Monday, 6 January 2020

Book Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid #BRPreview

Such a Fun Age
Kiley Reid

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing 
Publication date: 7th January 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Pages: 320
RRP: $29.99 AU
Format read: Uncorrected proof paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading

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.

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.

Alix Chamberlain is a rich online influencer, feminist and does speaking events on women in the workplace. She is trying to land a job on the Hilary Clinton campaign. Alix employs Emira Tucker, a 25 year old black college graduate to babysit her three year old daughter Briar. Emira uses the babysitting to supplement her typing job. Emira is well educated with a college degree so she feels babysitting, as much as she loves it, is not a permanent job. She quite enjoys looking after the inquisitive three year old but both jobs are seen as temporary while she decides what to do with her life.

Whilst the story centres on Emira and Alix’s relationship we are also introduced to Emira’s love interest, Kelley, who just so happens to have some connection to Alix from their High School days. This brings quite an interesting mix of emotions into the story as both Kelley and Alix think they need to protect Emira from each other.

The story is told from the perspective of both Emira and Alix and while it was an easy fun read it brought up some relevant issues concerning race, class, white saviour complex and do-gooders who think they know what is best for everyone else. Kiley Reid addresses these issues with a light tone and sensitivity. She also explores different friendships and how sometimes even our best friends get it wrong in trying to control help in our life.
These tough topics are interspersed with touching interactions between Emira and her charge, Briar. These were quite heart-warming to read.

I am certain this book will be much talked about when it is released. It would make a great book club read.

Kiley Reid is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a babysitter for six years. Such a Fun Age is her first novel. 


1 comment:

  1. I've just finished reading this one too! I think it's proof that even a "summer read" that is accessible and engaging can still prompt us to think about our world and each other. Love this wrap up, thank you!