Such a Fun Age is Kiley Reid’s first novel and is a compelling satire on the white pursuit of wokeness, which is equal parts entertaining and informative.
The story kicks off with the protagonist Emira, a young black woman in an upscale grocery store, accused of kidnapping the white toddler she’s babysitting. After the white father arrives Emira’s story is finally believed. The white busybody who started the accusation struts off, satisfied she did the right thing. The white passerby who recorded the altercation begins creepily wooing Emira, imploring her to take the recording public. And the white mother of the child now feels compelled to boycott the grocery store and becomes obsessed with Emira and her life, in an attempt to prove she is not racist. Yeeesh.
Emira is an average woman in her mid-twenties, struggling to find a career, pay the bills and keep up with her friends who have found success before she has. Unbeknownst to her, taking a part-time babysitting job introduces her to two common flaws of today’s ‘woke’ society: the white saviour syndrome and the fetishisation of black people and black culture.
Reid expertly juggles serious issues like privilege, unconscious bias and everyday racism with an air of humour that takes many other authors years to master.
We live in a society that is so slow to unpack our white-dominated history and it is voices like Reid’s that need to be heard in order to move forward.
But Reid does make it clear that just like a person is not defined by the colour of their skin, this story is not defined by racism. It is also about motherhood, friendships, careers, social responsibilities, expectations, disappointments and the everyday pressures of growing up in a confusing world.
Rating: 5 out of 5. This story is interesting, funny and above all thought-provoking. You will not be able to put it down!