Title: Such a Fun Age
Author: Kiley Reid
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
The book took off very slowly for me, till I finished Part 1 and was instantly floored by the turn the book took, and the writing. Such a Fun Age seems so less on the surface, and it is so much more the moment you give it time, dedication, and continue reading it without stopping. At times, the book is also quite deceptive in its approach, making you believe that it is about the men and not the women, whereas it is only about the women and rightly so.
The book is about Emira Tucker, a young black woman, who is all of 25 years old, lives in Philadelphia, with two part-time jobs (typist and babysitter), with no benefits and no health insurance at all. She wants to do more in her life but is always held back for one reason or the other. In all of this, her life is brought to the forefront involving an upscale grocery store, where she is on an errand with the toddler of her employer, Alix, who is white. Alix is deeply embarrassed by the incident and takes on Emira as a project – to get to know her better and make wrongs right.
This then leads to a series of questions raised throughout the book about class, gender, race, parenthood, forgiveness, and what it takes to be a person in the twenty-first century. The plot and the semi-plots are full of nuances as created by Reid. The book is funny, and before you know it, it becomes serious talking about racial biases, and the prejudices we seem to hold onto, sometimes even unintentionally.
Reid writes from a place of awareness and experience, which adds to the many dimensions of the book. The characters aren’t all black and white, and you do not expect them to be that was well. The greyness is something that just sneaks up (Emira’s boyfriend and what happens thereof). There is a lot of engagement with the reader, in the sense of being vested, as the pages turn. I often found myself not wanting this book to end because of the way it is written.
Such a Fun Age besides being a solid book of and for our times, is a read that will leave you bedazzled and wanting more. It’s take on privilege, wealth, class, and crossing of paths of people is refreshing, and makes it a compulsive read on so many levels.