MANSBACH, ADAM. Go the Fuck to Sleep. New York: Akashic Books, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-61775-025-0. Unpaged. $14.95.
What is the purpose of a book like Adam Mansbach's Go the Fuck to Sleep? It's good for a laugh, I suppose, but I could have gotten my laugh at the bookstore without actually dropping $14.95 plus tax. I suppose this could make a good gag gift for the parents of a juvenile insomniac, but it's only funny the first time and it's actually only funny for the first page, given that it's got the same punch line at the end of every one after. And you can't read it to your kids unless you want them calling you a "fuck" by their third birthday, so...Why are people buying this?
Probably because this book was written for a certain kind of parent, one who enjoys a laugh at the expense of their small child and who also happens to have money to burn. This hypothetical parent probably lives in Park Slope and, upon seeing that Jonathan Lethem wrote the blurb on the cover ("Total genius"), thought it would make a good addition to their collection of, what? overpriced gimmicks? This book is truly a mystery to me. I laughed out loud once. But mostly I was dumbfounded and not a little creeped out by Ricardo Cortés's illustrations, which include fuzzy, sleeping animals, and frighteningly proportioned toddlers. Or maybe this is just a manifestation of my fear of small children.