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'You Have to F**king Eat' makes parents of picky eaters smile

Image: Cover of new book by Adam Mansbach
Cover of new book by Adam Mansbach.Courtesy of Akashic Books

It’s been three years since Adam Mansbach regaled us with his hilarious, expletive-laden, not-for-kids book "Go the F**k to Sleep."

Since then, the book hit No. 1 on the New York Times' bestseller list and Mansbach’s daughter Vivien, the one who wouldn’t "go the f**k to sleep," has turned 6 and given Mansbach material for his latest parental tirade: a new book called “You Have to F**king Eat.”

It's the sequel parents of picky eaters have been waiting for: "You Have to F**cking Eat," by Adam Mansbach.Today

Vivien is not a bonafide picky eater, says Mansbach: Her moods dictate what she likes on any given day. For example, one day she will devour eggs. “And the next day, she’ll say, ‘No, Papa, I don’t like eggs anymore!’”

Mansbach says he realized that the aggravation of getting your child to eat made for a natural sequel, which is being released next month.


Along with sleeping, eating is “the other great parental frustration, “ he says, adding he has felt like telling his daughter, “Really, you are going to reject the concept of sustenance, something that if you don’t do, you would die?’”


So what is it about picky eaters that drives us parents to, ahem, occasionally drop the F-bomb?

“[Eating] should be such a fundamental, basic, enjoyable thing … to argue about it is frustrating. And if you are having those fights, you are going to have them three times a day.”


It also goes to our desire to be good parents and our anxiety that we aren’t covering all the bases.

And more so than with the routine of getting kids to sleep, we tend to compromise more when it comes to food, Mansbach says.

“I was one of those parents who would try to make bargains with my daughter,” he explains. “I’d say, ‘You eat five bites of this and I’ll read you a story.’ But like most kids who are too young to understand what a deal is, she would say, ‘No, Papa. I eat no bites and you read me a million stories.’”

Asked what he envisions as part of the “Go the F**k“ franchise when he has to parent during the teenage years, Mansbach is ready. The Berkeley, California, dad is also a scriptwriter who during President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign wrote a political ad featuring actor Samuel L. Jackson entitled, “Wake the F**k Up.”

“I could see that coming around again. It works, whether you are talking [about teens] physically or mentally.” 

You can pre-order a copy of "You Have to F**cking Eat" at 

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