Such a Fun Age came highly recommended from a number of friends who have read it, so I knew I needed to give it a go! Kiley Reid’s debut novel deals with a variety of themes, including privilege, racism, and the ways in which various people within a society understand each other (or don’t) all with excellent writing and an interesting storyline that truly made this book a page turner- I finished it in about three days.
The book begins with Emira, a recent college graduate who is working for the Chamberlains, a wealthy family led by news anchor Peter and influencer Alix, as a babysitter for their toddler Briar. Alix calls Emira while she is at a friend’s birthday party to take her daughter Briar out for a bit while she and her husband deal with an issue at home, and Emira obliges, taking the toddler to a higher end grocery store near the Chamberlain household. While minding her own business in the store with Briar, a customer alerts a security guard to her presence and she is accused of kidnapping. As she explains that she isn’t Briar’s mother but her nanny, it becomes clear that she’s been accused of the kidnapping due to her race, where she was a young black women watching a white child.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away in this review, because there really are so many layers to it and Reid’s writing style does such an amazing job of creating both a sense of realism and intrigue when sharing each part of the story. At times, nearly every character from the story seems well-intentioned, but perhaps ignorant, and in some cases ignorant of their privilege, and their internal thoughts along with their actions give so much insight into the reader that the story makes for a truly fascinating read without spelling out the book’s themes in a way that is preachy or condescending to the reader (which I think is sometimes the case when an author is trying to get similar points across.)
Reid’s writing felt like talking to a friend–I think the book is very accessible regardless of how one might relate to the story, and I really appreciate that a story so focused on race and privilege brought so many different angles to the story and really so many plot points that just left me with more to think about on the subject than I would have imagined before diving into the book.
When I finished reading it, I immediately looked up Kiley Reid to find other books by her and cannot wait to add another one of her novels to my reading list.