Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on December 31, 2019
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Bantering Books Rating:
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.
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.
Bantering Books Review
Wow. Kiley Reid can write. No doubt about it.
I’ve been waffling back and forth about whether to go with a four- or five-star rating. I’ve settled on four stars.
I think. At least for now.
Such a Fun Age is an intelligent, deftly written debut . . . with a bite. Don’t let the pretty cover fool you. The story behind the bright, cheery pink and blue hues is intense.
Reid tackles the tough issues of class, privilege, racism, and “white saviors” in this novel — and does not shy away from any of it. The subject matter of the story makes for a difficult read at times. But Reid also infuses the narrative with warmth, love, and humor. Often, I found myself laughing, even while feeling anger and frustration toward the characters.
The main characters in this novel are complex and flawed, to say the least —
We have Alix Chamberlain, well-known blogger and mother of two young girls, who develops a weird obsession with her daughters’ babysitter, Emira. (You should know that I also found Alix to be a very mentally unstable, narcissistic sociopath with MAJOR issues. She. Is. Messed. Up.)
We have Emira Tucker, a 25 year-old, African-American woman, who is babysitting and living aimlessly without much of an inkling as to what to do with her life.
And then there is Kelley Copeland, a successful, 32 year-old, white man, who has problems of his own — namely, racial fetishism.
Reid expertly crafts all three individuals and brings a rich humanity to their flaws. She takes great care to ensure that her characters are not stereotypical and allows readers to feel a small bit of empathy for them, even when their behavior is not always morally sound.
I was seriously hooked from the very first page. I think most readers will be, too.
Such a Fun Age — Such a great story. Such a great writer.
Such an impressive debut.