A few weeks ago, I got the chance to do something, that in my mind anyway, was amazingly cool. Like, really, really, cool!! I got to do a phone interview with Adam Mansbach, the author of “Go The F**K To Sleep”, for his new book “You Have to F**king Eat”. Until the day before the interview I had never had the chance to read “Go The F**K To Sleep”. Probably because I never have time to read since my daughter was born. Be one with the irony…
Now, for one thing, why would I chose to interview someone who wrote a book that is clearly NOT a cookbook? That’s simple. I have the “You have to eat” argument with my daughter every single day, and since she truly did inherit not wanting to eat from me, I feel guilty in a way. It was just two days before I was contacted about the possibility of doing the interview that I swore up and down I would never again post a recipe that is supposed to be “kid-friendly”. How can I rightfully claim something is kid-friendly when my 5 year old is not, not, NOT going to eat it, ever!! I can’t do it. I hope some of you can relate.
I realize that some people consider his books a bit controversial, but let’s face it, every parent has thought, at least once, what he states in these books, even if they don’t say it out loud. You can listen (when the kids are in bed, please!) to a free Audible reading of “You Have To F**king Eat” recited by Bryan Cranston here. I really enjoyed the book, it was very true (things I deal with every day) and funny! It’s a bit shorter than “Go The F**K To Sleep” but still gets the frustration that parents deal with at meal time across in a great way.
This is also my first time, ever, interviewing someone. I have a massive, irrational fear of talking on the phone to people I don’t know. It started after I was fired as a telemarketer when I was 17, and got so bad that I would have panic attacks at the thought of calling to order a pizza. I guess I’m starting to move past that, I only had a few minor moments of panic before I called him. Since I never interviewed anyone before I turned to my friends, including a local news reporter (great to have friends in the industry!), and asked them what I should ask while speaking to him. Here are a few responses: “Start with the obvious: Why curse in a children’s book?”, “Ask him “why the fuck did you write this book?”” (haha!), and “Ask him if he kisses his kids and mother with that filthy mouth.” In retrospect, not that helpful. It didn’t matter, anyway, because it ended up just being a great conversation with a guy that wrote a book. I mean that as in he was very real, and down to earth. Confession, I didn’t take the best notes while I was talking to him, so a lot of his responses are from my memory. It went something like this:
1. Were you planning on writing a sequel to “Go the F**k to Sleep” or did something in particular happen to inspire this? Adam’s daughter Vivien is is inspiration for both this book and “Go The F**k To Sleep”, although he says his daughter isn’t that bad of a picky eater. He wrote “You Have To F**king Eat” believing it is a more public issue than sleeping. People see parents at restaurants dealing with children refusing to eat what they ordered, not the bedtime problems parents face every night.
2. What inspires you to say all the things every parent is thinking, but most are afraid to admit? Adam is a person that isn’t afraid to say what he is thinking. He knows most parents think it, they are just afraid to admit it.
3.Was that really you on Reddit last night? I came across a thread he had started while researching before the interview. Yes, it really was him. He never expected the conversation to become so popular and go on for hours after he left. You can check out the conversation here.
4. Since writing these books have you uncovered any secrets for getting kids to sleep or eat? He laughed. Said tricks didn’t work with his daughter, basically the best he could do was cut out the sugar before bed, no TV or interactive games, read one story and that’s it. His only piece of advice with not eating was to change the subject, get them talking about something other than they don’t want to eat what you are serving them, and maybe they will try it.
5. Is there anything you wish people would stop asking you? Not really asking, but he wishes people would stop suggesting titles for another book. He gets suggestions constantly! He said he needs to wait and see where his daughter takes him before he decides if he will write another book like this.
Did you know he’s a novelist? Before “Go The F**K To Sleep” he wrote several novels, but he’s not upset that he’s most recognized for that. He just gets a little annoyed when people think it’s the only thing he’s ever done. Believe me, I understand.
I hope you enjoyed this piece that was more for fun than what I usually do! With just a few weeks left in the year, I have several new recipes coming up, including a round up of New Year’s appetizers, my annual Christmas posts, and a year end review. I can’t wait to share them all with you!
I was provided with a PDF of “You Have To F**cking Eat” and the author photo above to use in this post.