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Happy Saturday! Though this past week was incredibly busy, I did manage to finish Such a Fun Age — Reese’s Book Club’s first pick of 2020. After reading the synopsis, I was excited to dive into the book.
With great pleasure, I’m happy to announce that it did not disappoint!
Before I share my thoughts on the book, I would like to take a second and thank G.P. Putnam’s Sons for sending me this amazing book free of charge.
Such a Fun Age tells the story of Alix Chamberlain, a wealthy blogger and minor celebrity, and Emira Tucker, a young black babysitter who struggles to pay rent, figure out what to do after she can no longer stay on her parent’s insurance, and also find purpose for her life.
One day, Emira is stopped by a grocery store guard and accused of kidnapping Briar Chamberlain. Though it doesn’t take long before the whole incident is set right, this short moment changes the lives of all the characters.
Kiley Reid is definitely a gifted writer. Her prose is crisp, compelling, and super easy to read. The characters are well-thought-out, captivating, and not at all stereotypical. Thanks to Reid’s talent, the conversations are vivid, relatable, and real.
Such a Fun Age opened my ignorant eyes to the problems people around me might be dealing with. Though I immediately fell in love with Emira, I could recognise some of my own not-so-pretty characteristics and quirks in Alix. I so wanted to believe that Alix was simply trying to deal with her own doubts and insecurities by “taking care” of Emira.
I’m not gonna lie, Alix’s description of her upbringing invoked a certain kind of sympathy. She was apparently wounded by her parents’ choices and actions, and these wounds, though healed on the surface, left scars which influenced her own life choices.
Q&A with Kiley Reid
Like countless victims of non-brutal discrimination that occurs every day, Emira is the victim of racial profiling while on the job caring for her white boss’s two-year-old. It’s a pivotal scene that triggers life-altering events. What do you hope readers take away from that scene?
I hope readers take away the feeling of a low-to-the-ground and domestic terror, that it can and does happen everywhere. That these moments aren’t self-contained and continue to shape everyone involved, particularly the African Americans who have to mentally carry the event with them to every job and grocery store from that time on.
Are there specific authors you have found particularly inspiring?
Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny has really stuck with me and I found her very quiet take on class dynamics incredibly inspiring. I keep Joy William’s 99 Stories of God under my bed because I love it. I also recently enjoyed Heads of Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires.
What do you hope readers take away from Such a Fun Age?
First, I just hope readers love the story. I hope they forget about whatever they’re doing and get wrapped up in the characters and experience that ‘what’s gonna happen?!’ feeling that I love the experience when reading.
Second, I hope the novel works as both a gateway and a mirror; that readers can therefore become interested in reading about all types of characters, ones of various races and incomes, and that this book can gently nudge readers to stop, look inward, and say, “Yikes, I do that too.”
Before you link your post, I would love to hear from you! Have you read Such a Fun Age? What did you think about it?
(If you haven’t, get yourself a copy right now!!!! You can order on Amazon from the comfort of your home. )
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