Such a Fun Age
By: Kiley Reid
This book has been on my radar for a while and I finally decided to pick it up and give it a go and I’m very glad I did.
It’s a strong debut with great character work (my fav) and opens things up for some very meaningful discussions. It’s not perfect but it makes me really excited to see what Reid does next.
One night after getting an emergency call from her frazzled boss young nanny Emira takes her charge to a ritzy grocery store where she’s promptly stopped by a security guard, alerted by a noisy customer, young Briar is white and Emira black so the security guard thinks she was kidnapped.
Thus starts our story. Emira is definitely the best character. She’s likable and relatable as she doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life. She’s a great nanny and loves the kid but also feels pressure to begin an adult life (or at least find a job with benefits). Alix, her boss, is a social media influencer who basically made a career asking for nice things and than reviewing them and parlayed that into huge success.
Alix is also lonely and lost and what better project to take on than befriending and helping her young nanny find her way. Whether Emira wants her friendship or her help. Alix only goes into further overdrive when she objects to Emira’s boyfriend and things spin out of control from there.
This book makes some excellent points about false allyship and patting yourself on the back for helping people while at heart those ideas and your help are still born from a vein of racism and not really all that helpful to begin with. And I liked that it showed you the everyday things. For instance at one point Emira calls out her white boyfriend for making a big show of helping out the catering staff at a party. As she points out he’s doing it for himself, making the staff feel awkward and it’s going over the heads of the people with whom he’s really directing the gesture.
I also really liked the ending of the book.
My only real issue with the book was having two of the characters have a prior unpleasant connection before meeting that very much influences the story and I thought kind of muddled it a bit. But then again people are nuanced and messy all around and I’m not sure you can ever really remove someone’s history from the equation. So while I may think it would have been better to go a different way it still worked.
It’s a book with a lot of important things to talk about that somehow also manages to be a really good “summer” read in that its easy to lose yourself in and moves rather quickly once you do.