A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.
Title : Such A Fun Age
Author : Kiley Reid
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 310
Genre : Contemporary
Publisher : Bloomsbury
Release Date : January 7, 2020
Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
Messy, intricate plot
Who’s the baddie?
Characters to make your skin crawl
I thought this was such a clever read, the plot was beautifully messy and it left the reader guessing and guessing at which side was the one to vouch for. One thing I knew from early on was that was that Emira was down to earth, humble and I needed her to come out of this in good shape.
Such a Fun Age was a hugely thought-provoking read. Overt racism started this story but more subtle and insiduous racism was what continued the story. I started by thinking that Kelley was a good guy but I found myself constantly questioning that. I thought Alix was icky from the start and I couldn’t shake off that feeling of discomfort and disingenuous characterisitics. Briar was a bright light in this book and her relationship with Emira was gorgeous.
One of the things that drove me mad (but was well written) was the infantilising of characters, calling one character in particular ‘girl’ when this person had done nothing but demonstrate their maturity. The sense of superiority of another character insensed me. The fetishisation theme felt important representation.
This book will leave you with questions, thoughts and some conclusions too. I found the writing engaging but it did take a little while to get into it; once I did, it was unputdownable. I definitely recommend this read to get you thinking and engaged with subtle behaviours of superiority and other issues that are so relevant to contemporary life.