Review: Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

 

Title: Such a Fun Age

Author: Kylie Reid

Published: January 7th 2020, Bloomsbury ANZ

Status: Read January 2020 courtesy Bloomsbury ANZ/Netgalley

++++++

My Thoughts:

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid has been on my schedule for months, and I thought that, as such, it deserved to be my first read of 2020. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but it had its moments.

Having graduated college with no clear idea of what she wants to do with her life, twenty-five year old Emira Tucker has since taken on a series of part time jobs, her favourite of which is babysitting Briar Chamberlain. Briar is a precocious three year old, and a little too tiring for her career focused mother, Alix, to handle while trying to build her ‘brand’ and also care for a newborn. Alix, and her husband, TV anchorman Peter, are vaguely grateful for the care Emira provides, and both are horrified when late one night they call on Emira for help and the young woman is detained by an over-reaching security guard at a local store who believes she may have kidnapped Briar, not only because Emira is dressed for the party she was attending when the Chamberlain’s called, but because Emira is black, and Briar is white.

While underscoring the major themes of race, class, and privilege, this incident is not actually the focus of the novel, but it is a catalyst for change in the relationship between Alix and Emira. Feeling vaguely guilty about the incident, and worried that Emira will leave their employ, Alix becomes fixated on befriending her. Emira would prefer to forget the whole thing, she has other things on her mind, like her lack of career, and a new beau, Kelley Copeland, whom she met the night of the confrontation in the store.

While low key conflict related to race and class simmers in the background, Reid doesn’t pit the white and black/ rich and poor characters against each other, instead she thoughtfully explores the varying experiences, understandings, and motives that affect their viewpoints about themselves and each other. As the story unfolds from the perspectives of the two women, Reid also examines additional themes such as identity, motherhood, friendship, and career.

Not being American I can’t pretend to understand the cultural dynamics which underpin Such A Fun Age, but I did find it well written, nuanced and thought provoking.

++++++

Available from Bloomsbury ANZ

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vicki
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 05:52:59

    This is on my very long list to read. Sorry you didn’t like it more!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. the most constant
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 05:53:51

    I’ve been on the fence about this one. It’s received a lot of attention, but it just doesn’t really appeal to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Amanda Barrett
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 10:42:05

    Great review Shelleyrae! I think I might be able to use this one for a challenge 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Kathryn
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 10:50:35

    Hmm reading your review and its premise makes me interested. Even if it wasn’t totally your “cup of tea” it still seems like it has good aspects to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Carol
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 11:25:48

    Nice review! I’m eager to read it to see what I think!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. littlemissstar55
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 12:05:51

    I do like that cover, it’s a pretty cover.
    Your thoughts on the book were really lovely to read. I am glad you liked it on the whole, even if it fell flat in a few places.
    💜

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. Kay
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 12:19:31

    I read the first couple of pages, thinking I might have it as my first book, but I could tell the theme was going to be a little grim for the more uplifting book I was looking for. I’ll get to it this spring at some point. Good to know your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Liz Dexter
      Jan 07, 2020 @ 00:12:03

      Kay – it’s not as grim as you think it’s going to be from the beginning – I found it a light and attractive read as well as a thought-provoking one. But it doesn’t work to drag us down, it helps us join together to see and fight injustices, if you see what I mean.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  8. ondbookshelf
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 12:49:17

    I liked this one for the most part, although I have a hard time relating to the twenty something characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. Athira
    Jan 04, 2020 @ 12:59:31

    I’ve been looking forward to reading this one but you’re right – from the premise of the book, it sounded like the incident at the store is at the crux of the story. I’m not sure how I feel about that but I’ll wade in with my expectations in check.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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  11. fuonlyknew
    Jan 05, 2020 @ 02:25:54

    I’m on the fence about this one.

    Like

    Reply

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  13. Liz Dexter
    Jan 07, 2020 @ 00:13:33

    I really enjoyed this – I read it from NetGalley last month (review here if you’re interested https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2019/12/20/book-review-kiley-reid-such-a-fun-age/ ). I found it a page-turner and it made me think and even reassess some of the ways I try to be all right-on and only talk to people about issues rather than their own selves, if that makes any sense at all. Although I’m not in the US either, there were definitely useful data points in it for me. I also thought it was incredibly well done for a first novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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