Small Animals by Kim Brooks

Small Animals

"Part memoir, part history, part documentary, part impassioned might be the most important book about being a parent that you will ever read." --Emily Rapp Black, New York Times bestselling author of The Still Point of the Turning World"A beautifully told, harrowing story..."--Heather HavrileskyOne 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 wo...

Details Small Animals

TitleSmall Animals
Release DateAug 21st, 2018
PublisherFlatiron Books
GenreParenting, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Family, Biography Memoir, Biography, Sociology, Adult, Cultural, Childrens

Reviews Small Animals

  • Lindsey
    Although I appreciated, in part, the message of this book, I am also conflicted in my feelings towards the author's view of her actions, which led to a pretty lengthy involvement with child welfare services. The premise of the book is that we treat our children as if they were made of glass, and want to protect them from every little injury instead of allowing them to experience the world in all its forms, good and bad. Putting kids in a bubble s...
  • Shelley
    True story 1: When my daughter was about eight, we walked past a car where a tween was reading a book with the windows down. My daughter gasped, worried about the kid being alone in the car, in the middle of a Safeway parking lot. "That was normal when I was growing up," I said. "I used to ask to stay in the car so I could read." True story 2: Every female lawyer I know is terrified of her jurisdiction's version of child protective services. None...
  • Kathleen
    Having kids has always seemed to me to be a form of madness. Kim Brooks' book shows that if you were not already a little bonkers when you had kids, then virtually every feature of America's fear-filled, outrage-driven, misogynistic culture and hyper-competitive dedication to capitalism are structured to drive you to that point. "Unfortunately, just as there is little individual Americans feel that they can do about the threats of climate change,...
  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    I only recently realized the extent to which helicopter parenting in America has become the norm, the expectation, sometimes even in the law of the land. That the definition of a “good parent” now requires keeping an eye on your child at every moment. That kids’ hanging out with friends has been formalized into “playdates,” typically arranged by parents and involving play directed by at least one parent, often with both kids' parents pr...
  • Anne ✨
    Wow! This book resonated with me in a big way! As a mom of two now teens, I have lived through, and still experience many of the anxious feelings that Kim Brooks shares as she relates her experiences parenting in today's American society. The worries, pressures, expectations, and judgment. The polarizing platforms of helicopter parenting vs. free range parenting. It's seriously overwhelming! But it's also seriously important dialogue for moms/par...
  • Jake
    I got a free copy of this one from a goodreads giveaway. As a parent of three elementary school children whose parenting style has gone from helicopter (not necessarily by my choice, being a dad) to free-range over the last nine years, this book resonated. The author tells her story of being a do-everything-and-be-constantly-stressed-out mom who once left her child in a car for a few minutes while running an errand and was filmed by a "good Samar...
  • Kevin Clouther
    Structurally, this book is more effective than what I've seen in other parenting books, though one needn't be a parent to be moved. Because the author is a fiction writer, the narratives are thoughtful, well paced, and selective in detail. She complements these stories with interviews and research, and in these instances, she allows the authorities to articulate their positions at length, rather than fit their arguments into her own worldview. Th...
  • Ericka Clouther
    Even though there is a large memoir aspect to this book, I think it's an extremely important nonfiction book about the current state of parenting in America. It's important from a sociological, psychological, and also legal perspective. As an attorney and as an American, I'm horrified that people are being charged with laws that the legislature has specifically failed to pass, and that selective enforcement perpetuates all of the worst biases in ...
  • Paul
    Kim Brooks’s Small Animals is a personal and honest look at dealing with the “moral panics” of raising a child. It is a good read from a writer with a strong voice, but it didn’t go far enough in completing many of the viable arguments.For the full review: all my reviews:
  • Carolyn
    This book spoke to me. As a mother, this book spoke to me. As a millennial, this book spoke to me. As a member of society, this book spoke to me. I want to hand this book out to all of the parents I know and tell them to read it now - and then some! .True Story. Nonfiction: Author Kim Brooks’ story starts the day she consciously left her son in her car for 5 minutes while she ran in to Target to grab something and finds out later that day that ...
  • Jen Wood
    I devoured this book in one day yesterday and kept waking up during the night thinking about it. Small Animals is part memoir and part sociological analysis. It’s an honest, well-researched look at how batshit crazy modern American parenting has become. The book starts when Kim Brooks decides it’s not worth the fight to get her son out of the car to run into Target for one thing so she leaves him in the car, locked, not too hot, happily occup...
  • Estelle Erasmus
    This book, like Kim Brooks's deft writing (she's also an essayist and novelist) grabs you by the throat and doesn't let you go till the final page. Much more than a memoir (although Brooks shares her personal story that led to the book), this book is a treatise on what happens when we tighten the reigns of protection around our children to the point where it affects their upbringing, and their parents' state of mind. She has a special skill that ...
  • Cari
    I think this book should be required reading for this day and age (along with Julie Lythcott-Haims' How to Raise an Adult). Kim Brooks went through a hell no parent should have to experience. One person was so judgmental about her parenting choice - to leave her 4-year-old child alone in a car for about five minutes - that the person went so far as to call the police and report the situation. Brooks shares her story in this book, along with the a...
  • Devorah Heitner
    Essential reading in our panic-filled historical moment. Filled with great research and a compelling voice, this book explores how crazy things have gotten, how we got here and offers some thoughts on how we might make things better. Any parent or anyone who was a kid and remembers other times, will find provocative questions and thoughtful reflection here. Highly recommended!
  • Sarah
    This is an excellent book for parents of children of any age. It's part memoir as the idea for the book starts with the author's personal story of getting arrested for leaving her son in the car alone for a few minutes. It then explores the history of parenting in America, and the psychology of parenting and how parenting effects the psychology of our children. It is well researched, interesting, and an easy, at times funny read. I highly recomme...
  • Monika
    This book didn't live up to its blurb. It seems to speak more to parents who lack confidence in their parenting, who really worry about keeping up with (and how they appear to) others. Although the author acknowledges her own privilege, there's still an icky layer of ableism and classism throughout. Her points felt scattered and unfocused. When a significant point/angle did come up, it wasn't fleshed out before moving on. Overall, not a satisfyi...
  • Jamie
    I read this whole thing going, "YES." And, "I've been there!" And "get out of my brain, Kim. Get out!" Well researched but still very personal and engaging.
  • Susan Banner
    Well researched and riveting. I would recommend this book to parents and grandparents both, providing insight into shaming and success.
  • Mehrsa
    I was at a target once and I saw a young mother in front of me in tears because the cops were coming for her for having left her kid in the car. An older woman had called the cops and the target employees were all on the other woman's side. I leapt to her defense. The kid was fine. It was cool out. She had run in to get diapers. She had the baby in there with her. She'd left another grown kid in the car. I had three kids in New York city and I wo...
  • Peter Knox
    "...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 lo...
  • Kayo
    This book is superb! I'd give it more stars of i could. My youngest is now 29, so I 'm not raising a little one anymore. I'm so glad that he lived in an era to go out and play with friends or ride his bike. I can see the decline in real parenting. It's more hovering than actual parenting. This book gives good examples of what is happening to parents today. Well done! So sorry that that happened to author! Thanks to author,publisher and NetGalley ...
  • Emily
    Harrowing, thought-provoking and fascinating - when Brooks left her young son in the car (cool day, locked doors, safe neighborhood) while she ran into a store, a stranger videotaped the moment and shared the video with police, kicking off a legal process that lasted more than two years. It also lead Brooks to question how our understanding of what is safe and what is acceptable changes. Part memoir, part cultural analysis, part parenting book. I...
  • Kristen Ploetz
    This book could not have come out at a more perfect time for me (the mother of an almost 11yo). If you find yourself second guessing your gut feeling as a parent, wondering why you are so hyperaware of the things that can go wrong (but likely will not), and particularly if your decision making is often fueled by fear and/or anxiety, this is a must read. Brooks and her story, together with the research and other similar accounts woven throughout t...
  • Ann Taylor custance
    I was surprised to find out the story told in thus book. I have a adult son and I still remember when he was little and I worried over every little thing I did. I just started the book but plan to take it with me to the pool as my first summer read.So far I can relate to the story and enjoy it.
  • Liz Bartek
    I read a couple of parenting books in any given year (despite my lack of offspring) illustratrating the current state of parenthood and child-rearing in this country. I find it to be absolutely dizzying, anxiety-inducing, extremely challenging, and fraught. So much has changed in just 20/30 years and it's hard to know where (if) things have gone wrong. To parents and mothers in particular... I sit in awe.
  • Andrienne
    It’s described as harrowing and I can see why. How did parenting get so out of hand? It’s hard enough as it is, but to pile on competition, guilt, fear...I can see how things can seem harder than it should. Framed by the author’s experience in leaving her child alone for a few minutes, the book talks about helicopter parenting, kids’ anxieties, and the lack of adult time for parents. It paints a pretty accurate picture of the state of par...
  • Christina
    Let’s begin with how I went into this book, I’m a single mom of three children. My twin boys are six, they’re autistic, and my daughter is eight. I’m a working mother trying to figure things out on my own terms in what I call “the jungle” of life, mostly parenting. I feel judged daily for a wide variety of things but at the end of the day people can’t take away what’s most important to me, the title “mom”.I have anxiety and de...
  • Dawn
    I hadn't heard about this book, or its corresponding story, prior to seeing it on the shelf. I was in intrigued by this story of a mom who had been charged in a court of law for leaving her son in the car (windows down slightly, nice weather outside, nice neighborhood, doors locked, car alarm on, within sight almost the entire time she was away) for just a few minutes while running in to a store. Kim tells her story in a very light way that helps...
  • Jodell
    When I was a kid, I sat in a car while my mother worked. I went every where by myself. I was left at home by age six alone, I walked to school alone. Things were different when I was young. My mother was a single mother she could not be everywhere at once. I never thought much about being unattended possibly called neglected. I became resilient and self sufficient at a early age. A year ago in a parking lot of Walmart at 3 below zero. I saw a 2 y...