Small Animals: Parenting in the Age of Fear | Book Review

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Last week I posted a book discussion about Small Animals. I received a lot of feedback on my Instagram feed about how much this book connected with so many of its readers.  I finished this book last night and I have to say, it is one of the one most meaningful and thought-provoking books I have ever read about parenting.

Small Animals resonated so deeply with me. She shared the story with what happened with her son but also researched and explored the broader topic of how fear has become such a big part of how we parent in today’s society. Are we afraid to let our kids go out and explore, walk alone to a friends house or play at a park because we think something will happen? Or are we afraid because we are told we should be, and we might also be afraid of the judgments we might receive if we do? And what happens when we don’t let kids make some decisions, navigate the tricky waters of childhood friendship, and build their own confidence of “I did this!” by figuring something out by trial and error. Brooks presented a fascinating discussion about this topic and I will be thinking about this for years to come.

I also appreciated that Brooks was able to look at this from her place of privilege and how much this could impact not only the reaction but the consequences of one’s actions. Brooks walked us through her own story and also what played into her “lighter” sentence and I appreciated so much that she was able to have perspective about this and also share stories about other women who were not treated as humanely.

Another huge part of this book that I connected so much with what her discussion of postpartum anxiety. There is a lot of discussion about postpartum depression now and I am so happy that this is becoming something that is being “normalized” as it is something that affects many. There hasn’t been as much about postpartum anxiety and I don’t think I have ever read something that resonated so deeply for me. I suffered from crippling anxiety after the birth of our first son. Brooks shares so vividly and honestly about how the anxiety that began with her pregnancy spread and grew much stronger with the arrival of her son…

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There were many other aspects of this book that I just thought was so thought-provoking and important not just as a working mother myself but as a member of our society. I highly recommend this book and think anyone who is a parent or spends time with children would benefit from reading it.

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