Book Group leader Nancy Buehler leads a discussion of the striking and surprising debut novel, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. Buy it here.
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About the book:
Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, 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 things 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.
"Kiley Reid has written the most provocative page-turner of the year....[ Such a Fun Age] nestl[es] a nuanced take on racial biases and class divides into a page-turning saga of betrayals, twists, and perfectly awkward relationships....The novel feels bound for book-club glory, due to its sheer readability. The dialogue crackles with naturalistic flair. The plotting is breezy and surprising. Plus, while Reid's feel for both the funny and the political is undeniable, she imbues her flawed heroes with real heart." --Entertainment Weekly
"Reid's acerbic send-up of identity politics thrives in the tension between the horror and semiabsurdity of race relations in the social media era. But she is too gifted a storyteller to reduce her tale to, well, black-and-white....Clever and hilariously cringe-y, this debut is a provocative reminder of what the road to hell is paved with." --O, The Oprah Magazine
"Lively...[A] carefully observed study of class and race, whose portrait of white urban affluence--Everlane sweaters, pseudo-feminist babble--is especially pointed. Attempting to navigate the white conscience in the age of Black Lives Matter, Reid unsparingly maps the moments when good intentions founder." --The New Yorker
"Such a Fun Age is blessedly free of preaching, but if Reid has an ethos, it's attention: the attention Emira pays to who Briar really is, and the attention that Alix fails to pay to Emira, instead spending her time thinking about her....The novel is often funny and always acute, but never savage; Reid is too fascinated by how human beings work to tear them apart. All great novelists are great listeners, and Such a Fun Age marks the debut of an extraordinarily gifted one." --Slate
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK
"The most provocative page-turner of the year." --Entertainment Weekly
"I urge you to read Such a Fun Age." --NPR