It’s been ages since I read a 350+ page novel that I didn’t want to put down!
‘Such A Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid transported me back to my high-school days, because that used to be the phase when I would give up a good night’s sleep to read fiction.
In the very first chapter, the author dives into action. Emira, a young black woman, who is at a store with a toddler she is babysitting, is accused of kidnapping. Something that would have never happened if she was white. The book follows what happens after the incident.
Reid’s book deals with race, prejudice and class divides in a manner I have never read before. It’s not too serious, but doesn’t make a mockery of the issues either. Despite being fiction, it reads like a flawless biography written in third person. Nothing feels exaggerated. All of it could have very well happened for real.
Never have I grown to like a character in a book who is just a toddler. For me, three-year-old Briar, the lovely little kid the protagonist babysits, is the hero of the story. Every time Briar was mentioned, it felt like she was child-version of a very good college friend.
“The book I am reading has a three year old. And she sound like what you would have been as a kid. Each time the kiddie appears in the book I am reminded of you,” I texted at 3 am in a WhatsApp group.
The other crucial character, Alix Chamberlain, a privileged white mom who has made a career out of writing letters & product reviews, sounds like all those ‘social media influencers’ out there, who are making big bucks from the comforts of their home, while us lesser beings slog our asses of in normal boring jobs. There are a bunch of other minor characters that serve as contrast to others and help carry the story forward.
Emira has a cute ‘girl squad’ and their outings are relatable. Especially the bit about not making enough and still facing peer pressure to party and pay for drinks you cannot afford when you are out with friends. I guess a lot of people in their early twenties experience that.
And then there is an interesting twist that foreshadows all the complications that come up in the book. Something I won’t talk about, since it will be a spoiler. The strongest point of this book is that it perfectly illustrates how well-meaning people can be absolute assholes without realizing it.
Long review short – ‘THIS IS SUCH A FUN BOOK’.