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, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, 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 things 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.
December 31st, 2019
Such a Fun Age is the debut novel by Kiley Reid. This is one of those books that is written in a light and engaging manner but is deceptively heavy-hitting. It a compelling contemporary fiction novel that dives into racial issues from two very different standpoints as well as how we identify with ourselves and with one another.
We meet two women, Emira Tucker and Alix Chamberlain. Emira babysits for Alix’s young daughter Briar and after a late-night incident where Emira is stopped by security when she is out with Briar, everything changes. While Emira deals with the aftermath of this incident, Alix resolves to make this “right”.
While this book is absolutely engrossing to read, Reid also takes on the issue of “white savior” narratives. I appreciated that Reid created multi-faceted and incredibly detailed characters within these narratives. While I couldn’t entirely relate to either of these women, I felt I understood them and a lot of this came from knowing their backstories.
I appreciated that Emira and Alix were both imperfect in their own ways which I think added so much nuance to this storyline. Such a Fun Age was a fascinating and thought-provoking read and I just enjoyed Reid’s writing style so much. I predict this one will get a lot of buzz when it is released at the end of December!
Thank you to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Son’s for an advanced copy.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!