Such a Fun Age
by Kiley Reid
General Fiction (Adult) , Literary Fiction
Pub Date 07 Jan 2020
What happens when you do the right thing for the wrong reason?
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket 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 it 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 awkwardness 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.
An excellent story about what it is like being a coloured person in a middle-class white culture.
It is a coming of age story but the person it concerns, Emira, comes of age much later than many.
Emira struggles to find a purpose and what she is really interested in – apart from dancing and drinking and going out – her teenage and college life never seems to end even though she has got her degree. Alex tries to help her, but fails to understand her and her background. And then we have a strange man – helping Emira – or not?
I found it difficult at times to understand the speech that the girls shared as it was very particular to their culture but mostly got the gist – I think.
It is tricky to think about your domestic help and what they might want from life – especially when they come from such a different culture to you. and when your immediate impulse is to help them find their way.
Truthfully we had a mother’s help with a degree and we did help her find her next job – after 2 years with us as we taught business skills and she helped with our own business as well as the children, and she came from a nice middle class white family so i have not been confronted with his dilemma personally. But I suspect I would be an Alex!