This riveting debut novel by Kiley Reid first grabbed my attention when I saw Reese Witherspoon talk about it in her Insta Story. With a seemingly interesting plot and a cute front cover that literally screams ‘fun, light & breezy’, I settled on this hoping for a humorous and entertaining read that would help me unwind from a long work week. But boy, I had no idea what I was in for, for this was no chick-lit but rather an intense, highly thought – provoking plot that centers around white saviour complexes masked beneath the veil of “making a difference”. Nevertheless, it was truly an amazing read and I was completely lost in the plot!
When Emira Tucker, a young black woman, gets accused of kidnapping the child she was babysitting, she gets trapped in a battle of egos of people who wants to do the right thing for her while also being motivated by their self – interests. It’s an engaging story that explores the nature of self – centeredness in individuals who are so fixated on their views that they can’t think outside their mental cocoons. For Emira, this one episode of racial assault changes everything around her. She’s now forced to confront the many aspects of her life she was previously quite unconcerned about and makes her rethink how she really feels about her job and social relationships. It also changes her equations with her employer, Alix Chamberlain, a wealthy Instagram Influencer, who takes a sudden interest in her life and hobbies and keeps alluding to Emira being ‘family’. But when Emira discovers an important detail of Alix’s past, she gets trapped in a complex chain of events, ultimately forcing her to make some really bold choices.
In many ways, the book is an observation of the modern day world we live in today. Emira represents the confused youth, with their laidback attitude, who have trouble deciding what they want to do with their lives. And through Alix, we are given a glimpse into the seemingly perfect life on social media and it’s stark contrast in reality.
The writing is fresh, the conversations are as realistic as it gets and I loved how the story shifts seamlessly from Emira to Alix to Kelly. The characterization of Alix’s daughter, Briar is beautifully done and adds an interesting element to the story.
In the end, I am one happy reader but I can’t say I’m completely satisfied. The ending seemed abrupt to me. I would have loved to know how life turned out for Mrs Chamberlain. Despite everything, I couldn’t see her as an evil – intentioned person.
Since this past year, my list of debut novelists to watch out for seems to be getting bigger and better. Kiley Reid’s ‘Such A Fun Age’ is a book worth reading. Although, let me tell you again: Please don’t be fooled by it’s cover. Go for this book only if you’re prepared for some serious reading.