I’m so glad that I got to read this book when I did from the library, because this book has blown up in popularity recently, and is very difficult to get now!
Such a Fun Age follows Emira, an African American woman in her early twenties who is asked late one night to take the young girl she babysits, Briar, to the local grocery store to distract her from a family crisis. When she’s at the grocery store, a security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, causing a long series of events.
I was really expecting this book to be about a lot of drama following the incident in the grocery store. I was expecting a large presence of the media, a bigger tie into the Black Lives Matter movement in terms of protesting, and maybe some examples of the white parents trying to fix things and overstepping their boundaries.
I wasn’t expecting this book to be what it was: an African American women to just want to go about her life without drawing attention to herself, or to try and fix everything in the world. There’s a great quote in this book where she tells another character “I don’t need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like… happens.”
This book is a lot about allyship, specifically performative allyship. Emira’s boss Alix continuously mismanages and missteps with her actions, and it was sometimes really tough to read. She has a white savior mentality and continuously tries to get close to Emira in very creepy ways to make herself seem like the good guy. Throughout the book we see her tendency to try and re-write history to try and make herself seem like the victim, and how it’s easier for her to continue to believe something she knows is a lie.
This book felt extremely grounded in reality, and I loved how well the fallout of the situation was portrayed. I loved the dynamic that Emira had with her friends, and how much she loved Briar, the little girl that she was babysitting. Emira was an incredibly bright, smart and brilliantly written character who was looking to better herself, get a stable job, have a decent apartment, and be happy.
I highly recommend the audiobook for this. It made the reading experience incredible and added significantly to my enjoyment of the book. I’m so impressed with Kiley Reid’s debut and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future.