Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Such a Fun Age has at its helm two female protagonists — Emira, a young black woman in her mid-twenties and part-time babysitter and Alix, her white employer in her mid-thirties, an ‘influencer’ and mother to baby Catherine and two-year-old Briar.
The story centres around the night Emira is stopped at a grocery store with Briar, because she is suspected of kidnapping her. From then on, the relationship between the two women twists and turns as many uncomfortable truths are discovered. This book is so relevant as a commentary of life today and at times it had me feeling genuinely awkward. I felt sympathetic to both of the leads at different points but there were also times when I wanted to shout at the pair of them. The moment when Emira and her boyfriend arrive at Alix’s home for Thanksgiving dinner had me literally covering my eyes and gasping in anticipation of what was to come. I devoured Such a Fun Age and would highly recommend it; brilliantly structured and written, it made me think about perception, reality, race and privilege in a refreshing, cutting and unforgettable way.
Reading this book was an experience. At times I thought it wasn’t fiction because the writing is so clever that you can genuinely hear the voices of the characters. At other points I was so uncomfortable I had to stop reading (but only for a moment because it is such a good read). There were moments of frivolity and also some breathtakingly awkward scenes. If there had been a fire whilst I was reading parts of this I genuinely wouldn’t have noticed. This is a nuanced and sophisticated book that works so effectively because the plot is relatively simple but the development of the people Reid creates is so complex. There are many themes, from race and privilege to friendship and motherhood, deftly touched upon that I, weeks on, am still thinking about Alix and Emira. Worthy of all the praise and hype and out in paperback now from @bloomsburypublishing. Thank you Ros Ellis for our copy.