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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
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Such a Fun Age (edition 2019)

by Kiley Reid (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,9481276,640 (3.83)1 / 122
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A REESE'S BOOK CLUB x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK "The most provocative page-turner of the year." --Entertainment Weekly "A great way to kick off 2020." --Washington Post "I urge you to read Such a Fun Age." --NPR A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both. 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," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.… (more)
Member:lscherr77
Title:Such a Fun Age
Authors:Kiley Reid (Author)
Info:G.P. Putnam's Sons (2019), 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

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» See also 122 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
This was such a page turner that I read it in one day!!! ( )
  KimZoot | Jan 2, 2022 |
I really enjoyed Such a Fun Age and I completely understand why there was so much hype around it both at the time of its release in 2019 and over the summer of 2020. This book wasn’t originally on my TBR because it’s adult literary fiction, but over the last year I’ve been trying to branch out and read more diverse authors so Such a Fun Age ended up on my list and it’s a great example of why you should reach out of your comfort zone because there are so many books out there that you don’t know you’ll love.

Reid does an incredible job building the three central characters. On one hand, we have Alix who is a rich white woman who is used to having everything handed to her, but thinks that she is very moderate and of the people. On the other hand we have Kelly, who immerses himself so much in the world of his Black friends and love interests that he thinks he’s being an ally when it comes off as more of a fetish. At the centre of all this, we have Emira, who just just trying to live her life and figure out what she wants to do with it. Both of the white characters have agendas revolving around Emira, but they don’t have the conscious realisation that they are using her.

Such a Fun Age explores racism, classism, parenting, Millennial and Gen Z’s economic survival, micro aggressions, and so much more. Even the title has two meanings, one related to Emira’s charge Briar, and the other as an overall umbrella for the age we live in. Both tongue in cheek, of course.

There’s nothing I can think of that would’ve improved this book, or made it a better read. The setting is solid, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the occasional flashback to other locations nearby. The characters are all well developed and multifaceted, and their individual motivators and agendas really drove the story. This is a character-driven novel more than it is a plot-driven novel, but there is a loose plot around the racist incident at the beginning of the book and what Emira is going to do with the footage. Again, this all plays out really well and the timeline is steady. The writing is good, the narrator did an excellent job reading it, all in all this is a fantastic read on both a technical level and a personal enjoyment level.

Besides those praises, this book makes me think and watch myself. Such a Fun Age has two white people who genuinely believe they are doing the right thing for the right reasons. They remind me to make sure that I am being respectful of the people around me, particularly people of color, and not interfering where I’m not wanted. There is a line between supporting someone and trying to be a white saviour, and Such a Fun Age explores toeing over this line extremely well.

This book is just as essential a read for those on the antiracist path as are non-fiction books about systemic racism and the flaws in our prison system. Such a Fun Age reminds readers that the issues aren’t all on a large scale that we can’t affect – many of them are in the small gestures and in the way we speak to and treat one another, and we need to learn to be more respectful of the privacy and rights and humanity of others.

I absolutely recommend this book to all readers who are comfortable with more complex writing at an adult level. There is a little sexual content, and a racist incident, but overall this is an accessible book without a lot of trigger warnings outside of racism and it is important fiction read. ( )
  Morteana | Nov 25, 2021 |
Dieses Buch hat mich ein wenig irritiert - Rassismus in all seinen Ausprägungen scheint dieses Jahr extrem viel Platz auf meinen Leselisten einzunehmen. Insofern fand ich es interessant, hier zwei weiße Protagonisten zu sehen, die völlig überzeugt sind, nicht rassistisch zu sein, allerdings auf eine verquere Art genau das sind - und dabei den Splitter im Auge des Gegenübers sehen, nicht aber den Balken im eigenen Auge.

Allerdings wirken alle Figuren auf mich künstlich, einschließlich der Protagonistin und ihren Freunden, das kleine Mädchen, dass sie betreut, wirkt auf mich absolut unglaubwürdig für eine Dreijährige (und ich habe wirklich merkwürdige Dreijährige kennengelernt).

Insofern - spannender Ansatz, aber in der Ausführung für mich leider nicht wirklich gelungen. ( )
  Ellemir | Nov 9, 2021 |
Such an entertaining, fast paced read. Recommended to me by multiple educators/book lovers as a great book to escape into. ( )
  MKohlman | Nov 5, 2021 |
Satiric Sendup on Race

Kiley Reid’s debut novel is a low-key satire featuring upper middle class progressives trying their darnedest to look progressive and educated black women carving a place for themselves in the professional world. Many readers will either identify with or be reminded of the two main protagonists, white, wealthy, entrepreneurial Alix Chamberlain and college educated but somewhat lost African American Emira. Their character DNAs and interactions, Alix employs Emira as a babysitter, point up an entire bevy of issues that include surveilling black patrons in stores, interracial dating, befriending blacks for cred, employing black women as domestics, thinking you know what’s best for a black person, black middle class expectations, and like issues that we don’t give much consideration to, unless we are African American and experiencing them daily, or see an incident reported in the news. Reid turns the tale on an screwup that occurred between Alix and a boy, Kelley Copeland, after they had dated briefly and broke up badly in high school. In a novel like this, you can expect a load of contrivances and coincidences, and yes they are here, but generally, until the end, they don’t get in the way of enjoying the web Reid weaves.

Emira is conflicted in many ways most readers can identify with. While a college graduate and twenty-five, she can’t find anything that truly interests her. She enjoys what she does, babysitting for Alix Chamberlain’s toddler daughter Briar, and she’s very good at it (her interaction with Briar represent some of the strongest moments of the novel). She hangs with a squad of friends who are all going places in life, a nurse, a rising executive from a wealthy family, a graduate student in public health, all of whom push her along to get on with her life. Emira knows she has to move beyond part-time babysitting and part-time transcription work for the Green Party, but what that might be eludes her. To complicate matters, she enjoys her babysitting gig because she really likes Briar, especially the little girl’s precociousness, that includes an inquisitive mind and affecting quirkiness, and the fact Emira thinks Alix hasn’t and can’t connect with her own daughter, which becomes more pronounced with the birth of a sister, Catherine. She’s also conflicted about Alix, whom she feels intrudes a bit too much into her life.

Alix, for her part, is a crafty, smart, hard driving self-made businesswoman, a creation of the internet and her instincts as an influencer. Before moving to Philadelphia, where her husband Peter got a local news anchor gig, they lived in New York and she thrived there, growing her business and surrounding herself with her own friend squad, an appropriately ethnically mixed group. Moving to Philly puts her off her game. But when she finds Emira, she seems to have a new mission that pushes her other activities, the building of her business and the raising of her children, to the back, as she obsesses over her babysitter. She constantly strives to involve herself in Emira’s business and fold her into the family. She thinks herself subtle but to readers and Emira she’s painfully and often comically obvious, and leaves you wondering, if you’re a white reader, do I do stuff like that?

The incident that sets the novel in motion occurs in a local upscale market. Emira, out partying with her friends, receives an emergency call from Alix to take charge of Briar while she and husband Peter deal with their own incident at home stemming from a blunder he made on his local newscast. Dressed for a night out in a market with a white child, a woman and the security guard regard Emira as suspect. She protests that she is the child’s nanny. A bystander, Kelley Copeland, captures all on his phone. Emira calls Peter. Peter comes down and resolves the issue. Kelley then tells Emira she should post the video. She demands he delete it. It’s not the kind of notoriety she wants in her life. He complies, sending her a copy in case she changes her mind. Then one thing leads to another and Kelley and Emira begin dating. And from there you can imagine just how complicated, crazy, and turned around things get.

In these serious times of self-confinement when you might find yourself either obsessing over your own worries or bored out of your mind, Reid’s novel not only will entertain you but also remind you that there are other important conundrums out there in addition to the virus.
( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Reid, Kileyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lewis, NicoleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"We definitely wait for birthdays. Or even ice cream. Like [my daughter] has to earn it. Yesterday we promised her an ice cream, but then she behaved horribly. And I said, 'Then I'm sorry, ice cream is for girls who behave. And that's not you today. Maybe tomorrow.'"

---RACHEL SHERMAN,
Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence
Dedication
For Patricia Adeline Olivier
First words
That night, when Mrs. Chamberlain called, Emira could only piece together the words "... take Briar somewhere ..." and "... pay you double."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A REESE'S BOOK CLUB x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK "The most provocative page-turner of the year." --Entertainment Weekly "A great way to kick off 2020." --Washington Post "I urge you to read Such a Fun Age." --NPR A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both. 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," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.

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