Title: Such A Fun Age
Author: Kiley Reid
Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: 7th January 2020
What happens when you do the right thing for the wrong reason?
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.
I’ve been reading a lot of complimentary things about Such A Fun Age and I’m pleased to say it did not disappoint at all. The story centres around a family with two young children and their babysitter. After a disturbing incident at a supermarket, things become complicated between Alix, the mother and Emira, the babysitter.
There is so much to unpack in this clever and witty book. It is an incredibly astute commentary on class, race, gender and privilege. After the incident in the supermarket Alix becomes kind of obsessed with making Emira her friend. It is a strange and fascinating relationship filled with nuance and awkwardness. There are numerous twists and turns as the story evolves which genuinely took me by surprise and threw so many issues between these two women into the mix. Emira spends all her time as a babysitter with the elder of Alix’s two children, two year old Briar, and the relationship between Emira and Briar is perhaps my favourite aspect of Such A Fun Age. It feels so completely genuine and honest. Briar is frequently ignored by her mother who favours her younger sister and the way Emira understands Briar and gives her her complete undivided attention is so heartwarming.
I was one hundred percent engaged with these characters who are all incredibly compelling – especially Emira and Alix. I also loved the way the author dealt with the ending. It was in no way melodramatic or overdone but there is a subtlety to it which is clever and effective. The whole book has a sort of bittersweet tone which feels really authentic. Such A Fun Age has already become one of my favourites of the year and I can’t wait to read whatever the talented Reid writes next. This book is the kind that will stay with you and leave you thinking about it long after you have turned the last page.
I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.