Donated Book – Now available at Samuels Public Library

Front Royal Women's Resource Center and Royal Oak Bookshop co-sponsor donations to Samuels Public Library that are by or about women. Nan Hathaway, Book Donation Sponsor & Coordinator, chooses our books each year. Thank you Nan!

We highlight one of these books every third week each month. Our 2019 Book Reviews and Commentaries are provided by JoEllen McNeal. Thank you JoEllen!

Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear

By Kim Brooks

“It might be the most important book about being a parent that you will ever read.”  -Emily Rapp Black

On a crisp spring morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her four year-old son in the car while she ran into the store.  She was gone for only a few minutes, and when she came back he was still happily absorbed in a game.  What Brooks didn’t know was that a stranger had filmed her and would go on to send the video to the police.

The fallout from this single moment would consume the next several years of Kim’s life and spur her to investigate the broader role America’s culture of fear plays in parenthood.  In her searingly honest memoir, Brooks dives into the American psyche of competition and anxiety, all while recounting the two most harrowing years of her life.  

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 way 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?  

In her signature style, by turns funny, penetrating, and always illuminating – which has dazzled millions of fans and been called “striking” by The New York Times Book Review and “beautiful” by the National Book Critics Circle – Brooks offers a provocative, compelling portrait of parenthood in America and calls us to examine what we value most in our relationships with our children and one another.  

Brooks has written a thoughtful, thought-provoking book that probes deeply into our national anxiety disorder.  It show us how we got here and how it might be possible to find a way out.  

Kim Brooks is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Fellowship.  Her essays and stories have appeared in New York magazine, The Cut, Chicago Magazine, Salon, Lenny Letter, Glimmer Train, One Story, and elsewhere.  Her novel, The Houseguest, was published in 2016.  She lives in Chicago.  

2019 July Book Commentary