Audiobook Review: Go the F—k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

15 06 2011

Go the F—k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Read by Samuel L. Jackson

Audible, Inc.

Genre: Bedtime Story

Quick Thoughts: A Shocking amount of profanity makes this bedtime story a questionable choice for children.

Grade: B-

Warning: Review may contain mild story spoilers

Often times, when questioned by my therapist, or an ex-girlfriend or two why I am the way I am, I explain simply that my mother never read bedtime stories to me as a child. At least, I don’t remember her doing so. No Goodnight Moon, no Purple Crayons or Pokey puppies. She did not read to me in my bed, she did not read to me with her head. Now, I don’t blame her, I had two younger brothers, one of them a severe bedwetter, who required her bedtime attentions, and, well she was a single mother of four. Plus, Big Bird and Grover taught me to read at a really young age. So, it was with a sort longing brought about by deep psychological trauma that I gave a listen to Go the F–k Asleep by Adam Mansbach from Audible. Now, while the pricing of this tale of a father struggling with doubts of his quality of parenthood while attempting to lull his child to sleep appealed to my frugality, my psyche was further hampered upon discovering the reading of the book was done by Samuel L. Jackson. You see, ever since watching a pre-release showing of Shaft, I wanted Samuel L. Jackson to be my father. I was 26 when that movie came out. Well, enough about me, let’s talk about the book.

On the surface, Go the Fuck to Sleep, is a poetic bedtime story. I was shocked by some of the risks Mansbach took with his poetry, often breaking away from the Iambic pentameter. Some of the rhythms of the tale of all the creatures that were sleeping during the nearly 40 minute long attempt by the anonymous father to encourage his child to join them were hampered by the obvious emotions of the situation. When the father would yell out things like, “F__K your stuffed bear, I ain’t getting you shit” I feel even a child would find the pacing awkward at best. I also had some concerns with the accuracy of the story. I am pretty sure that some of the animals mentioned are nocturnal, and others, like whales, may not operate on the same sleep schedule as humans. Also, some of the wording was poor, allowing us to assume that cubs and lions were huddled together, which is highly unlikely. Maybe better editing would have helped make this book a little more consistent. Despite these problems, I feel the book did a good job capturing the feel of a child’s bedtime story, although the ones I remember reading, by myself, never had as much cursing.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson narrates this tale. I feel he really nailed the asides made by the father like, “I know you’re not thirsty, that’s bullshit. Stop lying.” yet his overall reading of the more mundane childlike poetry about field mice and sparrows lacked the same level of oomph. I would like to see what someone like Christopher Walker or Bob Dylan would have done with the reading. I did enjoy the lullaby tunes that played in the background. I never really got to listen to lullabies as a child, although my dad did often play “I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues” by Elton John at nighttime when I was trying to sleep on weekend visits. Maybe the lullabies would have calmed my nightmares, but here, they play perfect counterpoint to the emotional outburst of the father. While I enjoyed the satiric and caustic nature of Go the Fuck to Sleep, I wonder if it would have made a better betimes story if the profanity and abusive nature of the father was toned down. I don’t think I would buy this book, or play the audiobook for my children. Of course, I have no children, but I have 5 nephews and a niece and I would leave it up to their parents to decide whether this was appropriate for them. I probably wouldn’t recommend it though. You know, for kids.



6 responses

15 06 2011

Just wanted to let you know this audiobook is offered for free at Here’s the link in case others might want to hear it for FREE. 🙂 Have a great day.

Go The F–k to Sleep: Free Audiobook

15 06 2011

I would hope that no one actually buys this in order to read this to their children! It’s much more of a joke for parents who can relate. I received the pdf in an email and saw a video on Youtube with Samuel L. Jackson’s narration. It’s hysterical and right up my alley. I have step children, and I know how it is when it’s bedtime but they just won’t go to sleep! These are the things that go on inside our heads, and that’s why it’s funny 🙂 Thanks for the review!

Mickey @ imabookshark

15 06 2011

That is a genius review. I only hope, one day, to get up the inspiration to right a review that funny someday!

30 08 2011
Roof Beam Reader

Just echoing a comment above – this isn’t actually a children’s picture book. It’s a parody of bedtime story reading, for parents. I think it’s important for readers to know that, going in – because it’s definitely not important for kids (and doesn’t make much sense as a children’s picture book). As an adult/parent joke, though – it makes perfect sense. 🙂

30 08 2011

I guess I should say that I know fully that this is a parody of a children’s book. The review was supposed to be a bit of tongue in cheek humor.

3 06 2012
Armchair BEA 2012: Introductions « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] have to admit, my favorite post I have written is my review of Adam Mansbach’s Go The F*ck to Sleep. It really was a joke review, and some people I guess didn’t get that. My other post I would […]

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