Goodreads // 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.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid tells the story of Emira who’s working as a babysitter for the Chambers, when one late night she gets stopped at the grocery store by security because she’s a black babysitter with a white child. The situation is resolved fairly quickly but it leads to a chain of events that will change all of these character’s lives.
Emira’s struggling – she’s already in her twenties but she feels like she still doesn’t really know what she wants to do, or what she should be doing, and she’s struggling to pay rent, afford health insurance and get a decent job. In a way, she’s really struggling with the expectations other people (her friends/employers/society) have for her because she’s not entirely unhappy in her situation because she loves babysitting 3-year-old Bryce Chambers.
Alix is having an identity crisis of sorts. She was a driven, very proactive and productive businesswoman in NY but with the birth of her children and their moving to Philadelphia, she’s slowed down a bit – she feels like she’s let herself go in more ways than one.
The thing that throw all these lives into disarray is the situation at the grocery store – and what people think they need to do about it. Emira wants to forget about it and move on. As an African American she’s had to deal with racism in countless other places and she’d rather just live her life than make a fuss. Every other white character thinks she should share the video and sue the store, but she’s worried about the consequences it will have for her life.
One of the things I find interesting in Such a Fun Age is that the conflict here is a conflict between people – their interpersonal relationships, misunderstandings, and their own personal need to be right and influence other people to think the way they do. Needless to say, this is as realistic as it gets – but surprisingly the drama wasn’t too over the top which I enjoyed. I’m not a huge fan of drama in books (def in kdramas tho)!
Also, all I have to say about the writing is that it’s great. I read this book quickly and I was very much engaged in the story and could barely put it down.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, Such a Fun Age is a very interesting and thought-provoking story about people’s perceptions, beliefs and the consequences of forcing those things onto other people. In some ways I could relate to both Emira and Alix – and the author wrote both these interesting characters in a way that you can really see the things they believe from their perspective which doesn’t mean I agreed or supported either of their behaviors or decisions. The ending of this book made me a bit sad. I just felt like Emira was working on making her life better and being happy in her own terms while other people kept telling her how she should be living her life.
I strongly recommend this book!