Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Go the fuck to sleep

I stumbled across this article yesterday about a picture book for adults called GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP which is about a father's desperate attempts to get his three year old daughter to go to bed.

It's funny, sad, and genius. The author wrote it in a moment of desperation and exhaustion one night when he could not get his daughter to go to bed. He jokingly posted on facebook that his next book would be called go the fuck to sleep and got a heap of positive responses so he went ahead and published the thing as a children's e-book. A CHILDREN'S EBOOK.

It has not been published in print yet but it is already at the top of the amazon's best seller list and the movie rights have been optioned by Fox. I don't know what I find more shocking about this story: how one random idea can become bottled lightning and attract so much attention, how a book could achieve so much fame and hype before being published by a relative unknown writer, or that the thing was first released as a frigging e-picture book.

The e-picture book is a rare item. Some online publishers do them but for the most part it is still struggling to emerge because children want to hold books in their hands so they can rip them, draw on them, take them to school, sleep with them, etc. It is harder to make them sit on your lap in front of the computer and stare at a picture-ebook on the screen and keep their attention.

I think picture e-books will one day become popular, the technology just has to catch up a little, so kids will be able to read them on ipads and things in beautiful colour with sounds and video.

As for this book, what amazes me is the number of people who think it is really for kids and do not know that there are picture books printed for adults. We used to have some in my high school library. This book is satire. Yes, it looks like a picture book, and you know what? I WOULD read this to my kids. I have no problem with swearing, I think it is a healthy way to release anger, while it can be rude to swear at someone, I do not have a problem with swearing in satire or swearing when I get stung by a bee or fall on the ground.

So many people are freaking out at the idea of reading this book to kids. Number one, most real young children will not realise there is swearing in it, because kids do not realise what swear words are or that they are "bad" or "rude" until they at least around eight or ten. You know what kids will hear when they read this book? Poems. They will look at the pictures and not really focus on the words much at all. They will listen to the poetic structure of the story, yes, but the actual meanings of the words themselves will be lost on their tiny, innocent minds.

If I was tired, desperate, and on the verge of loosing my temper, I would read this book to my children because it would be a way for me to unleash some of my tension, maybe smile a little, and at the same time beg for them to please GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.

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