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

Reviews Small Animals

  • 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,...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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!
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • Susan Banner
    Well researched and riveting. I would recommend this book to parents and grandparents both, providing insight into shaming and success.
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Kaitie
    These days, older generations bemoan the fact that kids don't play outside - but was anybody aware of the pressure that is placed on modern-day mothers to constantly coddle and stifle their kids, to supervise them almost every second of every day? Kim Brooks opens the eyes of anyone who has ever considered being a parent in this captivating memoir, which is chock-full of shocking anecdotes and fascinating statistics. Small Animals sheds light on ...
  • Kristin Lee Williams
    I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Kim Brooks opens the book with her own story, a story of leaving her 5 year old son in the car when she ran into Target for 10 minutes and having CPS called on her. The story was used to anchor interviews and research about parenting in a modern fear-based culture run by the outrage machine. I related to many things she said and can see how my own fear struggles impact my p...
  • 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...
  • Bryan Summers
    The author left her son in a car for five minutes while she ran into a store. He son was playing games on the I-pad. He was old enough to get out of the car. And the windows were down. The cops were called and she was arrested. This is a fascinating exploration of helicopter parenting and how our society protects children and whether it is ultimately healthy for the children. It was thought provoking.
  • Betsy
    An honest personal story set within thoughtful commentary about parenting today. Hit home as a new mom.
  • Jody Allard
    Such an important book. Kim does a wonderful job of weaving her story into a thoughtful examination of parenthood. I couldn’t put it down.
  • Leanne Ellis
    So true! Wish she had added a few more examples of other cases and given a bit more backstory to how parenting has evolved (or not) in America.
  • Jason Park
    Half memoir, half deeply-researched dive, Brooks exposes a radical and damaging status quo in American parenthood. My full review:
  • Emilie
    Smart, sensible, and important. My new baby shower gifts will now be AND NOW WE HAVE EVERYTHING by Meaghan O’Connell and this. SMALL ANIMALS is a comfort and a wake-up call.
  • Jane Roper
    This is a book that's long overdue: A beautifully written, thoughtful, compelling and well researched account of how our current culture of fear (and fear-based parenting) overprotects kids and over-punishes parents, particularly mothers, to the detriment of all of us. A riveting read, to boot!