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Sh** My Dad Says vs. Go the F*** to Sleep

June 17, 2011

PROFANITY ALERT!! 

Normally we at Dysfunctional Literacy avoid the use of profanity, but this is a site that reviews literature (occasionally), and these two books are currently on the bestsellers’ lists and are relevant.  We will do our best to handle any vocabulary issues tastefully. 

Sh** My Dad Says by Justin Halpern 

The author was a writer for Maxim and… Maxim has writers? 

Some of the book is funny.  Most of it reads like a magazine article, which makes sense because the author worked for a magazine that’s not really known for articles.  I read the book on a plane, and it was entertaining both before and after the dramamine.  The problem is that the author isn’t that interesting.  He has a fairly pedestrian life, and I kept saying to myself, “This guy works for Maxim?” 

The dad, however, is interesting, but Halpern doesn’t dig deeply enough for us to learn about the man.  Yes, the dad doesn’t like to talk about himself, but that’s the job of the author.  If your subject (is alive and) won’t talk, then you talk to the people that know him best and learn about his past.  Do your Barbara Walters imitation, and ask him about his favorite color or what kind of tree he’d like to be.  Dig deeper, man!  You’re a bestselling author now. 

As for the television show based on the book, I never saw it, but William Shatner was probably miscast as the dad. 

WOULD THIS BOOK HAVE BEEN A BESTSELLER WITHOUT THE WORD SH** IN THE TITLE? 

Probably not.  We’ll delve further into that a bit later. 

***** 

Go the F*** to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortes 

We get it.  It’s a parody.  It looks like a kid’s book.  Don’t read it to your kids.  We adults can sit around and laugh at it.  But if you’re going to use the f-word, use it properly. 

IMPROPER PROFANITY ALERT! 

The problem with the title Go the F*** to Sleep is that it has an inappropriate f-word usage.  You never, ever… ever…  use the phrase “the f***” in an imperative sentence (giving an order) unless you’re willing to commit an act of violence (which, of course, we don’t condone).  Below are a couple of examples. 

Get the f*** out of my face. 

Move the f*** out of my way. 

When people get to that phase of a conflict where they feel compelled to use the phrase “the f***” in an imperative sentence, people often end up bleeding, dead, on You-Tube, or on the news.  You don’t use that language when talking about kids (unless they’re teenagers, maybe).  You might think it, but you never say it, and you certainly don’t write it down.  Yes, babies (and little kids) can drive you nuts, but you never admit (in writing) that you’ve gotten to that level. 

Now, it is okay to use “the f***” in a question.  Below are two perfectly appropriate examples. 

What the f*** is going on here? 

What the f*** should I title my book? 

See?  Nobody is going to get into a fight over that. 

It’s also okay to use f*** with an –ing suffix.  When Joe Biden did it (It’s a big f***ing deal), nobody threw any punches. 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES (that won’t get CPS sent after you) 

Go to F***in’ Sleep

F***in’ Go to Sleep

Why the F*** Won’t You Go to Sleep?

Go to Sleep, Motherf***** 

AUDIO VERSION 

Supposedly, Samuel Jackson reads the audio version of the book.  That probably would have been more amusing five years ago.  

WOULD THIS BOOK BE A BESTSELLER WITHOUT THE WORD F*** IN THE TITLE? 

Are you f***in’ kidding me? 

IT’S NOT THE END OF CIVILIZATION, BUT… 

Do we really need profanity in book titles?  C’mon, this is a shameless attempt to hide mediocre writing behind a vulgar title in hopes that a bunch of browsers pick it up.  It’s almost as bad as mediocre music with children’s beats loaded with obscene lyrics.  I really hope the book purchasing public can see through this charade and stop buying books just because they have a vulgar expression in the title. The publishing industry can do better, and we readers deserve better. 

SHAMELESS PROMOTION ALERT!!!! 

Coming soon from Dysfunctional Literacy is the soon-to-be bestseller F*** You if You Don’t Buy This Book! 

Hey, if other mediocre writers can capitalize on the profanity-in-the- title craze, then we want in on the action too. 

WHICH ONE?  SH** or F***? 

You don’t miss anything by not reading either one. 

However, Sh** My Dad Says is a much better value.  It takes a few hours to read, whereas you’ll be done with Go the F*** to Sleep in about five minutes. 

There’s probably a bad joke about Sh** taking longer than F***, but I don’t even know how to phrase it.

From → Literary Combat

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