Lit­tle Pan­ic: Dis­patch­es from an Anx­ious Life

  • From the Publisher
March 29, 2018

As a child, the ordi­nary world nev­er made sense to me. I could­n’t trust time to keep flow­ing, the sun to rise, or that my moth­er would­n’t van­ish into thin air. Cer­tain my friends and fam­i­ly would die if I was­n’t watch­ing, I treat­ed every part­ing as my last. Deep down, I knew that some­thing was hor­ri­bly wrong with me, some defect no one else had to cope with. Shut­tled between my Jew­ish par­ents, from a bohemi­an life in Green­wich Vil­lage to a stricter world uptown, I was con­vinced my wor­ries kept my fam­i­ly safe. My every expe­ri­ence was fil­tered through the dis­tort­ing lens of an undi­ag­nosed pan­ic dis­or­der. When, one morn­ing in 1979, Etan Patz dis­ap­peared near my Mac­Dou­gal Street home, I could­n’t help but believe that all my worst fears were about to come true.

The his­to­ry of anx­i­ety belongs to the Jews. We ask: Who will keep us safe? Where do we belong? Are we invis­i­ble? This book mines these Jew­ish themes through the eyes of our most pre­dom­i­nant emotion.

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