Thoughts on Such a Fun Age
Updated: Jun 21
Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.
'But I don't need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like ... happens' (Such a Fun Age: Kiley Reid).
'Alex was alone, and the one thing that she still had was the freedom to follow the narrative that suited her best.' (Such a Fun Age: Kiley Reid).
**Trigger warnings: race and racism, sometimes subtle sometimes overt, inter-racial relationships and class**
The story follows Emira within her life as she babysits for a wealthy white couple. It starts with Emira being stopped by a store security guard as he accuses her of kidnapping the five year old child she is baby-sitting. As the story unfolds we see Emira trying to make changes within her life as she tries to move from being broke to 'having a proper job' and her employer, Alex, trying to form relationships and progress her career which has shifted since she had children and moved out of the city.
What others have said
"Reid constructs a plot so beautifully intricate and real and fascinating that readers will forget it's also full of tough questions about race, class and identity....With this entertaining novel, Reid subverts our notions of what it means to write about race and class in America, not to mention what it means to write about love. In short, it's a great way to kick off 2020." - Washington Post.
"A searing commentary on race and privilege." - Refinery29
"To call this a novel about race would be to diminish its considerable powers, just as to focus on race alone is to diminish a human being. It skillfully interweaves race-related explorations with astute musings on friendship, motherhood, marriage, love and more, underlining that there's so much more to us than skin. This is the calling card of a virtuoso talent, a thrilling millennial spin on the 19th-century novel of manners that may call to mind another recent literary sensation." - The Guardian
What did I think?
Another book that I loved. I have recommended it to people and was so pleased that I nominated it for a book club read as it meant that I took it off the To Be Read list and got to add it onto my read list. Its caused me to explore other works of fiction which I have also read and I look forward to reading any other novels by Kiley Reid, fingers crossed she is working on something now.
The way on which Kiley Reid is able to explore complex issues, aside from race means this is a thought-provoking read and I agree with The Guardian review that this book considers far more. The author has explored this sensitively with no judgement upon the reader - you either see it or you don't. If you don't see it you have a nice book to read with some interesting twists but if you do see it you are really thinking all the way through. I found the issues of relationships within the book fascinating and there are so many to explore.
The only slight downside I could fine with the book was the lack of exploration concerning Peter and Alex both in terms of their relationship but also Peter's own misdemeanours which were touched upon but not fully covered. To be fair this may have made the story too much, but personally I am always interested and I like everything covered.
This book seems particularly relevant at the moment as the world (hopefully) begins to see how the privilege we have maybe systematically dis-empowering those around us, what action we would take if we saw a similar situation taking place in front of us and how we as members of the public 'benefit' from this oppression. I found it fascinating and further highlighted to be the privileged position that I occupy within society on the basis of my ethnicity, education and financial means. I read it prior to the murder of George Floyd and the societal response to this and was pleased as it had allowed me to further consider my own knowledge of my privilege.
Star rating: 4* (out of 5)
Will I read it again?: Yes, I look forward to exploring the novel again as I feel that I may see different matters when I read it again.