Such A Fun Age

Such A Fun Age

A Novel

Book - 2019
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Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, 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 things 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.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2019]
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780525541905
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 24 cm


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Oct 22, 2020

Spoiler Alert!
While this book certainly had its moments, overall I felt it was a substandard read. It was not a balanced or realistic story. There were good ideas that could have been developed into a timely and much more powerful statement about racial and social inequality.
Alix Chamberlain is so shallow as to be ridiculous while simultaneously being obsessive. Neither characteristic came over as credible to me. Her ambivalent feelings towards her two children contrast with her infatuation towards both her babysitter, Emira, and her high school lover, Kelley. Meanwhile Alix's friends and acquaintances hold her in high esteem.

Kiley Reid's men play the kind of vague background role that women rightly object to in female characters. The book is dominated by three black and three white women who surround Emira and Alix respectively. Alix's husband, Peter, never features significantly (except when Alix has sex with him) and we hardly ever know what Emira's white boyfriend, Kelley, is really thinking and feeling. 
Regrettably the book never recognized the injustice of Kelley being falsely accused. Then it went on to compound the mistake by treating him simply as collateral damage. 
So Kelley liked his women to be dark-skinned. What in heaven's name is wrong with that? Many white women prefer black men. We all have some kind of physical preference in our partner: tall, blond, muscular. There is nothing wrong with this, it is simply part of being human but Kiley Reid wants to demonize it.  
I find the best literature is based on characters whose faults are exposed but are nevertheless capable of acting honourably, bravely, intelligently etc. If you agree then I suspect you will unfortunately find Kiley Reid a superficial author.

Oct 22, 2020

Well written so it reads well, but shallow look at race relations young black woman baby sitting a white child.

Oct 17, 2020

Excruciatingly dull book about privilege. Unbelievable characters and speech patterns. A cocktail of pointless drivel. I returned it after "skimmishing" the book and told everyone how much I hated it. Yuck.

Oct 16, 2020

As Kiley Reid’s debut novel, Such a fun age is able to bring light to themes of privilege, friendships and class in America. The first chapter however, is what sets the tone for the whole novel. The novel is able to showcase perspectives from both of the main female characters, allowing readers to metaphorically "be in their shoes”. A few characters show interest in the main character (a young black girl) to try and prove they understand what her life is like, leading to another novel where there is a "white saviour”. I enjoyed the novel and would recommend it to anyone, especially teens who want to know how what the say affects their black classmates or friends. Performance activism is a huge topic in our society right now, this novel is an amazing example of this and reminds me of all the teens who post about sensitive topics, but do not make an effort to help. Overall rating: 4/5. @Victoria of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Oct 15, 2020

This book was infuriating - and the characters were so frustrating. That was a good choice for a book group discussion for just those reasons.

Oct 05, 2020

I made it to page 85 before deciding that, if 311 people were waiting to read this, I should return it promptly.

Oct 03, 2020

Didn't like this book. Till page 195 I didn't see what the author was trying to say. Even after that the book wasn't particularly well-written.

Sep 30, 2020

I LOVED this book and couldn't put it down. It felt like a thriller in that way, though the drama is wrapped up not in anyone getting murdered, but in the complex relationships between the characters. I think white feminists (like myself) will find a lot of opportunities for self reflection. If you like strong, complex characters and a story that sucks you in, I highly recommend this.

sjpl_rebekah Sep 26, 2020

It took me a long time to decide how I feel about this book, and to be honest I still don't really know. Lewis is a fantastic writer, so I didn't dislike the book, but at the same time I felt very unfulfilled by it. She addresses some very timely topics, yet in the end I did not really take anything away from story. I found many of the conversations between characters to be very cringey (probably intentionally so) and the twist at the end was not as shocking as I think it was intended to be. Some elements of the story were interesting, however, I don't think this book will be one that sticks with me in the years to come.

Sep 24, 2020

I enjoyed this debut novel from author, Kiley Reid. It's not my normal read though. It feels like what others call "a summer beach read" despite a plot which touches on racism, the subject du jour. Other reviewers elsewhere cast criticism on the dialogue as if they were expecting or seeking more of a screed than the story the author chose to write. I enjoyed this for what it was and found it very, very readable with interesting characters. I think this is a perfect "summer beach read" whether or not you enjoy that sort of thing.

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ArapahoeMaryA Apr 25, 2020

One day, when Emira would say good-bye to Briar, she'd also leave the joy of having somewhere to be, the satisfaction of understanding the rules, the comfort of knowing what's coming next, and the privilege of finding a home within yourself.


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