Go the Fuck to Sleep (pictures by Ricardo Cortés) is a joke in the form of a book, a dull and repetitive and vulgar joke, and a dull and repetitive and vulgar book, one that commodifies snark and makes a pretense of transgression. Note the coy cover, dodging the forbidden word, the better to display the book in stores. How edgy.
As a parent who was sometimes up at all hours, and who read and made up many stories to induce sleep (sometimes conking out while so doing), I never felt the impulse to say or think anything even close to what this book’s title says. (Honest.) My interest, 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 a.m., was in caring for someone who needed all the care I could offer. That’s what being a parent often calls for: selflessness. It comes with the territory.
The title Go the Fuck to Sleep might prompt the perennial child-question: “Why?” We never hear a child ask that question in the book, but the answer is clear: because mommy and daddy want to do what they want to do (“We’re finally watching our movie”). To which one might say, in the spirit of the book: please grow the fuck up.