Peter Knox's Reviews > Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear

Small Animals by Kim Brooks
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2018, non-fiction, parenting, library-ebooks

"...statistically speaking, it would likely take 750,000 years for a child left alone in a public space to be snatched by a stranger. So there is some risk to leaving your kid in a car. It might not be statistically meaningful, but it's not nonexistent. The problem is, there's some risk to every choice you make. There is always some risk."

Kim Brooks is a fiction writer. Then a mom. And then a mom who left her 4 year old son play on a iPad in a locked car with cracked windows on a cool day in a near empty parking lot while she ran in to buy headphones for his airplane ride ahead, but someone called the cops on her. This book is her legal and personal journey, interspersed with experts she talked to and further research.

Consider it the backlash to the backlash that brought us from the hands-off parenting of the mid twentieth century, swinging too far into the extreme attachment/helicopter parenting of today, complete with mommy-shaming online and in real life that comes with it. But Brooks weaves in the cultural and sociological history of where and why we got to how things are now.

It's an incredibly enlightening and reassuring combination in Brook's self-aware intimate writing, that is entertaining, horrifying, and concerning all together in this fast-paced book. Before the legal battle gets too overbearing, Brooks jumps over to conversation with a mother who is also a lawyer, for her story of how this all happened to her and what it means for everyone else.

Basically, fearful parenting gave us this culture of narcing on other parents and shaming them into the protective parenting everyone's too scared to break ranks from, despite the harm it's doing to us and our children. If having control of your time is happiness, we're making each other miserable.

I really enjoyed getting to know Brooks, her anxieties and inner dialogue (which is often humorous), through this book and appreciated the balanced research she sprinkles in throughout, as she takes steps to better understand all of the sides (gender, race, class, country) involved while still checking her own privileged in the process.

Our children are safer than ever, but we're more scared as a culture - parents and nonparents alike. Read this book to understand why. Brooks isn't preachy or didactic as a writer - she just lays out her experience and the facts she gathered along the way, and lets you draw your own conclusions as to how you might want to parent your own children and be mindful of allowing others to do as they wish. If only our government and legal system could do the same...

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Reading Progress

August 21, 2018 – Started Reading
August 21, 2018 – Shelved
August 21, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018
August 21, 2018 – Shelved as: non-fiction
August 21, 2018 – Shelved as: parenting
August 21, 2018 – Shelved as: library-ebooks
August 24, 2018 – Finished Reading

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