Practically overnight, a frustrated Facebook post turned author Adam Mansbach into the bad boy of parenting. The post also morphed into a New York Times bestseller, Go the F*** to Sleep. Camouflaged as a children's book, this satirical nursery rhyme laced with profanity is accompanied by picturesque illustrations of owls, Gerber babies, and sleepy lions—all meant to soothe parents more than kids. You'd be hard pressed to find a mother or father (or aunt or babysitter) who hasn't had at least an inkling of this aggravation at bedtime with a toddler:
"The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest.
And the creatures who crawl, run, and creep.
I know you're not thirsty. That's bullshit. Stop lying.
Lie the f**k down, my darling, and sleep."
Mansbach claims he doesn't take any of the success of Go the F*** to Sleep for granted, but the book doesn't really represent his body of work. In a conversation with local musician John Roderick of the Long Winters, Mansbach will dive into his new novel, Rage Is Back, about a pot-dealing prep school dropout who's also the son of a long-lost legendary graffiti artist in NYC. After 16 years missing, his father returns to take revenge on a transit cop, now running for mayor, who ruined his life years before—and, naturally, Dad needs his son's help. (There's also some time travel involved.) Expect a lively discussion about the crafting of Mansbach's new book, the humors of parenting, and if we're lucky, some insight into working with Samuel L. Jackson. The actor lent his voice to the audio book edition of Sleep and worked with Mansbach on an Obama campaign ad encouraging us all to "Wake the F*** Up."
Adam Mansbach with John Roderick: Rage Is Back
Jan 22 at 7:30, Town Hall, $5