Such a Fun Age
Hardcover, 320 pages
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
I do not like the label “contemporary fiction.” I think it suggests a book with subject matter only applicable to the present day and insinuates a contemporary fiction book could not stand the test of time. I have certainly committed the sin of avoiding a book just because it was advertised as contemporary fiction, but Kiley Reid’s “Such a Fun Age” has inspired me to never make that mistake again.
“Such a Fun Age” begins in Philadelphia in 2015. Emira is a nanny for a wealthy family, and while she loves taking care of a three-year-old for her job, she feels like she should be doing more. She is approaching 26 and fears getting kicked off her parents’ insurance plan, but she has no idea what she wants to do with her life. All of these doubts are fresh in Emira’s mind when she is called to take Briar, the girl she nannies, out of the house one night at the request of Briar’s parents.
While entertaining Briar at the grocery store, Emira is approached by a security officer who thinks a black woman with a white child is suspicious in the high-income area of Philadelphia. The situation gets straightened out, but Alix, Briar’s mother, decides she needs to reach out to Emira more to smooth everything over. Alix is a self-made woman with a thriving business, despite feeling lonely and out-of-place in Philadelphia. She thinks becoming best friends with Emira will be the solution to both their problems.
As Emira struggles to figure out which direction her life should take while trying to make sense of Alix’s sudden interest in her, a strange coincidence puts tension between her and her employer. Emira finds herself at a life-changing crossroads much sooner than she wanted.
I was astonished to find out “Such a Fun Age” is Reid’s debut. Her writing style is sure and moves effortlessly from the first page to the last. I did find myself having to put the book down a couple of times due to second-hand awkwardness so I could brace myself for the stupid decision I knew a character was about to make. Despite that, it was easy to read, and I never stopped enjoying it.
Even though it comes with the label of contemporary fiction, Reid uses “Such a Fun Age” to address race, relationships and class and social status in important and thought-provoking ways. A book set in 2015 might be contemporary, but the themes it explores are lasting. It was an easy decision to give “Such a Fun Age” five stars, and I think it would be worth anyone’s time to read.
Paige Holmes is a senior journalism major from Topeka, KS. Reading is her favorite thing to do because it teaches one how to think, imagine and live. Paige believes there is no better way to learn something or be entertained than by reading a book. Her favorite genre of books is fantasy/thriller and her favorite book is ‘Opening Moves’ by Steven James.