Such a Fun Age is one of those books I saw everywhere before I really knew anything about it. And I have to admit, the cover got me (just look at it!). It was also Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club pick, which always catches my attention. I was honestly a little bit hesitant to pick this up, because I didn’t believe it could live up to the hype. But I’m so glad I did, because it is definitely worth all the attention it’s been getting.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
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.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Ageexplores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.
Such a Fun Age is, I think, the definition of an ironic book title. And it’s perfect. This book is such a brilliant discussion of race in today’s society. It’s addressed in a way that I think everyone can relate to. I particularly loved how this book points out that you might not even be aware of your racist tendencies (as someone who grew up in a conservative community, and went to Catholic school for twelve years, I’ve seen this a lot). Books like The Hate U Give and An American Marriage are great, but what I appreciated about Such a Fun Age is that it makes the same point, but in a way I think more people can personally identify with.
I went into this book not knowing very much about it (seriously, I couldn’t get that cover out of my head). So I wasn’t expecting to not be able to put this down. The story was so addicting. It almost had the adrenaline of a mystery, without actually being a mystery. which was pretty fun. It turned out to be a quick read with a great message, and I really enjoyed it.
★★★★★ – I was not expecting to love this book, but I really did. It think it’s one of the best discussions on race I’ve read in a while (though I’m curious to see what other people think about this), and I would definitely recommend it! I think it actually makes a great book club read, because I found myself wanting to talk about it the second I’d finished it.
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