEH likes to say) or no? Or is it said parents' friends, who may in fact be the true superior-acting D-bags? And, yes, I admit, I did LOL more than once while reading the PDF. (But I definitely wouldn't shell out for the bound book.)

  21. Sleep Deprived says:

    >Thank you for being incredibly articulate. Is this book deserving of so much hype? No. You're right; it would be wonderful to see parents get similarly excited for a book that really is for children!

    Parents that choose to feel empowered by this book probably are "douche bags." However, knowing that we all make choices, whether it be to become a parent, an editor in chief, or perhaps both, sometimes the best we can do to get through a rough day or night is to have a laugh. Wouldn't you agree?

    At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. ~Jean Houston

    Yours truly,

    Sleep Deprived in San Francisco

  22. Eric Hanson says:

    >I agree. Clever, but aren't parents usually cleverer than toddlers? It's unattractive to swank about it. I wrote my own reaction to the irritations of child-rearing in a short story, a domestic comedy really, about child abandonment. Nobody wanted to publish it.

  23. >Bravo!

  24. >Well said, RS.

  25. Anonymous says:

    >On the floor rolling around due to Roger's post. A Fellow DB.

  26. KT Horning says:

    >I trust ALA can send all the inevitable press requests for interviews to you, right, Roger?

  27. >haha, I received the PDF in my inbox and just thought it was a photoshop job. Good to "see" you after all these years (linked from mental floss). Julie (CCB 92-94)

  28. Anonymous says:

    >Roger, I'm glad that you've put into exact words thoughts that have been floating around in my head everytime I see one or two of those hip and trendy parents. This book was either written for or by one of them and your blog puts 'em in check perfectly. I'm getting tired of some of these parents nowadays making it out to be as if nobody has ever had children before and nobody has ever dealt with the frustrations of parenthood. Could they imagine what it would be like to raise a child during a time when you didn't have snotty books to look at and commiserate with? NOPE.


  29. Roger Sutton says:

    >I've been thinking about the vogue, demonstrated by this book, this post, and pretty much everything the Onion publishes, of using fuck as a punchline. I think I'm making a vow never to do it again.

  30. Anonymous says:

    >Sounds like the typical hipster douchebag attitude: everyone else likes it now, so I won't like it.

    I don't have kids and found the book only mildly amusing but frankly I'd rather hear about something interesting you liked than a bunch of hipster snark.

  31. Roger Sutton says:

    >I hear you, 5:05 AM. For some great ideas about REAL baby shower books take a look here and here.

  32. MotherReader says:

    >I liked the idea of the book far more than the book. The one-note joke of the title, more than the existence of a book that people would buy – likely at the expense of buying other books for a parent.

    Sort of how I almost always prefer the Onion headlines to the articles – the best line has already been played.

    I don't get people calling the book clever, because it's just swearing that echoes our sometimes uncomfortable feelings of parents. Yeah, I get it. The concept is done to much more effect and actual cleverness in the picture book, Once Upon a Time… The End, where the classic stories get shorter and shorter as the parents' patience wears thinner. And you can actually read that book with your kid and share a bit in the joke.

  33. >Thanks for this post. I found the title funny, but I think the title is probably the best part of the joke.

    And just to offer an alternative parenting perspective – the main thing that helps me get through long nights with my toddler is reminding myself it ISN'T all about me. To me bedtime struggles are an annoyance or inconvenience, but to my daughter bedtime is still a Very Big Deal indeed.

  34. Stephen says:

    >Interesting. It seems quite likely to me that a very large number of the parents who'll end up owning this book (a) will receive it as a gift, not buy it themselves; (b) will appreciate it because it provides ONE BRIEF MOMENT of tension-breaking self-cheerleading amid a life that otherwise is indeed all about putting their child first; and (c) have enthusiastically brought home plenty of real books to read to their children and will continue to do so.

    But it's nice that you feel better. (That means it all was about you, right?)

  35. >I think it's hilarious. But like most novelties, it's basically a waste of the Earth's resources. I watched it on YouTube. I laughed (and almost cried, it's so close to home). But why would I buy it?

    Answer: I wouldn't, except as a gift to friends with a baby. And they would read it once, laugh, and then wonder what to do with it. That paper should've been allowed to remain a tree.

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