Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
By now, you’ve probably heard of the latest publishing world sensation, a slim title with a seemingly kid-focused cover and the not-for-kids title Go the F–k to Sleep. The book, written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, mimics the cadences and rhythms of a children’s book, mixing heartwarming and sleep-inducing images–”The wind whispers soft through the grass, hon. / The field mice, they make not a peep”–with the vented frustration of a parent hoping against hope that his or her little one will finally settle down: “It’s been thirty-eight minutes already. / Jesus Christ, what the f–k? Go to sleep.”
Funny, right? I thought so. My wife thought so. The thousands of people who made this book #1 on Amazon even before it was published must think so.
But Katie Roiphe doesn’t think it’s funny. Writing in Slate, she points to what she sees as “a certain nastiness” in the book, an “anger or hostility [that] is aimed at children.” It is, to her eyes, the tale of parents who’ve wrapped their lives so tightly around their children that they can see nothing else beyond the nursery walls and long, fruitlessly, for some TV time with their spouses. To these parents “full of rage,” Roiphe puts her closing bit of advice in the mouth of the book’s fictional kids: “If those sweet-faced children, so gorgeously drawn by Ricardo Cortés, could talk back would they say: ‘Put on a f—ing dress. Have a f—ing drink. Stop hovering over us. Live your own goddamned life.’”
But where Roiphe sees the rage of repressed dreams, I see something else entirely. (more…)Add a Comment