Where do I even begin? It has been a while since I have read a book that has left me completely speechless by the end. Such A Fun Age, by Kiley Reid left me completely speechless to the point where I don’t even know how to begin this review. However, the book was absolutely fabulous and accurately dives deeper in what it means to be privileged in our country. I could not stop turning the pages.
Before I dive deeper into it, I must say how important it is to not judge a book by its cover. Before reading Such A Fun Age, I had heard a ton of buzz on the novel. As an avid reader and someone who suffers from FOMO I felt like I had to read the book so I could contribute to the conversation everyone was having. However, I was confused by the cover and the summary of the book on the inside of the book jacket truly left everything to the imagination. All I could think was “okay a babysitter is wrongfully accused of kidnapping the child she sits for…okay and…how could there be an entire novel on just this.” Let me tell you, Kiley Reid is an insanely talented writer and this novel is SO much more than an African American sitter being wrongfully accused of kidnaping. It is dynamic. I laughed, I cried and I was devastated when the novel came to an end.
Do not judge a book by its cover, ever.
Here we go, I am going to do my absolute best to keep from spoiling anything.
Let’s start here. There is a perfect amount of characters in this novel to the point where it keeps things interesting; but not to a point where you are playing a game of who’s who the entire time you are reading. Each character has their own distinct voice, which I commend Reid on because it can be difficult to write multiple character’s in their specific voice when you have a voice of your own. Here’s a quick major character list:
Emira: An African American women who sits for the Chamberlain family. She is amazing at caring for Alix’s children and specifically close with Briar, the Chamberlain’s oldest daughter. Her world is turned upside down when she is wrongfully accused of kidnapping the Briar and the video of it all going down is… (*spoiler alert*) leaked.
Alix Chamberlain: Mother to Briar and Catherine, Wife to Peter, Comes from a wealthy family and is very privileged. She is currently writing a book and has made a living writing letters to companies in order to receive free product.
Peter Chamberlain: Father to Briar and Catherine. Husband to Alix. He just started a new gig as a news anchor in Philly.
Briar and Catherine: Daughters of Peter and Alix. Briar is particularly close with Emira.
Kelley Copeland: Alix’s high school ex who completely “ruined her life” in high school. Dates Emira in the novel and was the one who filmed her being accused and harassed by the grocery store security officer for kidnapping Briar.
The plot is very dynamic. From that night at the grocery store where Emira was wrongfully accused of kidnapping the plot evolves into more than just this. We get a look inside Alix’s past, inside Kelley’s past, inside Emira’s past. We learn about Alix and Kelley’s relationship, Emira and Kelley’s relationship and even Alix’s relationship with Emira. Each character is going through their own individual struggles and we see this all unfold throughout the novel. I did like how the novel was broken into four different parts to help the flow of the storyline. The novel does also do a bit of flashing back throughout to really give an understanding of why each character behaves the way that they do.
As I mentioned this book is so much more than a wrongfully accused babysitter. Reid touches upon so many real issues in our society including racism and privilege. She also dives deeper into relationships, specifically interracial relationships, acceptance, anxiety, adulting and the idea of “doing the right thing.” Towards the end of the novel, Alix is faced with a situation where she could do the right thing or what she feels is the wrong thing but for the right reasons. This idea truly reflects what it means to be privileged in our society. This sense of privilege can drive an individual to do completely and morally wrong things to others.
When it comes to the ending I will just say this, the ending is absolutely nothing I expected and I was tense the entire time hoping that Briar would end back up in the care of Emira. However, I do feel that all of the character’s ended up exactly where they were meant to be. Justice is served in unexpected ways.
This book is truly one of the best I have read in a while. It discusses many really world struggles but in a light hearted way. This book will make you laugh but also make you cry. I am hoping that Reid works on a second novel very soon and absolutely think this show would make for a great Netflix movie.
Read the book with an open mind and regardless of who you are, or what you believe in; truly try to understand each character’s perceptive through their point of view. Not your personal point of you on the situation. If you do this, I truly believe you will gain A LOT from this novel.
You can purchase Such A Fun Age here.