Quick Book Review: “Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear” by Kim Brooks
Although I’m not a parent and have no desire to be, I saw this book in the library and found it intriguing. One morning, the author was driving with her four-year old son in the car. She stopped to run into the store to get something, leaving the kid in the car for five minutes. Someone called the police to report a kid alone in a car. She spent the next few years of her life dealing with the repercussions. (You’ll have to read the book to find out.) The second half of the book delves into how parenthood in the US has changed. How competition, anxiety and fear affect children and how it ridiculously out of hand it has become. Children can no longer walk to school or play in the park unsupervised or their parents risk arrest. Are children really safer because of this, or are the dangers of being unsupervised being wildly overblown? Can kids really learn to be independent and self-sufficient if they have parents hovering over them and negotiating or mitigating every potentially adverse event they might experience? The book is a well-thought out and nicely researched exploration of the pitfalls of modern-day parenting in America. It also made me so glad that I’m not a parent.