Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life

Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life

by Amanda Stern


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In the vein of bestselling memoirs about mental illness like Andrew Solomon's Noonday Demon, Sarah Hepola's Blackout, and Daniel Smith's Monkey Mind comes a gorgeously immersive, immediately relatable, and brilliantly funny memoir about living life on the razor's edge of panic.

The world never made any sense to Amanda Stern—how could she trust time to keep flowing, the sun to rise, gravity to hold her feet to the ground, or even her own body to work the way it was supposed to? Deep down, she knows that there's something horribly wrong with her, some defect that her siblings and friends don't have to cope with.
Growing up in the 1970s and 80s in New York, Amanda experiences the magic and madness of life through the filter of unrelenting panic. Plagued with fear that her friends and family will be taken from her if she's not watching-that her mother will die, or forget she has children and just move away-Amanda treats every parting as her last. Shuttled between a barefoot bohemian life with her mother in Greenwich Village, and a sanitized, stricter world of affluence uptown with her father, Amanda has little she can depend on. And when Etan Patz disappears down the block from their MacDougal Street home, she can't help but believe that all her worst fears are about to come true.
Tenderly delivered and expertly structured, Amanda Stern's memoir is a document of the transformation of New York City and a deep, personal, and comedic account of the trials and errors of seeing life through a very unusual lens.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538711927
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 06/19/2018
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,184,898
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Amanda Stern is the author of the novel The Long Haul and the nine book Frankly Frannie middle grade series. Since 2003, she has helmed the Happy Ending Reading series and she's been a NYFA Fiction Fellow and held residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Salon, Post Road and St. Ann's Review .

Table of Contents

Author's Note on Sources ix

I Am Not a Clock 1

Not the Right Kind of Human 7

Maybe I Am Not a Person 11

How to Say What's Wrong 19

The System of the World 37

Countdown to Karen Silkwood 41

The Underside of Perfect 57

My Real Family 65

Not-Melissa 75

Someone Kicked the Earth 83

If Time Were a Dog 94

Oh How We Glowed 99

Scapegoat 115

Frankie Bird 120

Jinx 129

Yes, No, Maybe, I Don't Know 142

Listen Carefully and Say Exactly What I Say 148

Normal-Sized 155

A Beautiful Gorgeous Life 160

A Stay-Behind Kid 165

The Bright Side 170

The Drainpipe Man 177

A Word Never Means Only One Thing 188

A Sense of Rightness 199

Hunky Dory 220

My Life Stained the World 231

I'm the Test to Solve 243

Everywhere I Look, Families 262

Anarchy 269

When I Turn Eighteen 282

What If I Give Birth to Myself? 292

Who Doesn't Want to Be in a Play? 297

One Right Way to Be a Person 305

Homeless 312

I Am a Pinball Machine 317

The System Is the Problem 322

The Dread, the Relief 336

Waiting to Move On 340

The Body 345

Waited My Whole Life to Be Normal 357

Forever Mama 366

Take Care of the Animals 373

Certainty 377

To Be the Same 381

Acknowledgments 387

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