Thank you to G.P. Putnam’s Sons / NetGalley for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Published: December 31, 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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.
Emira Tucker, twenty-five years old, the babysitter of Briar, Alix Chamberlain’s two-year old little girl, and can type 125 wpm. She’s from Sewell Bridge, Maryland where a certain percentage of the population is hearing impaired. Emira, fortunately, can hear perfectly fine. Her father owns a bee store, and her mother binds books in a screened room attached to their house. She has a brother, Alfie, who is a professional barista, and her sister’s name is Justyne—sewing master.
Alix (Alex) Chamberlain is married to Peter Chamberlain, and they have two little girls together—Briar and Catherine. They’ve been married since they were 28-years old. Alix wrote reviews of products she got for free. She gave a cover-letter-writing workshop to students at Columbia Grammar and Prep. A student had posted her cover letter on Instagram with a caption giving credit to Alix. Alix’s free merchandise franchise turned into a philosophy about women speaking up for themselves—LetHer Speak. She constantly pitched novel ideas to literary agents. She eventually was able to sell her book to an editor at HarperCollins!
She also has a group of friends, Rachel, Jodi, and Tamra. They all talk about kids, weight, and anything else they can gossip about. They are they masterminds behind how she should act toward Emira after the event.
Kelley Copeland: Filmed the incident in the grocery store. He was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and he has an older sister and two younger brothers. He avoids screens after 10 p.m., since his job included coding and creating interfaces for different places—yoga retreats, gyms, spin classes, etc. He dated Alix in high school and started dating Emira after they met again on a train. He had a preference when it came to women, but his preferences go overboard.
My two favorite characters from this book are Emira and Briar. Emira has a good head on her shoulders. She makes the right decision at the end of the book. I respect her.
Briar is intelligent for her age. She loves Emira—as she should! She’s so stinkin’ cute, y’all! The ending quote about Briar absolutely breaks my heart. I will say that.
The story is well done. It’s definitely one of its kind as far as content. I’ve read books about race/racism but nothing quite like this one.
It’s very fast-paced, funny, and heartbreaking. It made me question what all really happens in the world. If I think about it too much, it makes me incredibly sad. A twenty-five year old woman walking around with a baby gets stopped because she’s black. Her employer goes way too far to make her feel “comfortable” after what happened. The innocent bystander who videotaped the incident ends up dating her because she’s black. It’s all very bazaar. It’s all just a whirlwind of events.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style. It took me up until the 25% mark to get used to it. It was a bit info-dumpy when describing characters and their backgrounds. It’s very simple for the topic of the book, but the writing is very digestible. There’s nothing wrong with that! It just didn’t work for me. That is actually the main reason I dropped my rating down a star, unfortunately.
Would I reread this? No, but I will recommend it to all of you. It handles important topics really well. The writing was sub-par to me. It didn’t grip me like I anticipated. It’s still a good book, and I’m happy I was able to read it.
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