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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Go the F**k to sleep a copycat?

The most talked about literary phenomenon of the moment seems to be the startling rise of a foul-mouthed book about non-sleeping infants that absolutely every new parent -- or old parent with a good memory -- can relate to.

Go the F**k to Sleep is not due out until June 19, but it is already top of Amazon's bestseller list, and there are over 275,000 copies in print.

The profanity-sprinkled parody of a children's bedtime story book has attracted huge attention from all kinds of people ... including Jean Feiwel, senior vice-president of Macmillian Children's Publishing, whose ears certainly pricked up when she first listened to the foul-mouthed rhymes.

She is amazed that no one has picked up the similarity of Go the F**k to Sleep and It's Time to Sleep, My Love, a bedtime lullaby book by Eric Metaxas, with art by Nancy Tillman.

There are currently about five million copies of Tillman's six children's books in print -- or so reports Sally Lodge, of Publishers Weekly.

Macmillan has issued a press release comparing the two books.  It also features side-by-side views of the two kinds of art.

To my mind, this is a ridiculous attempt to jump onto a madly racing (and very profitable) bandwagon. Adam Mansbach, author of the runaway parody, is the New Voices Professor of Fiction at Rutgers University, and author of two forbidding-sounding novels, The End of the Jews and Angry Black White Boy.  Obviously, the poor guy is a nerd, and desperately ill-equipped for the strident demands of an infant.

As Jean Feiwel admits, his expletive-filled book does look a lot like the inspiration born of a hysterical, freak-out moment.

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