Blogger on Books IV – Go de Rass to Sleep

*warning: language, language*


Go de Rass to Sleep is laugh out loud funny, a lullabye bedtime story more for adults than for children – unless you can convince your child to stop cursing after blatantly giving them license to. It’s a book that says, hey, fellow parents, I feel your frustration; which, by the end, will hopefully have them laughing out loud at the bed they’ve made (or in delirium from sleep deprivation…either way, there will be laughter).

As you’ve probably picked up, Go de Rass to Sleep is the Jamaican patois translation of the bestselling and equally funny (because the juxtaposition of adult curse words and a child’s bedtime story is just funny; it just is)  Go the Fuck to Sleep. Sidebar, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard actors read Go the Fuck to Sleep out loud.

Samuel L. Jackson, sure…

But, Jennifer Garner?

It’s a book whose humor is built on the contrast between language and situation. It’s a book to which any parent (or auntie) can relate because nobody taal lub fight sleep laka pickney. Den dem one waan be the same one come wake you up before cock crow. Bodderation ah raas.

Kidding, we love them; they are the light of our worlds.

Anyway, the book is translated by poet, novelist, and critic Kwame Dawes who is of Nigerian-Jamaican extraction and based in the US, and Jamaican bred and resident children’s book writer (Lion series) and publisher Kellie Magnus. And I have to say they captured the natural humour of the situation and the language. I also have to say it’s good to see Caribbean translations of books  because the ways we talk have legitimately evolved in to languages with their own vocabulary and rules, and it’s good to see that recognized (in the case of at least one of those Caribbean creoles) – it’s a case writers like Jamaica’s Dr. Carolyn Cooper across her multiple platforms and Antigua’s Joy Lawrence in books like The Way We Talk and Other Antiguan Folkways and Colours and Rhythms of Selected Caribbean Creoles have been making over the years. This book though is a classic case of show, don’t tell.

Read it out loud to yourself after taking too long to put the child to sleep; you’ll laugh and put down de stresses. Gift it to the child when they’re big and have their own children… as a gift, sure, but also as a reminder of all the blissful sleep they robbed you of – ‘less dem t’ink dem min easy.

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