This book was amazing in so many ways that it’s difficult to put all my thoughts in order on what made this book such a good and memorable read.
Such a Fun Age follows the lives of two women: Alix Chamberlain and Emira Tucker. Alix is a blogger turned girl power brand entrepreneur and is the mother to two young daughters. While she adjusts to life in Philadelphia and tries to make her online audience continue to believe she’s still a New Yorker. She hires Emira Tucker to babysit her oldest daughter and is shocked to find that one night when Emira brings Briar to a grocery store and that Emira is accused of kidnapping her daughter. The whole event is filmed by a bystander and both they and Alix want justice in different ways but Emira just wants to forget the whole thing ever happened. But the video resurfaces in a surprising way that ends up changing the courses of Alix and Emira’s lives in ways they never expected.
Such a Fun Age is also an incredibly real book, every one of its characters feels like someone I’ve met, known, or read about online. And Emira’s own quarter-life crisis as she stresses about her career, her future, her life in comparison to her friends, and her worries over her soon to be lack of health insurance was incredibly relatable and one that made Emira such a believable character (the only thing that was unbelievable was her lack of a social media presence at twenty-five, and I know those people do exist but they’re arguably rarer than unicorns, but I also understand Reid’s reason for it for the purpose of her novel.). What makes the book even more real and relevant is the different form of racism that Reid focuses on. It isn’t violent like in The Hate U Give but it is just as hateful and just as serious and terrifying because it is so casual. I’m glad Reid showed the many forms racism takes, and by highlighting the dangerous subtle racism of the White Saviour.
I also enjoyed the revelation with Alix at the end, though I know some other reviewers had mixed feelings on this. I felt it kept Alix a complex character while adding a whole new layer to her that made her terrifying (in many ways, showing her true self as a narcissist).
This book also made me feel so many things but the most was for sweet little Briar. I just couldn’t get over Alix’s uncaring attitude towards eldest daughter and when Briar started realizing her mother didn’t favour her or even like her as much as her baby sister it broke my heart. Similarly, Emira’s love and attention for Briar mended my heart every time Alix broke it, the amount of love and care Emira gave Briar and how her fear of where Briar would get that love once Emira one day left the Chamberlain’s was so moving.
My one criticism though was the ending. The last chapter does quite a few time jumps and while I understood why Reid chose to do this and it did make sense as a whole, it just felt like too quick an ending. It wasn’t completely disjointing; just fast snippets I wish I could have mulled over a little longer. But I did like the ending paragraph, it just left me feeling so hollow and worried and packed another punch that made this book so memorable.
Such a Fun Age is a smart and powerful novel and definitely lives up to the anticipation and hype that’s been building up around it.
Publication: December 31st 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Adult
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
“Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.”