Go the F**k to Sleep, the runaway bestseller, already has a movie deal with Fox and is translated into 24 languages. It highlights the basic frustrations of parenthood and marks this generation's reality check: Parenting is hard. Adam Mansbach, the author behind the book and father to 3-year-old Vivien, dishes on why this book is important now more than ever.
How did you get the idea for the book?
Adam Mansbach: I'm a fiction writer, and I've written poetry, so I joked about my forthcoming book, Go the F**k to Sleep, on my Facebook status and everyone loved the idea. I sat down to write the book in verses, which only took me two sittings to complete, and it just worked.
How does the book reflect the changing role of the father in the modern family?
AM: Fathers are completely underrepresented in the literature of parenting, and this book really makes a father stand up and say, “I'm here too!” I wrote the book to be gender neutral and universal. The narrator could be a father or mother all the way through until you get to the penultimate page when the father creeps out of the room.
What are some of the universal truths about being a parent you believe are reflected in the book?
AM: The expectation of perfection in parenting is crippling and just simply not realistic. This book allows parents to step away from those expectations and stop berating themselves if their kid doesn't behave exactly the way they wish all the time.
What reactions have you gotten from other cultures when the book was released in countries other than the United States?
AM: My partner is Swedish, and though she loved the book, at first the Swedish community didn't get it at all. They even expressed concern about my mental health! Since then, we've settled our differences, translated the book into Swedish and it's been well-received there. Some cultures really understood and embraced the book while others weren't so keen on the idea.
How do you get your daughter to listen?
AM: Complete engagement. She knows when I'm fully tapped into her feelings and her words, and she knows when I'm distracted. If she knows I'm really talking to her and being completely in the moment, she's all ears.