What we've been reading - Such a fun age by Kiley Reid

Alix Chamberlain is an entitled, liberal, white woman in her 30s who is an Instagram influencer. Emira is a college-educated black woman in her mid-20s, uncertain and confused about what she wants to do with her life. Alix hires Emira to babysit her toddler daughter. A crucial incident happens early in the book and from there we are given the perspectives of Alix and her privileged friends as well as Emira, her friends, and her boyfriend.

There are books I read for the pleasure of the storytelling and there are books I read to make me think. Occasionally a book comes along that does both.

One of the best ways to make a point is through clever irony, through stereotypical characters who are ludicrous, yet readable. Taking the biggest hit in this book are the progressive “woke” individuals who are so fearful of appearing racist, so convinced that they aren’t racist, that they lack self-awareness. This is so much more than a book about racial bias. It’s about race, yes, but it‘s also about social class, success, parenting, friendship, and the relationship between a nanny and the family she works for. Bias can be subtle. It can be the way of thinking you know what is right for others.

In my opinion, one measure of a successful book is that it accomplishes what the author sets out to do. This author avoids the easy solutions and doesn’t tell us what to think. In its place the author makes the reader think and examine their own feelings, opinions, and actions, which can be uncomfortable indeed. The last line in the book packs quite a punch.

Do yourself a favour and grab a friend or two and read this book together. It’s a book that begs discussion.


Written by Pooja Shah