Such a Fun Age

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

An incredible book. Any producer with sense would option it for Netflix or HBO. I look forward to hearing more from this author.
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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid a fair four-star read. I had major hopes for this story, and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t think it was worth all of the hype, most of it sure but not all of it. This is a very modern tale and told even a few years ago it would have missed its mark, but it has come at just the right time. My one negative is Emira, she just seemed like she didn’t have anything defining her and I know that’s how she is supposed to be written, a mid twenties girl not sure where she is going, she was just too believable at times, on the flip side I wanted to throttle Alix at times for her sheer mindedness. Maybe I wasn’t in the best place reading this I don’t know. One thing I am sure of is that this story will be picked up by lots of people.
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At a first glance Such a Fun Age might appear like a light read, but once you read the synopsis, you will realise that's not the case. 

Such a Fun Age is a story about Alix, a privileged, white, mother of two and Emira, 25 year old black nanny with a bachelor degree. Alix is desperate to befriend Emira and invites her and her new boyfriend Kelley to a Thanksgiving family dinner. When Emira shows up at the door with Alix's high school ex who broke her heart, everything starts to go pear-shaped and Emira starts seeing both Alix and Kelley in a new light.
Such a Fun Age is about pretence, relationships but first of all it is about race. Both Alix and Kelley have racial issues they can't see themselves. This book is very easy to read due to the straightforward writing and realistic dialogue but it was not straightforward for me to figure out who's side I should be on. I think this is an exceptional debut novel and I'm keen to read more books from this author.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Such a Fun Age is a thought provoking book about race, class, privilege and social media. The two main characters are at the opposite ends of the class/privilege spectrum. We have Alix Chamberlain, a wealthy white woman from New York who somewhat resents motherhood for taking her away from a successful career, and Emira Tucker the hired babysitter. There are many layers to this novel which revolves around an incident where Emira is suspected of kidnapping her 2 year old charge, Briar. She has been called from a party to help out Alix in a family emergency by taking Briar to the nearby supermarket in the upmarket area . Due to the time of night, Emira’s outfit and the difference in skin colour the security people are alerted. 
Kiley Reid skilfully portrays the uneasy relationship between the two women and, even more skilfully, the relationship between Emira and Briar.
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I was completely hooked by this novel and couldn't put it down. It's smart and shrewd with razor-sharp observations about the every day complexities of race and social class, while also being utterly compelling.
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I absolutely loved this book and will be recommending it to everyone. Very early on, Emira is called late at night by the family she works for part-time as a babysitter, and is asked to take their 3 year old out of the house because the police are dealing with an incident. She takes her to a store, but is stopped by security and accused of kidnapping the toddler, as a black woman looking after a white child. This is the driving point of the novel, which follows the change in mother-babysitter dynamic and explores issues of class and racism, and white privilege in modern america. Whilst these are all complex issues, It deals with them in an extremely accessible way. 

The characterisation is spot on, and the relationships feel authentic, despite being difficult. Emira is directionless in her mid-twenties, feeling like her friends are all succeeding and growing around her (very relatable), whilst she has the added pressure of finding a job with health insurance by the time she turns 26 (when she can no longer be covered by her parents). Carrying such a weight on her shoulders, she's desperate to forget the 'incident' in the shop, as it's just something else to deal with,, but the toddler's mother, Alix can't let it go. 

Alix's desperation to connect with Emira is brilliantly cringey, and despite her often making the wrong decisions, I still sympathised with her. She's also at a strange time in her life - she has two young children, is living in a new area with no friends, is trying to stay at the top of her career AND be a good mother. The latter is something Emira takes issue with - she feels like Alix overlooks Briar, her funny, clever three year old, who Emira thinks is the best thing ever. Emira and Briar's relationship is such a delight, and stole the show for me. Kiley gets it just right. 

Overall this ticked all the boxes for me - brilliant writing, a compelling storyline and characters you can't forget about. I honestly could not put this book down and would say it's one of my favourites so far this year.
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Interesting and insightful, this is definitely not what I expected from the blurb of the book. It provokes thought from the reader and debates, and definitely made me consider roles, race and stereotypes. 

I very much enjoyed it.
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Wow!! I really didn't have any expectations about this book and I was totally blown away. What a great read! I loved everything about it; it's a brilliant story that kept me on the edge of my seat, plus it really opens up so many debates about race, status, wealth, class and education, all of which are covered in such an intelligent way. I fell in love with Emira and Briar, while the character of Alix was so complicated that it kept me guessing right until the last page. I loved how well all the stories intersected together, it was so brilliantly written. One of my favourite books of the year.
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A great book. 
Excellent dialogue and amazing characters. So much skill in the writing of this book. 
Very different from other books. 
A must read
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I very much enjoyed this book.

Emira works as a sitter for Alix, taking care of her toddler daughter Briar. One night Emira is accused of stealing Briar and the story continues from there.

A real strength of this book is the depth of the characters. Each one was carefully written and each felt real and genuine. I loved the relationship Emira had with Briar- relationships between all the characters were well managed and described. 

I found this novel thought provoking and it made me think about how I would have reacted in different scenarios. 

A great book by this talented author! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.
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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is an enjoyable debut novel about race, privilege, childcare and the world of work.
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An interesting and thought provoking read.  The characters and story come across very believable.  Very relevant with issues of today and makes you think about how you would react, both as a parent yourself and also at the person being accused.  A good read and certainly keeps you hooked.
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Such a Fun Age is a brilliant examination of white privilege, race and class in modern America. Emira is a black nanny, doing a number of part-time jobs to make ends meet. She ends up being a pawn in between her employer Alix, and her boyfriend Kelley. Both are competing to be more woke than the other, and neither are at all.
Emira gets a late evening call to take two year old Briar to the grocery store. Whilst there, she is, predicably, accused of kidnapping the child. The incident is filmed, and becomes a cause for both Alix and Kelley, who have a long standing grudge with each other.
Alix is a blogger, and tries to leverage Emira's misfortune into an opportunity for herself. Alix also thinks she is helping Emira, but is ridiculously deluded. Kelley thinks he is such a good guy for dating a black woman, and is hard to see who is worse.
Emira is caught between the two, and must decide what is the least worst course of action.  A terrific read.
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Such a Fun Ages chronicles the happenings for Emira, a young babysitter, and the family she looks after directly following an altercation at a supermarket, where Emira is accused of kidnapping the young girl she is looking after. 

I loved this book from start to finish! What a gem! What an interesting concept for a book, first off.Being Australian I was very interested to read about dynamics in America. I loved the characters - Emira was such a delight, and young Briar was hilarious. I loved her spirit. I enjoyed reading about Emira's friends and their dynamics, and I thought Alix was a well drawn character who has a lot of conflicting aspects of her personality.

Loved it and will recommend.
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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!
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What a brilliant read!  So well written and with characters that appear fully formed from the outset, ‘Such a Fun Age’ is the perfect family-centred novel for our times.  Focusing on the fraught-with-difficulties relationship between the parent and child carer, Kiley Reid also explores race, self-conscious liberalism and economic hardship as she tells the story of Emira, her employee Alix and their daughter Briar.
Alix is an anxious person.  Successful in her own right, she is still desperate for approval.  Like many in this social media conscious age, she is forever wondering what her lifestyle choices look like to all around her.  Is she liberal enough for her friends?  Do they approve of her parenting choices?  Can she even remember who she really is deep down?  Kiley Reid contrasts her with babysitter Emira who wishes that race didn’t have to be such an overriding issue in her relationship with Alix.  She neither needs not asks for Alix’s friendship, finding the latter’s courting of her perplexing and, at times, irritating.  Whilst Emira is a great babysitter who genuinely cares for Briar, sadly that doesn’t appear to be Alix’s main concern.
This novel challenges us to think seriously about our own attitudes to race and class.  It is an important read whilst also being extremely funny in part.  Kiley Reid shows us clearly just how tediously self-referential white middle class liberalism can be.  I loved Emira’s response both to her employer’s overtures and to the liberties that Alix takes.  And what brave decisions she takes in the novel’s final pages.  You go, girl!
My thanks to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair review.
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I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book as the cover/title didn't seem to match the synopsis. Emira is a young black woman who has taken a babysitting job with a white family. She's asked to take the child to the store one night when there is an emergency at home and a security guard accuses her of kidnapping her. There's a really interesting social commentary here about wealth, status and race. Alix, her boss, becomes borderline obsessed with her and this is where the book gets  a bit unpredictable! I found this a really gripping and interesting read and would thoroughly recommend it.
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This book has been seriously hyped, and going in I was unsure of what to expect beyond an examination of the relationship between a young black woman and her affluent white employer. Fortunately Such a Fun Age is so much more than that.

Kiley Reid's novel kicks off with Emira, a 25-year-old black woman who works part-time as a babysitter for Alix Chamberlain's daughter Briar embarking on a late night visit to a supermarket Emira is involved in an altercation with a security guard who believes she has kidnapped Briar. While Emira is a little shaken by the incident and looking to shrug it off Alix is outraged and wants to put things right. The incident is captured on video by a young (white) man who soon becomes a key part of the narrative too.

Emira is like many young women these days - muddling through her mid-20s without a whole lot of direction, feeling like her friends are all more successful and in a better place in life than she is. She is soon to turn 26 and therefore will no longer be covered by her parents health insurance, so is desperately looking for a job with this benefit (side note: I had no idea how much of a serious issue this was in America..). This search proves unsuccessful, and due to the nature of Alix's job (as an inspirational speaker) she needs Emira to work more hours, but she also wants to be Emira's friend and help her better herself. This is where things become problematic but thought-provoking: Alix is a typical "white saviour". You know the kind - she has black friends so how can she be racist, right?! This differs from other books of this ilk, however, as we have a highly developed African American protagonist who we view Alix's actions through, and the consequences of these actions and how this causes Emira to reassess her job.

This topic, along with the issues brought up around it (such as the transactional relationship of a nanny) for a stimulating topic to base a novel around. I would just add that despite the complex themes this is SO readable and I found it hard to put down. Recommended!
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Wonderfully written with excellent characterisation. This pace of this book is perfect as it kicks off right at the beginning and continues all throughout. I was even thinking about the characters while I was at work! Great work!
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