Book Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Friday, August 21, 2020

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Length: 310 Pages
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

"'It completely fetishizes black people in a terrible way,' Tamra went on. 'It makes it seem like we're all the same, as if we can't contain multitudes of personalities and traits and differences. And people like that think that it says something good about them, that they're so brave and unique that they would even dare to date black women. Like they're some kind of martyr.'"

My interest was first piqued by this book when it was the center of the controversy involving this years Reading Rush, and it when it became this month's pick for the Hotties Book Club I knew I had to read it. I really struggled with my rating, simply because I didn't fly through this book, I didn't love it as much as some of my other four or five star reads, but I came to the conclusion that this book is definitely (at the least!) a four star read.

Told in in two different POVs, we follow Emira, called "Mira", Tucker, a 25 year old woman who is a babysitter to the talkative, and sometimes difficult, Briar Chamberlain, and Briar's mother, Alix. Alix is an influencer who talks at graduations, panels, and even has a coveted role in the Clinton campaign and who is the definition of a privileged white woman. She rarely talks to Emira, or Briar in fact, until one fateful night when Emira is forced to take Briar to a grocery store and is accused of kidnapping her. After that is a succession of cringe-inducing attempts to make some sort of amends with Emira, who would just rather forget the whole thing occurred. To complicate things further, a man took a video of the whole incident. This man just happens to be Kelley Copeland, Alix's Highschool-Ex who she credits with ruining her senior year.

Kiley Reid has an effervescent and easy writing style that hides within it a deeply meaningful and moving story. I related to Emira very much in her struggles to find her place as an adult while watching her friends succeed at both jobs and relationships. She's 25 and it seems like the clock is ever looming the background, something I feel keenly at 24. I loved Emira and her relationship with Briar, and I admit while Reid did make it easy to, at times, sympathize with both Alix and Kelley, I ultimately felt they were both in the wrong. I wish that Emira could have had a better ending, but it was realistic and fitting.

This novel has experiences in it that I will never know - the threat of being arrested or simply seen as a liar just because of the color of my skin, the fear that a boyfriend might be fetishizing you for being a certain ethnicity - and I think it is something that everyone like me, white, cis, privileged in that regard, needs to read.

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