Small Animals : Parenthood in the Age of Fear
by Brooks, Kim







Author's Noteix
PART I FEAR ITSELF
1 The Day I Left My Son in the Car
3(32)
2 Parenthood as a Competitive Sport
35(32)
3 The Fabrication of Fear
67(37)
4 Negative Feedback
104(12)
5 Self-Report
116(23)
PART II THE COST OF FEAR
6 What a Horrible Mother
139(29)
7 Quality of Life
168(21)
8 Guinea Pigs
189(29)
9 Small Animals
218(17)
Acknowledgments235(2)
Notes237


A full-length memoir based on the author's viral essay recounts a harrowing family event and how it reflected changes in beliefs and heightened fears that have transformed parenting in the course of a single generation.





KIM BROOKS is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. Her fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, One Story, The Missouri Review, and other journals, and her essays have appeared in Salon, Buzzfeed, New York magazine, LennyLetter, and on WNYC's Note to Self. Her novel The Houseguest was published in 2016. Kim Brooks lives in Chicago with her husband and their two children.





*Starred Review* Parents will flock to read the first nonfiction book from Brooks, a novelist (The Houseguest, 2016) and frequent essay contributor to popular media outlets. Her engaging account of life as a modern-day parent blends memoir and her research from interviews with other parents, psychiatrists, and parenting experts to provide a deeper understanding of the ways fear and judgment affect the limits and freedoms we give ourselves and our children. And last, but possibly most crucial, is her exploration of how a lack of freedom affects children in the long run. Parents will see themselves in Brooks' personal account of parenting and may relate to the dramatic experience from her own life that frames the book. Of the questions she poses, this one stands out: "Why have we bought into this assumption that the parent who is the most cautious, the most irrationally afraid, the most risk-averse, is the best or most loving parent?" Parents who are seeking advice, rather than reflection, will appreciate the vast number of other titles Brooks cites throughout the book. Small Animals belongs on the shelves of every public library. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.





An incisive investigation of the many complex "points of intersection" between "parenthood and fear."Making a quick trip into a store, Brooks (The Houseguest, 2016) was only gone for five minutes, leaving her 4-year-old son in his car seat inside the locked car, with the windows ajar. Yet those moments transformed her life in more ways than she could have imagined. With nonapologetic honesty, the author shares her story of that day and the aftermath as her case of "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" worked its way through Virginia's court system. The author skillfully interlinks her personal story with interviews of other mothers who have done similar things—e.g., letting their children play at a local park alone or going to get coffee while leaving a child in a car. She also provides a well-researched look at the American parenting system; she discovered that not only are Americans highly competitive in the parenting realm, they are extremely judgmental as wel l. More often than not, her experience brought her shame and made her question the extreme role that parents, particularly mothers, play in child-rearing. The intense scrutiny by others and the pervasive fear that surrounds American parenting are contributing to a generation of children lacking independence and autonomy. Brooks also shares insights into European methods of parenting, which are far more permissive for the children and more relaxed for the parents. This is a surprisingly moving account of what is a fairly common experience, delivering readers much food for thought on the multilayered issues of how much control parents should have over their children's lives and how much input parents should offer other parents. "Fear is neither wrong nor right. It is what it is," writes Brooks. "But in the end, it can't give us the thing we most desire…control." An engaging, enlightening story that reveals the potential harm parents and society can do to children when th e y don't allow them any freedoms at all. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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