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Such a Fun Age
Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun Age

by Kiley Reid

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Overview

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A REESE'S BOOK CLUB x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK

"The most provocative page-turner of the year." —Entertainment Weekly

"A great way to kick off 2020." —Washington Post

"I urge you to read Such a Fun Age." —NPR

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.


Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, 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 things 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 stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525541905
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/31/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 32
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kiley Reid earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship and taught undergraduate creative writing workshops with a focus on race and class. Her short stories have been featured in Ploughshares, December, New South, and Lumina. Reid lives in Philadelphia.

Read an Excerpt

That night, when Mrs. Chamberlain called, Emira could only piece together the words “. . . take Briar somewhere . . .” and “. . . pay you double.”

In a crowded apartment and across from someone screaming “That’s my song!,” Emira stood next to her girlfriends Zara, Josefa, and Shaunie. It was a Saturday night in September, and there was a little over an hour left of Shaunie’s twenty- sixth birthday. Emira turned the volume up on her phone and asked Mrs. Chamberlain to say it again.

“Is there any way you can take Briar to the grocery store for a bit?” Mrs. Chamberlain said. “I’m so sorry to call. I know it’s late.”

It was almost astonishing that Emira’s daily babysitting job (a place of pricey onesies, colorful stacking toys, baby wipes, and sectioned dinner plates) could interrupt her current nighttime state (loud music, bodycon dresses, lip liner, and red Solo cups). But here was Mrs. Chamberlain, at 10:51 p.m., waiting for Emira to say yes. Under the veil of two strong mixed drinks, the intersection of these spaces almost seemed funny, but what wasn’t funny was Emira’s current bank balance: a total of seventy-nine dollars and sixteen cents. After a night of twenty-dollar entrées, birthday shots, and collective gifts for the birthday girl, Emira Tucker could really use the cash.

“Hang on,” she said. She set her drink down on a low coffee table and stuck her middle finger into her other ear. “You want me to take Briar right now?”

On the other side of the table, Shaunie placed her head on Josefa’s shoulder and slurred, “Does this mean I’m old now? Is twenty-six old?” Josefa pushed her off and said, “Shaunie, don’t start.” Next to Emira, Zara untwisted her bra strap. She made a disgusted face in Emira’s direction and mouthed, Eww, is that your boss?

“Peter accidentally—we had an incident with a broken window and . . . I just need to get Briar out of the house.” Mrs. Chamberlain’s voice was calm and strangely articulate as if she were delivering a baby and saying, Okay, mom, it’s time to push. “I’m so sorry to call you this late,” she said. “I just don’t want her to see the police.”

“Oh wow. Okay, but, Mrs. Chamberlain?” Emira sat down at the edge of a couch. Two girls started dancing on the other side of the armrest. The front door of Shaunie’s apartment opened to Emira’s left, and four guys came in yelling, “Ayyeee!”

“Jesus,” Zara said. “All these niggas tryna stunt.”

“I don’t exactly look like a babysitter right now,” Emira warned. “I’m at a friend’s birthday.” “Oh God. I’m so sorry. You should stay—”

“No no, it’s not like that,” Emira said louder. “I can leave. I’m just letting you know that I’m in heels and I’ve like . . . had a drink or two. Is that okay?”

Baby Catherine, the youngest Chamberlain at five months old, wailed in the receiver. Mrs. Chamberlain said, “Peter, can you please take her?” and then, up close, “Emira, I don’t care what you look like. I’ll pay for your cab here and your cab home.”

Emira slipped her phone into the pouch of her crossbody bag, making sure all of her other belongings were present. When she stood and relayed the news of her early departure to her girlfriends, Josefa said, “You’re leaving to babysit? Are you fucking kidding me?”

“Guys . . . listen. No one needs to babysit me,” Shaunie informed the group. One of her eyes was open and the other was trying very hard to match.

Josefa wasn’t through asking questions. “What kind of mom asks you to babysit this late?”

Emira didn’t feel like getting into specifics. “I need the cash,” she said. She knew it was highly unlikely, but she added, “I’ll come back if I get done, though.”

Zara nudged her and said, “Imma roll witchyou.”

Emira thought, Oh, thank God. Out loud, she said, “Okay, cool.”

Market Depot sold bone broths, truffle butters, smoothies from a station that was currently dark, and several types of nuts in bulk. The store was bright and empty, and the only open checkout lane was the one for ten items or fewer. Next to a dried-fruit section, Zara bent in her heels and held her dress down to retrieve a box of yogurt-covered raisins. “Umm . . . eight dollars?” She quickly placed them back on the shelf and stood up. “Gotdamn. This is a rich people grocery store.”

Well, Emira mouthed with the toddler in her arms, this is a rich-people baby.

“I want dis.” Briar reached out with both hands for the copper-colored hoops that hung in Zara’s ears.

Emira inched closer. “How do you ask?”

“Peas I want dis now Mira peas.”

Zara’s mouth dropped open. “Why is her voice always so raspy and cute?”

“Move your braids,” Emira said. “I don’t want her to yank them.”

Zara tossed her long braids — a dozen of them were a whitish blond — over one shoulder and held her earring out to Briar. “Next weekend Imma get twists from that girl my cousin knows. Hi, Miss Briar, you can touch.” Zara’s phone buzzed. She pulled it out of her bag and started typing, leaning into Briar’s little tugs.

Emira asked, “Are they all still there?”

“Ha!” Zara tipped her head back. “Shaunie just threw up in a plant and Josefa is pissed. How long do you have to stay?”

“I don’t know.” Emira set Briar back on the ground. “But homegirl can look at the nuts for hours so it’s whatever.”

“Mira’s makin’ money, Mira’s makin money . . .” Zara danced her way into the frozen-food aisle. Emira and Briar walked behind her as she put her hands on her knees and bounced in the faint reflection in the freezer doors, pastel ice cream logos mirrored on her thighs. Her phone buzzed again. “Ohmygod, I gave my number to that guy at Shaunie’s?” she said, looking at her screen.
“He is so thirsty for me, it’s stupid.”

“You dancing.” Briar pointed up at Zara. She put two fingers into her mouth and said, “You . . . you dancing and no music.”

“You want music?” Zara’s thumb began to scroll. “I’ll play something but you gotta dance too.”

“No explicit content, please,” Emira said. “I’ll get fired if she repeats it.”

Zara waved three fingers in Emira’s direction. “I got this I got this.”

Seconds later, Zara’s phone exploded with sound. She flinched, said, “Whoops,” and turned the volume down. Synth filled the aisle, and as Whitney Houston began to sing, Zara began to twist her hips. Briar started to hop, holding her soft white elbows in her hands, and Emira leaned back on a freezer door, boxes of frozen breakfast sausages and waffles shining in waxy cardboard behind her.

Emira joined them as Zara sang the chorus, that she wanted to feel the heat with somebody. She spun Briar around and crisscrossed her chest as another body began to come down the aisle. Emira felt relieved to see a middle-aged woman with short gray hair in sporty leggings and a T-shirt reading St. Paul’s Pumpkinfest 5K. She looked like she had definitely danced with a child or two at some point in her life, so Emira kept going. The woman put a pint of ice cream into her basket and grinned at the dancing trio. Briar screamed, “You dance like Mama!”

As the last key change of the song started to play, a cart came into the aisle pushed by someone much taller. His shirt read Penn State and his eyes were sleepy and cute, but Emira was too far into the choreography to stop without seeming completely affected. She did the Dougie as she caught bananas in his moving cart. She dusted off her shoulders as he reached for a frozen vegetable medley. When Zara told Briar to take a bow, the man silently clapped four times in their direction before he left the aisle. Emira centered her skirt back onto her hips.

“Dang, you got me sweatin’.” Zara leaned down. “Gimme high five. Yes, girl. That’s it for me.”
Emira said, “You out?”

Zara was back on her phone, typing manically. “Someone just might get it tonight.”

Emira placed her long black hair over one shoulder. “Girl, you do you but that boy is real white.”

Zara shoved her. “It’s 2015, Emira! Yes we can!”

“Uh-huh.”

“Thanks for the cab ride, though. Bye, sister.”

Zara tickled the top of Briar’s head before turning to leave. As her heels ticked toward the front of the store, Market Depot suddenly seemed very white and very still.

“Excuse me, ma’am.” Footsteps followed and when Emira turned around, a gold security badge blinked and glittered in her face. On top it read Public Safety and the bottom curve read Philadelphia.

Briar pointed up at his face. “That,” she said, “is not the mailman.”

Emira swallowed and heard herself say, “Oh, hi.” The man stood in front of her and placed his thumbs in his belt loops, but he did not say hello back.

Emira touched her hair and said, “Are you guys closing or something?” She knew this store would stay open for another forty-five minutes—it stayed open, clean, and stocked until midnight on weekends—but she wanted him to hear the way she could talk. From behind the security guard’s dark sideburns, at the other end of the aisle, Emira saw another face. The gray-haired, athletic-looking woman, who had appeared to be touched by Briar’s dancing, folded her arms over her chest. She’d set her grocery basket down by her feet.

“Ma’am,” the guard said. Emira looked up at his large mouth and small eyes. He looked like the type of person to have a big family, the kind that spends holidays together for the entire day from start to finish, and not the type of person to use ma’am in passing. “It’s very late for someone this small,” he said. “Is this your child?”

“No.” Emira laughed. “I’m her babysitter.”

“Alright, well . . .” he said, “with all due respect, you don’t look like you’ve been babysitting tonight.”

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Such a Fun Age 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
cloggiedownunder 22 days ago
Such A Fun Age is the first novel by American author (and former babysitter), Kiley Reid. Before the late-night incident with her three-year-old daughter at the Market Depot, Alix Chamberlain barely noticed her black babysitter, let alone considered her thoughts or feelings. Emira Tucker was great with Briar, who was exhausting when awake, and Alix, a well-known feminist blogger, was meant to use her break from Briar to write her book. Mostly, she just enjoyed the company of her easy baby daughter, Catherine, and relaxed. But now, thanks to a panicky call for help from Alix, Emira had been virtually accused of kidnapping Briar by a supermarket security guard. A bystander had caught the whole thing on his phone. Emira was disturbed about the incident, but not for the reasons everyone assumed. And she definitely didn’t want it made public, nor to pursue any legal action. And suddenly Alix was paying Emira attention: not quite stalking, but surreptitiously invading her privacy. Now, Alix wanted the sort of connection with Emira that her New York girlfriends had with their sitters, and a cancelled flight at Thanksgiving gave her the perfect opportunity to show Emira just how worthy Alix was of a friendship. Dinner with her New York girlfriends and their children. Alix hadn’t reckoned on the boyfriend, though. Who could predict the direction it took from there? What a marvellous tale Reid gives the reader. No suspension of disbelief is required for what happens, and the characters are entirely credible. Emira is smart and a little sassy, like her friends, but hasn’t settled on what she wants to do with her life and feels the career pressure to decide. She really needs a proper job that will provide health insurance, but she does love looking after Briar. While the narrative is from two perspectives (Alix and Emira), the toddler plays a significant part: “On her own and at her best, Briar was odd and charming, filled with intelligence and humor.” Briar is relentlessly inquisitive and her questions and pronouncements are truly a delight. Emira’s friends are a good example of genuinely loyal friends whose support and advice demonstrates their love. Alix’s friends provide support too, but their main concerns come from a different, perhaps less generous, place. The chasm that exists between the white privileged and the coloured less-privileged is deftly illustrated by the priorities that Alix and Emira exhibit, and the way their close friends provide support. As well as exploring the topics of racism and feminism, Reid’s novel features misogyny and black fetishism, peer pressure and the dynamics of power. There is plenty of humour, some of it quite dark, and the final pages deliver a perfectly wonderful dose of irony. Topical, insightful, thought-provoking and funny, this is an utterly brilliant debut novel from a talented author. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Bloomsbury Australia. Also by NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam.
KasturiPatra 5 hours ago
Thank you Netgalley, Kiley Reid, and the publishers for an advanced copy of this book. The opinions are entirely my own. This is an important book. For a person residing outside the U.S. and not well acquainted with the complications of race relations, this definitely came as an eye-opener. However, the reasons why I actually adored the book were far more simple, tbh. Firstly, the relationship between Emira and Briar was so precious that I who is not overly fond of children, also found myself engulfed in its warmth and gooeyness. More than a adult-child relationship, it highlighted the friendship that can form between two individuals of very different ages and that was what melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Secondly, I loved how Reid has beautifully expressed the message that every human being need not have the same goals or the same set of urgencies to achieve something in life. It reminded me of Sayaka Murata's Convenience Store Woman. Though both of these are very different otherwise, the message that people can be happy with things that might not make sense to others were inherent in both and since, I kind of identify with this feeling to some extent, I love when authors normalize this instead of making every protagonist find their true goal. Thirdly, the book gives some serious friendship goals. Both the POV characters, Alix and Emira, have such a strong bunch of women to guide, support, cherish and if needed, chide them. One of my favorite reviewers on Goodreads had written that this book is like The Help but without the white savior part. I agree to a great extent. I'd also like to add to this the fact that this has some extremely realistic, complex, and well-etched characters, both black and white, which makes it that more relatable and important. The only issue I had with Such a Fun Age was that at even though I was excited and devouring the book at the beginning, at around 35-40% it became a bit slow, but then the writer was simply laying the groundwork for the drama to unfold and I couldn't put the book down thereafter. This is an excellent read and I would surely recommend it to anyone who is interested in the contemporary American culture and in themes of race, women empowerment, friendship, complex relationships, and most of all, a heartbreakingly tender bond of friendship between a twenty-something and a toddler.
the_judylwd 10 hours ago
I have so many thoughts about Such a Fun Age that it's hard to know where to begin. First off, I loved the book. It's an amazing debut novel and very relevant to current situations regarding race. The story begins with Emira doing a favor for her employers. She takes the little girl, Briar, that she baby sits for to a 24 hour supermarket to get her out of the house. She is confronted by a white security guard who accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar. I loved Emira; she is a 25 year old college graduate who is having a hard time really deciding what she wants to do when she grows up. I also loved Briar. She is so precocious and said a lot of funny and brilliant things. Emira accepted her for who she was, something Briar's mother, Alix, couldn't seem to do. For the most part, I really did like Emira's friends. They did have her back, but they could have been a little more accepting of her choices while she was trying to find herself. I did not like Alix at all. She was very stalkerish and whenever anything happened, she seemed to only think about how it affected her. This was an amazing read and I highly recommend. I can't wait to read this author's next book! Thank you to Netgalley and Putnam for the ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous 1 days ago
I couldn't read this book fast enough, and I am a little tired writing this review because I stayed up to finish it. The racist moment that drives this novel is exactly the right length to be brief but completely unsettling. The way the main characters, black babysitter Emira and white employer Alix, are used to address class and race kept me reading late into the night. Emira, the smart, excellent babysitter who is watching her friends settle into careers without having a direction for herself was so relatable. I know too many people have had too much to say about millennials and their struggles to find jobs and their purpose but she felt so human to me and not preachy at all. And I could say so many things about Alix because I feel like I know a few Alix's. There is a lot of privilege in Alix's interactions with Emira that are funny and awkward and just so well written. Once the book really began to weave in the story of Kelley, the guy who videotapes that racist moment, I knew I would have to read until I finished (I have known a few Kelley's too). This is a really great debut novel and I hope the author keeps writing on race and the privilege it brings for some in such a nuanced way.
LoveLiBooks 3 days ago
Thank you GP Putnam's Sons and NetGalley for a copy of this ARC in exchange for my honest review. There's a lot of buzz for this book and I get it, the plot sounds like something we see on the news very often. It gets you thinking about a lot of social issues - race, class, wealth, and friendship. So this is probably an unpopular opinion but I didn't love it. While it's really well written, it did not keep me engaged and I found myself putting it down several times. Maybe it's because I didn't like any of the characters. They all sounded pretty selfish to me and I was hoping there would be some strong female friendships in all of this but nope. In fact, when Alix's friends told her she needs to lose her baby weight, that really pissed me off. Ultimately, the book made me sad for Briar - the innocent child in all of this.
Suezque 3 days ago
The book was ok. It totally wasn't about what I thought it was going to be about. The description led me to believe the mom was going to defend her babysitter after a racist security guard accused her of kidnapping. While that sort of happened, it was not the story of the book. I'm not saying it was a bad book. It was ok. It could have been so much better in my opinion. Alix is just too obsessed with Emira throughout the story. Maybe that was the point. But then, the whole thing just sort of ended. Like the author realized she only had 5 pages left and a lot more she needed to tell so she just quickly concluded it. I was disappointed.
LeslieLindsay 6 days ago
A striking, surprising debut from from an exhilarating new voice, SUCH A FUN AGE is a compulsive page-turner. AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A REESE’S BOOK CLUB x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK “The most provocative page-turner of the year.” –Entertainment Weekly “A great way to kick off 2020.” –Washington Post “I urge you to read Such a Fun Age.” –NPR A 2020 NAACP Image Award Finalist A Marie Claire #ReadWithMC Book Club Pick A Well-Read Black Girl Book Club Pick A WNYC Get Lit With All of It Book Club Pick You guys! I cannot stop thinking about--or talking about--this book! It's a bit like Jennifer Weiner meets the pacing of a psychological thriller meets Kim Brooks' SMALL ANIMALS, with a dash of Kathryn Stockett's THE HELP, and a glimpse of Emily Giffin, but there's so much more, too. SUCH A FUN AGE (Putnam, December 30 2019) is compulsively readable; it's like a bad car accident you just can't take your eyes from. And I am so grateful to G.P. Putnam's Sons for this review copy. Emira Tucker is a 25-year-old attractive black babysitter trying to make ends meet between her part-time jobs. She out at a friend's 26th birthday party when the mother of her young charge calls--it's nearly eleven p.m.--requesting her babysitting services--NOW. She doesn't look like a babysitter at the moment. She's had a few drinks. She doesn't really want to leave the party to babysit, but she's broke. Mrs. Chamberlain hands off the toddler and Emira and Briar head to the local, uppity supermarket. Little Briar loves looking at the bulk foods. It's bright and shiny, safe, so why not? But soon she's confronted by the store's security guard. A young black woman out late with a white child...this doesn't look good. He accuses Emira of kidnapping the two-year old. A small crowd gathers. A bystander films everything. Emira is furious and embarrassed. All ends...or does it? The writing is breezy and yet sharp with wry humorous outbursts. I was expecting it to be a little more literary, a little more descriptive and lyrical, but rest assured, SUCH A FUN AGE hits all the high notes, touches on every emotion, and will have readers thinking more deeply about issues of race and wealth, privilege, justice, and more. With empathy and piercing social commentary, SUCH A FUN AGE explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times. This is an absolute must-read. L.Lindsay|Always with a Book
Anonymous 7 days ago
This was an interesting read. The best way I can frame it is by saying this would be a good book to assign as high school reading or for a college Writing 101 course. It broaches some serious subjects, particularly concerning racism, the objectification and public critiquing of women, and issues surrounding motherhood and the care of children. It doesn't provide any easy answers and creates more questions instead. It's not a challenging read and simplifies some complex issues, but could provide a springboard for some conversations. https://www.instagram.com/p/B7Uo3fcAxez/
Sarahb 7 days ago
This is an easy to read story with memorable characters who surprise the reader with their motivations and actions. I was worried that this book would disappoint due to the hype around it but it was definitely worth the read. there were many layers to this novel and I found it was a very well written and relevant novel. Thank you netgalley for this arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
Irishtwinsmomma 8 days ago
This was a thought provoking, entertaining, and compelling read. It gave me anxiety the whole time I was reading it. This story will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
Mary Eagle 8 days ago
GoABraves 9 days ago
3.5 stars: Emira is 25 years old, African American, college grad working as a babysitter, a job she enjoys and adores Brair the tot she cares for and new born Catherine. Alix Chamberlain is the working mom who depends on Emria to care for Brair while she works. Emira is accused of kidnapping Brair one night while she is called to help Alix and her husband Peter. Peter arrives and confirms that Emira is indeed the babysitter. This starts the beginning of Emira questioning her job choices, she she want "more" - her friends say yes. A new relationship with someone who know only witness the kidnapping incident but he also filmed the incident. Thanks to TheGirlfriend from AARP for the ARC.
Anonymous 10 days ago
I could not put this book down. This is one of those stories that make you cringe, grind your teeth, scream at the characters and KEEP. TURNING. THE PAGES. The story follows Emira, a recent grad struggling to figure out what she wants to do with her life, and Alix, a mom and business owner trying to figure out where to go from here. Emira takes a job as a babysitter for Alix’s toddler, Briar to supplement her already part-time role working for the Green Party. The conflict begins when Emira is stopped in a grocery store by a security guard who assumes Emira has taken the child. Oh, if this was the last source of conflict that Emira, Alix and Briar endure. It is not. The story revolves around the reality and real-life implications of racism and how ingrained it is the ways we navigate situations in life. The things we think, do and say without thinking, how unconscious some behaviors and beliefs are and how we have a propensity as a society to assume the worst about others and the best about our own intentions. I could not put this book down and it cost me a few hours of sleep, but it was well worth it. Emira is our heroine and I enjoyed getting to know her (as much as she lets us) and rooting for her to prevail. If you can get your hands on this book, you are definitely going to want to do so. It will be a high profile book and although most celebrity book clubs get a selection wrong every once in awhile, this one is a winner! It’s the debut novel for Kiley Reid and I’m thrilled to see where she goes next.
Savitri V 10 days ago
I would like to thank the author, G.P Putnam's & Sons & NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for a honest review. -- W.O.W what a read! At the heart of the story is a 25-year-old African American girl, Emira. She is sweet, sassy and very relatable but she's also lost in what she wants to do in life. She feels dejected while her friends around her are moving up in their careers. She starts babysitting in a white household and quickly forms a very sweet, caring relationship with 2-year-old Briar. One late night, Briar's mother, Alix (also called Alex), requests Emira to take Briar to a nearby grocery store due to a situation at home. A racist security guard at the store confronts Emira for having a white kid at night. While this hostile exchange happens, Kelley, a white bystander, videotapes the entire thing. Emira requests Kelley not to share the video, to which he agrees, and both Emira and Kelley form an intimate relationship. However Emira and Kelley are unaware at this point, that her boss Alix and Kelley have a very complicated history. The rest of the book dwells in everyone around Emira, but particularly Alix and Kelley, suffocating Emira in making decisions for her while she's trying to navigate between her choices and impeding poverty. On the surface, the book appears to be a quirky contemporary novel. However the novel goes much deeper. The entire story explores underlying themes of imbalance in privilege and power between whites and blacks. There is also one upper class character referred to as "Uncle Tom" at one point, who attempts to dictate Emira on what to do in life with good intentions, but ends up being tone-deaf. The débutante author superbly executed this novel presenting racial themes that are sadly very much prevalent in our current society, with wit and poise. I highly recommend this book and very much look forward to Ms. Reid's future works.
sspea 12 days ago
25 year old Emira is stopped in a grocery store and accused of kidnapping the child she is babysitting. This book focuses on relationships, race and privilege, an ambitious subject for a debut novel.  And while the first two chapters are great, this is unfortunately the best part of the book. My biggest issue with this book was that none of the characters were likable. I am all for a good unlikable character, but all the characters in this book seemed to sit on the fence between good and bad. The protagonist Emira, is boring, and the star of the book is the child she looks after who only pops in with random one-liners.  This book started out strong, and I had high hopes, while elements of a 5 star book were scattered throughout, in the end it was anti climactic.
TiBookChatter 12 days ago
A slow build but once I got into it it was like a time bomb ready to go off. For once, I read a buzzy book when everyone else was reading it too. Such a Fun Age is making the rounds and getting a lot of praise. It was selected for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club and although I’ve not read all of her selections, the ones I have read have been really good. This was no exception. Emira is at a club celebrating with her friends when her boss calls her to ask if she can possibly watch her daughter due to an emergency. One, it’s late. Two, she’s dressed for the club. Three, she’s been drinking. Although she explains this to her boss, the desperation on the other line wins out. Minutes later, Emira finds herself with three-year-old Briar in an upscale supermarket checking out the nuts, dancing in the aisle, doing whatever it takes to keep the kid occupied while her mother, Alix, tends to her emergency. Just minutes into their visit, they begin to draw the attention of other shoppers. Emira, a young black woman, and Briar, a young white child, wandering the aisles so late at night seems out of place. So much so, that a security guard begins to question her. Emira explains that she is Briar’s babysitter, which is the truth but she knows how it looks. Things escalate. That is where the story begins. This is one of those slow-build books. Conflict is everywhere but you know something big is coming and as the story plays out, the one word that comes to mind is EXPLOSIVE. This is a book about race but also fetishsizing race, which I thought was interesting. Two things stood out for me. One, the story is a little gritty. Not overworked or polished which I liked very much. The author did a good job of portraying each character’s POV. None of these characters are perfect and you won’t find yourself siding with any of them. They all play a role in how the rabbit falls down the hole. Two, the portrayal of Briar, the young child seemed a little off. She’s critical to the story but her observations were often not believable to me and they took me out of the narrative at times. However, there is a lot to think about here and you will find yourself eagerly flipping those pages towards the end because it’s like a train wreck and you can’t possibly look away. I wouldn’t say it was a perfect story but I don’t think it was meant to be.
Vicki Saia 13 days ago
I did not like this book and was unable to finish it.
Adanna_H 13 days ago
Such A Fun Age was an interesting read. There's a lot packed into this book -- coming of age, friendships, family relationships as well as race and privilege. I was expecting an insightful look at these topics in the same vein as The Hate U Give. However, for me, this book was a disappointment. The characters were underdeveloped and stereotypical; the dialogue was horrible -- often stilted even though it was intended to be conversational and in some case just plain unrealistic. Everyone's motivations are questionable. So, instead of rooting for any of these characters, I found myself turned off by all of them. It was a great premise that was poorly executed. Maybe my expectations were too high for this debut book.
Anonymous 13 days ago
The Rundown... RR Rating: 5 give-this-debut-author-a-shot stars RR Synopsis: A thirty-something white bougie blogger becomes irrationally infatuated with her toddler’s black babysitter. RR POV: For some reason, I thought SUCH A FUN AGE would be a twisty dark novel, but it’s really freshly-voiced, page-turning literary fiction. Recommended Readers: Book clubs, latest & greatest modern fiction fans, and people who thought THE HELP was problematic. Do animals die?: Yeah, but (spoiler alert) it’s a goldfish from natural causes. Also of Note: A pivotal scene takes place at Thanksgiving, so maybe earmark this for a November read.
Renwarsreads 14 days ago
I felt like this book touched on a lot of different subjects that are hot topics right now. It touched on racism, women's empowerment, stay at home mom vs Nanny and many more. The characters were interesting and from different backgrounds that made them act the way they did in this story. It is amazing that things that happened to Alix as she was growing up affected her so much as an adult, who pretty much had everything anyone could ask for. I understood Emira's feelings doubt being stuck where she was and unable to make a decision on her future career. I really liked how it all came together at the end.
lsmoore_43 14 days ago
I’m so sorry but I just didn’t enjoy this book at all. I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters and it just didn’t make me feel it. I didn’t think it was the kind of book for me maybe. I sure didn’t like the interactions and the way the author made the characters sound so juvenile. Or possible childish is a better word. It just did not do a thing for me. I’m very sorry but this one is a huge no for me. Thank you to, #SuchAfunAge #NetGalley
seasaltdaydreams 15 days ago
Such a Fun Age follows twenty-five-year-old Emira, a young black babysitter for the affluent Chamberlain family. Emira loves babysitting inquisitive and precocious three-year-old Briar Chamberlain while she figures out what to do with her life. While babysitting one night, she is confronted by a security guard in a local supermarket. Alix Chamberlain, Briar’s mother, gets wind of the situation and becomes obsessed with making Emira feel like part of the family. When a video of that night comes to light, it unearths someone from Alix’s past and makes Emira question if Alix has her best interests at heart. I loved Such a Fun Age. I found it to be an incredibly quick read. There is very little exposition, it jumps right into the story, introducing Emira as she leaves a night out to head to babysit. It’s funny, heartwarming, and at times challenging. It focuses on themes of race, affluence, and privilege in a way that seamlessly flows into a beautiful story. The quiet hero of the story is young Briar. She’s wise beyond her years, but her individuality is seemingly only truly valued by Emira. It was heartbreaking watching as she realizes her mother does not appreciate her unique personality and individuality. Thank you to @netgalley and @putnambooks for the review copy!
Anonymous 15 days ago
Have you ever read one of those books that can either be a fun read or one that tackles a lot of issues? This is both! My review will be short because I think it would be easy to give away spoilers. I have read so many reviews that say to read this slow, so that's what I did. I like Emira's character. Even more I loved Emira and Briar together. It made me wish they were mother and daughter because they just clicked. They had the most beautiful relationship. Alix Chamberlain on the other hand. She's a driven lady who seems to always get what she wants, but that has not always been the case. This is where it gets touchy. The scene in the grocery store was hard to read, because it's not too far off from reality. I liked how Emira stood her ground. The way the author broached this touchy subject was spot on. I think this book is an important read because it deals with real world issues. Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for the ARC of this book.
MichelleKenneth 15 days ago
I am only giving this 3 stars because I liked the book. It was a good story, especially at the beginning, but I did not really like a couple of the characters. I think I was a bit annoyed with them. I did not like how the two white characters turned out. I was like...REALLY? You two are idiots and don't even know it. And here's Emira who just doesn't care, but at the same time, she should. These two people are only obsessed with her because she is black, and it's weird. Like in a "Get Out" kind of way. It's up to Emira to figure it out on her own. I think Emira is like a lot of young adults out there just trying to figure out their way. She's 26 years old, looking for her passion and a real job. She is a great babysitter and is fabulous with kids, but she doesn't aspire to be a nanny. She needs a real 40 hour/week job with benefits, and that's the main issue. That is why she stays working for Alix Chamberlain. In the beginning, I liked Alix's back story of how she became the famous Alix Chamberlain. She is what every Influencer dreams of becoming. I loved that about Alix. But when Emira comes into her life, she becomes this weird, overly obsessed person. Her obsession is Emira. She loses track of who she is and the fact she should be writing her book. She isn't Alix Chamberlain anymore. She's Alex Chamberlain...the girl everyone hated in high school: the little rich girl that was overly obsessed with her black housekeeper and her boyfriend. She is also the girl that ruined a black boy's entire life by getting him arrested after he trespassed on her property. Alex's ex-boyfriend is now Emira's boyfriend and he comes with his own set of obsession with black people. Put the two together and Emira has a big problem...and all she wants out of this is a job, a relationship maybe. But these two weirdos really try to bring drama into her life. Emira is the most level-headed of any of them, and I have mad respect for that. Emira is definitely the character I love the most in this story. This girl has it together more than she knows. Sure, she hasn't figured out what she wants to do in life...it happens to the best of us. I've been in her shoes. Hell, I think sometimes I am still in her shoes. You watch your friends around you getting their lives together and you're getting paid crap for pay, barely able to pay rent or have food to eat, but you're doing the best you can. Then there are stupid people that try to bring unnecessary drama into your life. But Emira, she stays the course. She had a good group of friends around her to help push her in the right direction in taking the first big step into getting her life together. Then after that, everything starts to fall into place. In a way, that's how life is. I felt bad for Emira that these people who tried to bring their issues with race into her life became obsessed with her. In a way, I think it was heartbreaking for her to see that human beings she liked or cared about were like this. "Such a Fun Age" is a good book. I liked it. I do recommend that people read it. I did not like some of the elements of the story, because I was doing a WTF? But in a way, this is about growing up in your mid-20s. You know...the fun age that we always reflect upon in our older years. Oh, to be 20-something again. Emira, though, you read this for her. Not for Alix or Kel. You read this to learn from Emira how to win.
melindakay82 17 days ago
I was thoroughly impressed with this author's debut novel! I was also psyched to be halfway through it when Reese Witherspoon announced it was her newest book club pick. Lord knows it would have been difficult to get after that! The different perspectives, flaws of each character, and dialogue really rang true. Beautifully written and edited - there really isn't anything I wished was different! I look forward to Reid's next book.