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. 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.
Kim Brooks is the author of a book of nonfiction, Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear, published in 2018 by Flatiron Books. Her first novel, The Houseguest, is now available from Counterpoint Press. Her stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, One Story, Five Chapters and other journals and her essays have appeared in Salon, New York Magazine, LennyLetter, Buzzfeed., and WNYC's Note to Self. She lives in Chicago with her husband and children.
Sarah Hepola has written many stories about drinking and eating too much. Her essays on culture have appeared in the New York Times magazine, Elle, Glamour, The Guardian, Slate, The Morning News, and Salon, where she was a longtime editor. She is also a contributor to NPR’s Fresh Air. She lives in East Dallas, where she enjoys playing her guitar poorly and listening to the “Xanadu” soundtrack. Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget is her first book. Follow her on Twitter @sarahhepola, on Instagram @thesarahhepolaexperience, and on Facebook @facebook.com/sarah.hepola.blackout.