The ordinary world never made sense to Amanda— how can she trust time will keep flowing, the sun will rise, and her mother won’t vanish into thin air? Shuttled between divorced parents, from a barefoot bohemian existence in Greenwich Village to a sanitized, stricter world uptown, this smart, sensitive little girl experiences life through the distorting lens of an undiagnosed panic disorder— convinced her worries protect her family from danger. When, one morning in 1979, Etan Patz disappears near her MacDougal Street home, Amanda knows that all her worst fears are about to come true. Candid, tender, funny, and gorgeously immersive, LITTLE PANIC is at once a love letter to 1970s- and ’80s-era New York City and a brilliant window into life lived on the razor’s edge of panic.
“In this canny, insightful, novelistic memoir,
Amanda Stern traces the indelible path her underlying anxiety has traced in a rich but often frustrated life. She achieves a symphony of complex fragilities and redeeming strengths.”
— ANDREW SOLOMON
“LITTLE PANIC is an intimate and sweeping story of hypervigilance. Cheeky and vivid and transporting, it’s also extremely funny. Stern’s book conveys just how isolating mental illness really is. I spend my life hoping to find books like this.”
— SARAH MANGUSO
Amanda Stern is the author of The Long Haul and eleven books for children written under pseudonyms. In 2003, she founded the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series which she ran until 2016, at Joe’s Pub and later at Symphony Space. Her next book is LITTLE PANIC, a memoir about growing up with an undiagnosed panic disorder in Etan Patz era Greenwich Village. It comes out on June 19, 2018 from Grand Central Publishing.