A Best Book of the Year:
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Longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize
An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A Reese's Book Club Pick
"The most provocative page-turner of the year." --Entertainment Weekly
"I urge you to read Such a Fun Age." --NPR
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," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Kiley Reid’s scathing but easy-to-read debut novel opens with an all-too-common episode of racism: Emira Tucker, a young black babysitter, is falsely accused of kidnapping the affluent child in her care. But when the white people in Emira’s orbit rush to make amends in spectacularly self-serving fashion, they prove that prejudice can come in many forms. Reid is so finely attuned to human behavior and motivations that her story feels instantly—and, at times, uncomfortably—familiar. Her breezy and propulsive writing style makes Such a Fun Age a book you want to devour in a couple of sittings, but her interrogation of urgent and divisive topics makes the book impossible to forget.
In her debut, Reid crafts a nuanced portrait of a young black woman struggling to define herself apart from the white people in her life who are all too ready to speak and act on her behalf. Emira Tucker knows that the one thing she's unequivocally good at is taking care of children, specifically the two young daughters, Briar and Catherine, of her part-time employer, Alix Chamberlain. However, about to turn 26 and lose her parents' health insurance, and while watching her friends snatch up serious boyfriends and enviable promotions, Temple grad Emira starts to feel ashamed about "still" babysitting. This humiliation is stoked after she's harassed by security personnel at an upscale Philadelphia grocery store where she'd taken three-year-old Briar. Emira later develops a romantic relationship with Kelley, the young white man who captured cellphone video of the altercation, only to discover that Kelley and Alix have a shared and uncomfortable past, one that traps Emira in the middle despite assertions that everyone has her best interests at heart. Reid excels at depicting subtle variations and manifestations of self-doubt, and astutely illustrates how, when coupled with unrecognized white privilege, this emotional and professional insecurity can result in unintended as well as willfully unseen consequences. This is an impressive, memorable first outing.
This book was hard to get into. The dialogue was bland, the writing was very immature in a way, and the plot was just not interesting.