When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.
When twenty-four-year-old Emira Tucker is accused of kidnapping Briar, the white infant she babysits for Alix and Peter Chamberlain, it sets in motion a series of compulsive affairs that combine the past, present and Alix’s obsession with Emira, cultivating to an intense battle of bravado, with elements of “he said, she said”.
Such A Fun Age is a story with a breezy narration style but contains meaningful undertones throughout.
In short, I loved this book and definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a breezy contemporary. And yet… I’d definitely say this has tones similar to the movie Get Out, due to how horrifying some behaviour is. It really did give me psychological thriller vibes and chills down my spine at times.
After the opening chapter demands the reader’s attention, the story’s pace didn’t have as much flare as the beginning. Rather, the pace shifted into building tension in subtle ways across the story through the alternating perspectives of Emira and Alix. Once I realised this, the pace didn’t really drop at all. It was just a bit different from how full on the first chapter is. Also, there’s quite a few chapters (from Emira) that felt uneventful because it was all about her routine babysitting, which was a tad boring. However, I guarantee the climax makes all those moments worthwhile. The climax was brilliantly done and I loved the ending. It was satisfying and had a delicacy to it like the aftermath of a terrible rainstorm.
My favourite things about Such A Fun Age: I loved that this book illustrated how everybody sees experiences differently. Two people can come away from a conversation having a totally different opinion and perspective on what happened during that conversation, and I loved how the author captured the feelings of being lost and directionless during your twenties.
I also have to praise Reid for creating the character Alix Chamberlain… my initial thoughts on her were not what they were by the end of the story. I love how complicated of a character she is, and I was completely invested in the “how” of how her story ended. Briar, the little girl, provided a lot of levity to Such A Fun Age’s heavier moments, yet she was mostly at the heart of such heavier moments too. One minute she was goofy as children can be, then she offered such profoundness. I have to admire Reid’s successful illustration of how intelligent and observant children really are, all the while perhaps appearing immature.
I truly resonated with how lost Emira felt – how she couldn’t stop comparing her friends life successes and developments, to what little she had to her own name. And I loved her relationship with little Briar. However, I found Emira to be quite a painful character beyond her story of life insecurities. She read extremely awkward and cold outside of her relationship with Briar, and reminded me of that old saying “it’s like pulling teeth” when you try to talk to someone who’s not talking. This problem was worse with Alix’s character, which I suppose highlights how Emira didn’t consider her a friend, much to Alix’s chagrin. So on that point, this difficulty was successful to the story and those characters, but to the wider characters like Emira’s friends etc. it grew irritating.
There truly were moments where I was turning the pages furiously because I couldn’t burn through the story fast enough; I couldn’t put the book down. Moments where I had to look anywhere and everywhere BUT the pages of the book because of how freaking awkward behaviour/conversations were. Moments where I was welling up from such happiness and sadness when it comes to children and parental relationships. Moments where I was seething with rage and then bubbling with excitement and joy. And moments that had me giggling from nerves and from the utter hilarity of what characters did. All in all, Such A Fun Age is an enjoyable and easy read that is incredibly nuanced. I’d definitely recommend it.
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Published: January 2020
Genre: contemporary fiction / general fiction