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Adam Mansbach: From Facebook to the bestseller list, one expletive at a time

A Facebook status update that turns into a book? And a movie deal?

Such is the charmed life of writer Adam Mansbach, the author of the superbly titled “Go the F… to Sleep,” a bedtime story for adults that, thanks to its witty prose and expletive-per-page formula, has become laugh-out-loud therapy for parents who have  kids that just. Can’t. Fall. Asleep.

The 28-page book was the result of Mansbach's frustration with then-2-year-old daughter Vivien’s sleep troubles.  An acclaimed author of books on race and religion, Mansbach took to his Facebook page with the post: “Look out for my next book…”Go the F… to Sleep.” All the “Likes” and comments from friends made him realize he just might have something.

And, oh, he sure did. In April, TODAY Moms was among the first to write about Mansbach’s book, which is illustrated by Ricardo Cortes. At the time, the book was scheduled for an October release date.

Flash forward two months and the book is already a bestseller before its new June 14 release date and Fox 2000 has optioned it for a movie. (Though he’s also a screenwriter, Mansbach says he won’t be writing for the movie, but will be involved to the extent, “I’ll attend the premiere.” )

Adam Mansbach, author of the best-selling book "Go the F... to Sleep," talks about his inspiration for writing the book and the reception it's gotten.

The self-deprecating Mansbach, who appeared on TODAY this morning, is taking all his newfound fame in stride.  He’s quite OK with the fact his little picture book has done better than his more serious books and says, “When you strike a nerve and you’re lucky enough to do that, you gotta just go with it.”

Is he worried the book, with its saucy verbage, could somehow fall into the hands of little ones? Not so much, although he wonders “We should probably put a 1-800 number on the back in case something happens.” He adds, “We trust that parents will know this goes on a high shelf.”

And is he concerned about eventually showing the curse-filled book to daughter Vivien, who is now 3 (and sleeps just fine, by the way)?

“I think she’ll feel good about it, especially when she considers that this book is the reason we live in a house and not a discarded refrigerator carton.”