It is the lament of a parent whose child will not go the fuck to sleep. It went viral, and was then helped by an audiobook read by Samuel L. Jackson (and later on, by Werner Herzog and George Lopez in Spanish).
Was later turned into a Bowdlerised version aimed at children called Seriously, Just Go to Sleep. In September 2014, a proper sequel was released, You Have to Fucking Eat. A third book followed, Fuck, Now There Are Two of You.
In 2020, Mansbach released a self-parody of the book, Stay the Fuck Home, in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and recommendations to self-quarantine at home to slow down the spread of the virus. Samuel L. Jackson once again provides the dramatic reading.
- Affectionate Parody: Of the rhyming, saccharine books normally read to small children at bedtime. This one assuredly cannot be read to a child at bedtime or any other time, unless you buy the aforementioned bowdlerised version.
- Antagonistic Offspring: A mild and even affectionate example, but the child is clearly at odds with the parent's desire for them to just go the fuck to sleep, to the parent's great frustration.
- *Bleep*-dammit!: The moon on the front cover covers all of two letters of the word "Fuck"; it isn't really fooling most readers.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The book contains many instances of the F word as well as some other swears. It's very likely that this is the highest number of obscenities to ever appear in a picture book.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The narrator wants you to, well, go the fuck to sleep.
- Gag Censor: On the book's cover, the central word in the title is obscured by the Moon.
- Getting the Baby to Sleep: The book is entirely this trope, being about the desperation to send a child to sleep.
- "Getting Ready for Bed" Plot: Both this book and Seriously, Just Go to Sleep play this for laughs and parody the "world at bedtime" variant of the trope. The parent is very frustrated trying to get the kid to go to sleep.
- Hell Is That Noise: The sound of the microwave. "Beep!"
- The Insomniac: The kid seems to be tending this way.
- Moral Guardians: Christian author Eric Metaxas suspected that the book was written as a parody of one of his children's books (it wasn't), and complained that the obscene version "damages the innocence of children's lullabies." You don't say.
- Parents as People: The hapless parent just wants to get their kid to sleep so they can watch a movie, their frustration driving them to use completely inappropriate obscenities. Let's face it; what parent hasn't felt exactly like this at least once?
- Refuge in Audacity: It's a children's book spoof about parents being so irritated by their child refusing to sleep that their orders for the child to go to bed are peppered with strong swear words. There aren't many other things as audaciously funny.
- Seldom-Seen Species: One page mentions and has illustrations of pangolins.
- Self-Parody: Stay the Fuck Home, done in the same structure as GTFTS.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: The parents succeed in putting their child in bed after much effort, but the beep of their microwave instantly undoes it.
- Subverted Kids Show: What with the swearing and all.
- Truth in Television: Count the many, many reviews from parents of young kids who've admitted they found the story all too relatable. Adam Mansbach has confessed in his interviews that he got the idea during a time when his own two-year-old daughter regularly took two hours to fall asleep.
- Title Drop: The phrase "Go the fuck to sleep!" gets repeated several times.