October Book Club: Such A Fun Age
Welcome to our October choice for the Well Read Company Book Club!
Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age manages to be both an exciting page-turner and an important commentary on race in modern America. It focuses on Emira Tucker, a college graduate with confused plans for the future, who babysits the toddler of a wealthy white woman, Alix Chamberlain. One night whilst taking the toddler down the aisles of their local supermarket, Emira is accused of kidnapping the white child. It’s this shocking and humiliating experience for Emira that opens up the questions of race and privilege in the minds of both women, and their struggle to find their place and purpose in life.
Whilst reading Such a Fun Age I had to keep reminding myself that this is in fact Reid’s debut - her authorial voice is confident between switching between humour, pitch-perfect dialogue between twenty-somethings, and piercing social commentary. She muses on what family can really mean, the pressure on young people to find their chosen ‘path’, and the timeless struggle between motherhood and individuality. Emira’s continued grappling between what different people expect of her is relatable for any recent graduate, especially when social media makes both occupations and political opinions so much more visible.
Reid stated in a Guardian interview that ‘no writing is not political’. Though she didn’t set out to write an ‘issue’ book, class and racism are such ingrained issues in America, and indeed all over the world, that to write any sort of realistic fiction without them is impossible. This is what lies at the heart of her novel: some of the characters are bending over backwards to believe that they are not perpetrators of social inequality and prejudice, when in fact they are just as much a part of it as those who loudly shout about their intolerant beliefs.
The screenplay for the adaptation of Such a Fun Age is currently being worked on by Reid, after the producer Lena Waithe secured the film and television rights. Reid said of Waithe: ‘she really puts her money where her mouth is when it comes to bringing on new voices.’ I for one cannot wait until we see Reid’s novel play out on screen!
We loved reading this novel this month and are so excited to discuss it with you - please tell us what you thought via social media or by commenting on this post!