Guest scribe Karen Spears Zacharias takes the best-selling novelty book for parents a little too seriously
"Go the F— to Sleep," a profanity-filled novelty book aimed at the parents of small children, has become a New York Times best-seller by nailing its many readers squarely on their funny bones.
But Adam Mansbach's jokey tome seems to have punched CNN guest columnist Karen Spears Zacharias in the nose.
In a column bluntly titled "'Go the F— to Sleep' Not Funny," Zacharias takes the mocking nature of the book to task and speaks with perhaps the only two other people in the country to have completely missed the point of the book.
Amazingly, they and the author each suggest that "Go the F— to Sleep" could pose a threat to the welfare of children.
"Nobody is suggesting that there's a connection between Adam Mansbach's book and child abuse or child neglect," writes Zacharias (pictured, right), even though she does actually sort of suggest just that. "Still, there's no denying the reason 'Go the F— to Sleep' should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children."
"I find it unsettling," Zacharias quotes an Oregon attorney as saying. "I don't like violent language in association with children."
She also tracks down Dr. David Arredondo, who offers more humorless insight.
"Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos," says the San Francisco child development expert.
Yet Dr. Arrendondo defends the book's rabid audience later in the essay — a point glossed over by Zacharias.
"The people reading this book are educated parents who actually care about their children and are frustrated that often their children don't behave the way storybooks display," says Dr. Arredondo.
Instead of mentioning that "Go the F— to Sleep" is aimed at and beloved by helicopter parents who do, in fact, pay attention to their children, or that these grown-ups are reading the book when they're not actually with their kids, Zacharias proposes a theory about why the phenomenon surrounding the title has occurred.
"Perhaps the reason Mansbach's book resonates isn't so much because of the humor, but because of the truth behind it," concludes Zacharias.
"The violent language of 'Go the F— to Sleep' is not the least bit funny when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them."
Zacharias certainly has a point there — but then again, so do many buzzkills.