Kim Brooks is the author of Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear, described by the National Book Review as “an impassioned, smart work of social criticism and a call for support and empathy,” and by Publishers Weekly as, “A disturbingly, ultimately affirming look at why parenting in the contemporary United States is defined by fear.”
A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of numerous fellowships, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Chicago Magazine, Salon, Buzzfeed, and other publications. She has spoken as a guest on CBS This Morning, PBS Newshour, 20/20, NPR’s All Things Considered, Good Morning America, the Brian Lehr Show, and many other radio shows and podcasts such as Note to Self, Mom and Dad Are Fighting, Femsplainer, and Matt Lewis’ The News. Her novel, The Houseguest, was published in 2016. She lives in Chicago. You can follow Kim on Twitter.Download Bio
Small AnimalsParenthood in the Age of Fear
One 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 would consume the next several years of her life and spur her to investigate the broader role America’s culture of fear plays in parenthood. In Small Animals, 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 ways 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?
The Cinderella Paradox: Feminism, Domestic Labor, and the New Cult of Domesticity Just as Cinderella is told by her evil stepsisters that she can go to the ball just as soon as she’s swept all the chimneys and scrubbed all the floors (without any compensation), American mothers today are told that they can have careers and take part in public life as full and equal citizens just as soon as they’ve fulfilled the ever-expanding duties and responsibilities of intensive motherhood. In this speech dubbed The Cinderella Paradox, Brooks examines the set of double standards, impossible expectations, and anti-family policies that continues to disempower women in the twenty-first century.
The New York Times excerpts an essay from Small Animals.
Listen to Kim’s interview on NPR’s All Things Considered.
Kim sits down with CBS This Morning to talk about how fear of judgment from others impacts parenting.
USA Today interviews Kim on the inspiration for Small Animals.
KCRW’s Press Play interviews Kim on “the era of paranoid parenting.”
Kim talks about her debut novel, The Houseguest, on the Behind the Prose podcast.
– Booklist starred review
“SMALL ANIMALS by Kim Brooks, came at me like a giant exhalation, a release of so much of the stress I’ve carried around since becoming a mother. I forced my advance copy on someone within an hour of finishing it, telling her it would change her life. It’s already changed mine.”
– Rebecca Makkai, Condé Nast Traveler
“An engaging, enlightening story that reveals the potential harm parents and society can do to children when they don’t allow them any freedoms at all.”
“SMALL ANIMALS is more than a memoir: It is a call to action for all of us to quit the judgmental parenting Olympics.”
“This thoughtful, thought-provoking book is part memoir, part examination about our modern American parenting culture, which is often fueled by anxiety and judgment. While I am not a particularly anxious parent, I did find Kim's personal story moving, and her research enlightening. I want to talk about it with every parent I know.”
― Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California