Adam Mansbach’s new picture book offers a lighthearted adults-only take on that other crisis point in a parent’s day – dinner time
Like its predecessor, Adam Mansbach’s new picture book comes with the warning that it probably shouldn’t be read to children. You Have to Fucking Eat, the followup to his surprise bestseller Go the Fuck to Sleep, sees the novelist tackle another part of the unending battle of wills that is parenthood: food.
The unlikely combination of a picture book’s sweet, animal-heavy illustrations and neat rhymes with words that most parents would prefer their children to avoid sent Go the Fuck to Sleep soaring to the top of bestseller lists in 2011, winning it fans from Samuel L Jackson to Werner Herzog. Jackson recorded an official audiobook, in which the actor gave voice to lines including: “The cubs and the lions are snoring, / Wrapped in a big snuggly heap. / How come you can do all this other great shit / But you can’t lie the fuck down and sleep?” and “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 fuck down, my darling, and sleep.”
Now his publisher has announced that Mansbach is tackling “the other great parental frustration: getting your little angel to eat something that even vaguely resembles a normal meal”.
Mansbach said: “There’s been plenty of enthusiasm for a sequel over the years (and plenty of suggestions) but I always said I’d only do one if it rang true to me – if I felt like I could imbue it with the same kind of honesty, love, and frustration as the first book. And eating is the other universal source of parental anxiety, a battle of wills just as pitched as sleep can be. From my own experiences and plenty of conversations with other parents, it seemed like a topic folks could use a laugh and a bit of catharsis about.”
Illustrated by Owen Brozman, it includes the charming lines: “The sunrise is golden and lovely, / The birds chirp and twitter and tweet, / You woke me and asked for some breakfast, / So why the fuck won’t you eat?”
You Have to Fucking Eat, described by its publisher Canongate as “profane, loving and deeply carthartic”, will be published in November in the UK, US and Australia.