If you enjoy modern narratives with character and depth, Kiley Reid’s debut novel is a great read to pick up next. A successful life coach, Alix, hires a babysitter, Emira, to look after her rambunctious daughter, Briar. The book starts with Emira being accused of kidnapping Briar in a supermarket – Emira’s black, Briar’s white…
After the racist incident, Mrs. Chamberlain becomes protective of her sitter to the point obsession. And things only escalate when she finds out who Emira is dating. What makes Such A Fun Age truly shine, however, is the way it’s written and the range of societal messages it conveys. Explore this book review for the narrative’s winning features.
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Reflections of “Age”
The narrative uses the third-person perspectives of the two women and fleshes out their experiences in thought-provoking detail. One, an ambitious middle-aged wife and mother of two stuck in suburban Philadelphia. The other, a young woman struggling to find her lot in life.
Age emerges as a temporal theme in the narrative, but also in terms of its contemporary society. A key theme the book dissects are liberal anti-racist mindsets that end up being othering themselves. Apart from various such representations, Such A Fun Age also brings up issues of communication and identity in the modern world.
Emira and Alix draw you into the story through sheer force of personality and circumstance. You get to see both their internal and external worlds. And how they clash to subtle or shocking effect. Reid’s caustic humor and very natural description makes the novel that much easier to devour.
But it’s the different views of the same relationships and situations that make the awkward truths that emerge so poignant. Reactions bounce from sympathy to anger to frustration to introspection. Such A Fun Age makes you deeply reflect on society and the self, as well as the disillusionment of both.
Themes of Identity
While racism is a prominent thread, the narrative also discusses things like family, purpose, labels, and integrity. A common question that emerges from all of these is who the two women truly are. They try to make sense and take control of their lives with their reasons and results turning out just as intriguing.
The concept of identity takes many shapes in Such A Fun Age. It broaches feminine and familial ideals, class distinction, social priviledge, and racial fetishism, to name but a few. This book may look simple, but, rest assured, it has plenty to say and a vivid way of doing so.
Kiley Reid has made quite an entrance to the literary world with her striking representation of a quirky modern family. Hopefully, this book review has layed out a clear description of all the interesting features you can expect in Such A Fun Age. It’s a worthwhile work of fiction with the power to change attitudes in its own subtle way.
Currently available in hardback, ebook and audio book form. Paperback will be released 29 December 2020.