Is Go The F**k To Sleep A Parody?
In all the coverage we’ve seen of the surprise bestseller “Go The F**k To Sleep,” I never saw anybody mention that the book is apparently a parody. And not just a parody, but a parody of a book written by Eric Metaxas. He’s the New York Times bestselling author of “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.” I’m reading it right now and it’s fantastic. Bonhoeffer was an amazing guy but the biographies of him tend to be a bit dry. Not this one. Seriously, great bio for the beach.
Metaxas is probably best known for his shorter form humorous writing, which has appeared everywhere from the Atlantic Monthly to the New York Times and the Washington Post. But he has also written for children, including the book “It’s Time to Sleep, My Love.”
The title is repeated throughout the book, of course, and includes such verses as:
“It’s time to sleep,/ it’s time to sleep,/ The fishes croon in waters deep./ The songbirds sing in trees above,/ It’s time to sleep, my love, my love.”
Compare that with the later bestseller:
“The windows are dark in the town, child./ The whales huddle down in the deep./I’ll read you one very last book if you swear/ You’ll go the f**k to sleep.”
Oddly, the author is apparently claiming that there is no relationship between the 2008 book and his. Publisher’s Weekly has a bit on the competing stories. He says the similar art is also coincidental.
Okay, sure, whatever, it’s a crazy coincidence.
Over at Christianity Today, Sarah Pulliam Bailey interviews Metaxas. He says he’s not suing or anything, but neither is he totally pleased with the whole scenario:
“I’m able to appreciate how funny and well done this book is, but on the other hand, it’s saddening to me that this kind of language has found itself in the mainstream that it becomes a number one bestseller,” he said.
Metaxas, who used to write for Veggie Tales, says that he knows the context makes it humorous and speaks to the frustration many parents have with their children’s sleeping habits but is concerned about the language.
“It’s not a hill worth dying on, and I’m not speaking out harshly and denouncing it, but it’s a sad cultural marker for me,” he said about the title. “I’m fully aware of how even saying that puts you at risk of being thought prudish.”
On that note, I’m glad that I’ve been made aware of this less-abusively-titled lullaby book and I’ve ordered a copy off of Amazon. I also found this lovely lullaby rendition of the book by Sally Taylor (daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon) that was put out at the same time.