Posts Tagged ‘review’

‘Such a Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid – Emira and Her Friends and Little Blair

 

Such a Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid (2020) – 320 pages

‘Such a Fun Age’ has a light touch. During the onrush of situations, there is no time for preaching or pontificating. The story just moves on to the next predicament. This gives the novel a speedy feel.

Plus this author’s enthusiasm for her own story rubs off on the reader.

Going along with the lightness is a delight with dialogue. One of the main strengths of ‘Such a Fun Age’ is capturing the talk of people socializing, whether it be a group at a party or dinner or just two people alone. Rather than an individual character contemplating a problem or situation, we get the interplay of many voices. When an attitude or a view is expressed in a conversation, it is just one of several attitudes.

What this novel really excels in are exchanges between groups of young women, whether young mothers or young single women.

This novel tackles persistent racial issues which are not normally confronted in novels. Our views about white people and non-white people go much deeper than we think. Even when we try to treat everyone the same, there is so much hidden subconscious stuff that keeps us from doing so. Our attitudes are so deeply embedded in us that we might believe we are doing good when it is obvious to others we are not. Each of us, including myself, has to carefully examine his or her own attitudes and behavior.

I don’t need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like… happens.”

Another outstanding feature of ‘Such a Fun Age’ is its original unique plot. It all starts with our young woman Emira leaving her friends’ party to take the three-year-old girl Blair whom she is babysitting to the corner Market Depot store at the request of the girl’s well-to-do parents. At the store they are stopped by a security guard who confronts Emira and accuses her of kidnapping the little girl. A white man films the whole incident, and Blair’s mother thinks Emira should publicize the video. Emira doesn’t want that at all.

But more than the racial bias, the night at Market Depot came back to her with a nauseating surge and a resounding declaration that hissed, You don’t have a real job. This wouldn’t have happened if you had a real fucking job, Emira told herself on the train ride home, her legs and arms crossed on top of each other. You wouldn’t leave a party to babysit. You’d have your own health insurance. You wouldn’t be paid in cash. You’d be a real fucking person.”

Babysitting is not a real job for Emira because she doesn’t get health insurance, a major issue for many people. She has a special relationship with the little girl Blair, but Emira sees her friends progressing in their careers, and she knows she can no longer stay on her parents’ health insurance when she turns 26 which will be soon.

But as I said before ‘Such A Fun Age’ has a light touch. The interplay between Emira and Blair is one of this novel’s many pleasures, and Emira and her friends are a fun group to hang around with.

 

Grade:    A

 

 

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