Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear
by Kim Brooks
One morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her four-year-old son in the car while she ran into a store. What happened would consume the next several years of her life and spur her to investigate the broader role our current culture of fear plays in parenthood.
In Small Animals, Brooks asks, of all the emotions inherent in parenting, is there any more universal or profound than fear? Why have our notions of what it means to be a good parent changed so radically? In what ways do these changes impact the lives of parents, children, and the structure of society at large? And what, in the end, does the rise of fearful parenting tell us about ourselves?
Fuelled by urgency and the emotional intensity of Brooks’s own story, Small Animals is a riveting examination of the ways our culture of competitive, anxious, and judgmental parenting has profoundly altered the experiences of parents and children. In her signature style – by turns funny, penetrating, and always illuminating – which has dazzled millions of fans and been called ‘striking’ by New York Times Book Review and ‘beautiful’ by the National Book Critics Circle, Brooks offers a provocative, compelling portrait of parenthood and calls us to examine what we most value in our relationships with our children and one another.
‘Gripping … Kim Brooks goes beyond her own experience, weaving together reporting, social criticism, and personal narrative to create a troubling portrait of a nation driven mad with worry.’ Claire Dederer, New York Times bestselling author of Love and Trouble
‘Small Animals is a beautifully told, harrowing story with a clear moral that all parents should take to heart: This job is very hard. Forgive yourself.’ Heather Havrilesky, Ask Polly columnist for New York Magazine and author of How to be a Person in the World
‘The perfect antidote to our culture of over-parenting. Any mother or father who is currently sipping and self-medicating and endlessly Googling their way through the fear factory of early parenthood must read Small Animals.’ Sarah Hepola, New York Times bestselling author of Blackout