Anticipated Debut: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
The BookWalker's Top Pick titles includes works of bestselling authors and emerging writers. Titles were selected and voted by our staff. Please note: the selection process is heavily biased but fairly influenced by personal preference and the editor's opinions.
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.
About the Book
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.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“Kiley Reid has written the most provocative page-turner of the year....[Such a Fun Age] nestl[es] a nuanced take on racial biases and class divides into a page-turning saga of betrayals, twists, and perfectly awkward relationships....The novel feels bound for book-club glory, due to its sheer readability. The dialogue crackles with naturalistic flair. The plotting is breezy and surprising. Plus, while Reid’s feel for both the funny and the political is undeniable, she imbues her flawed heroes with real heart.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A complex, layered page-turner…This is a book that will read, I suspect, quite differently to various audiences—funny to some, deeply uncomfortable and shamefully recognizable to others—but whatever the experience, I urge you to read Such a Fun Age. Let its empathetic approach to even the ickiest characters stir you, allow yourself to share Emira’s millennial anxieties about adulting, take joy in the innocence of Briar’s still-unmarred personhood, and rejoice that Kiley Reid is only just getting started.” —NPR
“ An exploration of race and racism and misguided perceptions of the issue, executed with wit and a sharp edge…[Such a Fun Age] reveals how trapped black people who work in service jobs for white people feel, how easily privileged whites—who would protest any claims of prejudice—can fetishize blacks, or fail to see them as fully three-dimensional humans. And yes, dear reader, you are implicated in this too. ” —The Boston Globe
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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.