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Small Animals

Parenthood in the Age of Fear
Narrated by: Kim Brooks
Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

This program includes a bonus interview with the author. 

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 America’s 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?

Fueled 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 the New York Times Book Review and "beautiful" by the National Book Critics Circle, Brooks offers a provocative, compelling portrait of parenthood in America and calls us to examine what we most value in our relationships with our children and one another.    

©2018 Kim Brooks (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

"Part memoir, part history, part documentary, part impassioned manifesto...it might be the most important book about being a parent that you will ever read." (Emily Rapp Black, New York Times best-selling author of The Still Point of the Turning World)

Small Animals by Kim Brooks came at me like a giant exhalation, a release of so much of the stress I’ve carried around since [becoming] a mother.” (Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers)

"Small Animals interrogates how we weigh risk as parents, how we judge one another's parenting and what the costs might be - not just to parents, but to children, too - of a culture of constant surveillance." (New York Times Book Review)

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  • "c8o"
  • 05-11-19

a must read for American parents

thought provoking. makes me want to read more on the topic. makes me want to be a better parent

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  • I. Vaynberg
  • 30-10-19

The only parenting book you need to read!

Really enjoyed this book. I thought it was very well-researched and put together, informative without being boring.

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  • Melissa
  • 13-09-19

This book is everything!

Kim Brooks speaks to my heart as a mother! Her words were true, relatable and encouraging in a world where many moms feel like their every move is scrutinized by anyone and everyone. This honest examination of the state of modern parenting, and even more so, modern motherhood, should be a warning to us to reconsider the direction in which we’re going. Thank you, Kim, for having the guts to share your story!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-06-19

This explains a lot

Kids need space to be self reliant. Well written; well read. Thought provoking. Recommend for book groups and parent groups.

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  • KSD
  • 08-04-19

Fascinating!! Every parent should listen!!

so incredibly interesting!! A very compelling argument for allowing kids some Independence. Will definitely recommend to friends and family!!

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  • Joshua Ferguson
  • 20-03-19

Didn’t want it to end

This book is incredible for any parent at any stage of their parenthood. Kim feels like your inner thoughts intertwined with talking to your best friend. Such an honest, funny, raw & amazing book, I couldn’t put it down. READ IT!

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  • David Scheef
  • 02-03-19

Want to know why so many parents are wacko?

As kids, we ran around. Jumped off things. Wandered through the woods. Climbed trees. Played ball in the street. All sorts of things where we could have been hurt. And we all survived and look back with some degree of joy and nostalgia on our childhoods.

Yet, as parents ourselves, so many of us are complete wackos. Hovering over our kids. Cramming activities into their days like we’re running their campaigns for office. Denying them so many of the simple things we enjoyed. I wanted to know why.

In this book, Kim Brooks does a remarkable job explaining why so many 21st Century parents have lost their minds. I’m so sorry she had to survive such an awful ordeal to take up the task but I’m glad she did.

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  • Mark A. Mahler
  • 28-01-19

Fascinating & Frustrating in equal measure

To be honest, I really liked this book and I also frequently swore aloud at the author while listening to it. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a similarly conflicted response to a piece of media.

The information that Brooks conveys seems carefully researched and considered, timely, and important for any parent in the modern age. It also reads like it was written by an overly anxious young mother with an English Lit. degree, which is precisely what Brooks tells us she is. I can’t pan this book because it’s heartfelt and authentic, but neither can I wholeheartedly recommend it because it made me desperately wish she had Cher’s character from Moonstruck standing next to her, ready to scream “Snap out of it!”

If there was a way to edit out all of her personal anecdotes and keep the reporting, interviews, and statistics, I’d pay for this book all over again.

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  • Christopher E
  • 24-01-19

Learning lessons from others experiences

My Dad always told me to try to learn from others mistakes. I don’t think the author made a mistake but found this as a teachable moment for myself to learn from her experiences with the situation that occurred. I truly enjoyed listening to the psychological and sociological aspects of parenthood. As a father of two boys I struggle daily with allowing my boys to learn from their own triumphs and failures and protecting them from as much of the evil the world holds in store for them. I wish for my boys to grow in healthy men, in body and mind, and if they choose raise a family of their own one day in the same healthy lifestyle. I found the book a little slow to start but Mrs. Brooks does well to pull the listener into the various aspects of the story and aftermath. Hopefully as parents and adults interacting with children we as a society can begin to see the benefits of children having healthy independence to learn and grow. This will hopefully be the preparation they need to be well-rounded, functioning contributors to our society and world.

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  • Renee Sorgenfrie
  • 15-01-19

alternative look

This book presents an alternative look at practices in parenting. Parents (and others) have the best intentions for children. If we come to that understanding before judgement, conversational walls can be avoided and understanding/support will be created. Although (on the negative) this book can often come off as whiney. Perceptive is important for all sides of the conversation. This book vouched loudly for 1 chosen perspective once again. Although it was the alternative viewpoint, It is all the more important to give value to each side while coming to an understanding of a personal parenting situation.