Title: Such a Fun Age
Author: Kiley Reid
Pages: 320 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
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.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the awkwardness 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.
It is always surprising to me to find a book that feels incredibly fresh and unique. As a prolific reader, it is hard not to compare books to each other. Some will have similar love interests, some with similar storylines, other ones with similar settings. Such a Fun Age has a lot of these elements but done in such refreshing way that I found myself totally immersed in this story.
It is the story of Emira and Alix: two women with two very different life trajectories. Alix is a successful social media star who is struggling with an incident in her past that has made her overly conscious in the present. Emira is a young woman who is a bit lost. Like a lot of 20-somethings, Emira doesn’t have a clue what she wants. Alix tries to help her whether Emira wants this help or not.
Overall, Such a Fun Age is a book about power and racism. I often felt that Emira, who was one of the two protagonists seemed like an extra in her own life. She passively reacted to things – this was the stylistic choice of Reid – but it often led me to feel frustrated with her. Equally, Alix was so controlling and superior that I felt smothered by her. Furthermore, the villain of the piece kept changing. As a reader, I was kept on my toes throughout and constantly changed my allegiance.
I really enjoyed reading Such a Fun Age. It was an interesting look at privileged society and the racism contained within that world.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is available now.
For more information regarding Kiley Reid (@kileyreid) please visit www.kileyreid.com.
For more information regarding Bloomsbury Books (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.