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A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, 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.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores 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.
About the Author
Kiley Reid earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship and taught undergraduate creative writing workshops with a focus on race and class. Her short stories have been featured in Ploughshares, December, New South, and Lumina. Reid lives in Philadelphia.
One of... Vogue's Best Books of Winter Marie Claire's 10 Best Books of Winter 2019 Real Simple's Most Anticipated Books of 2020 PopSugar's Best Books to Read This Winter Fast Company's Books to Check Out This December Book Riot's Best Books of December Chicago Review of Books' Best Books of December SheReads' Most-Anticipated Books of 2020 Domino's What To Read This Winter
“[Such a Fun Age] grapples with racism and nods to titans of literature....The vivid page-turner…explores agency and culpability through the entangled lives of Emira and her employer, Alix.” –Vanity Fair
“Touching on race, class, and white privilege, Kiley Reid's page-turner keeps you flipping to see what happens next.” —Marie Claire
“This piercing social commentary on race and class manages to be, well, such a fun book to read.” —Real Simple
"Such a Fun Age is a smart, thoughtful novel that you will want to discuss with your friends. Perfect for book clubs." —PopSugar
“Readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories that tackle serious issues with a touch of wit will find this a worthy alternative to a wild night out.”—Ms. Magazine
“[A] sharp and gripping debut...Written with both empathy and unflinching candor, Reid's novel delivers piercing social commentary on race and privilege in America that will have you contemplating it long after you finish reading.” —Book Riot
“The strength of Such a Fun Age lies in Reid's even hand with both Emira and Alix, whose points of view switch off fairly regularly throughout the novel. Neither character is archetypal: Emira is levelheaded but frustratingly aimless, and Alix is entitled without being risible—well, until the book's end....[A] conversation starter of a debut novel.” —Shelf Awareness
“This novel about race and privilege is the book we all need to read as the 2020 election year approaches.” —Electric Literature
“Brilliant...Witty, relevant, and thought-provoking, Such a Fun Age tackles issues of race, privilege, and the nature of transactional relationships.” —BookBub
“Reid’s debut sparkles with sharp observations and perfect details—food, décor, clothes, social media, etc.. . . Her evenhandedness with her varied cast of characters is impressive. . . Charming, challenging, and so interesting you can hardly put it down.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In her debut novel, Reid illuminates difficult truths about race, society, and power with a fresh, light hand. We're all familiar with the phrases white privilege and race relations, but rarely has a book vivified these terms in such a lucid, absorbing, graceful, forceful, but unforced way.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Reid crafts a nuanced portrait of a young black woman struggling to define herself apart from the white people in her life who are all too ready to speak and act on her behalf….Reid excels at depicting subtle variations and manifestations of self-doubt, and astutely illustrates how, when coupled with unrecognized white privilege, this emotional and professional insecurity can result in unintended—as well as willfully unseen—consequences. This is an impressive, memorable first outing.” —Publishers Weekly
"In her smart and timely debut, Reid has her finder solidly on the pulse of the pressures and ironies inherent in social media, privilege, modern parenting, racial tension, and political correctness." —Booklist
“An amazing debut...A sort of modern Austen-esque take on racism and modern liberal sensibilities...except that description makes it sound far more serious and less clever than it is. [Kiley Reid] has a forensic eye.” —Jojo Moyes
“Such a Fun Age is a startling, razor-sharp debut. Kiley Reid has written a book with no easy answers, instead, filling her story with delicious gray areas and flawed points of view. It's both wildly fun and breathtakingly wise, deftly and confidently confronting issues of race, class, and privilege. I have to admit, I'm in awe.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Daisy Jones & the Six
“This is not a world of easy answers but one in which intentions don’t match actions and expectations don’t match consequences, where it is possible to mean something partly good and do something mostly bad. The result is both unsparing and compassionate, impossible to read without wincing in recognition—and questioning yourself. Such a Fun Age is nothing short of brilliant, and Kiley Reid is the writer we need now.” —Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists
“Kiley Reid has written a timely novel that asks what we owe to those we care for in this complicated world. With intimate, touching observations, Reid details the lives of two complicated, loving women who are trying to figure out how to live their best lives in a world that does not always make space for them to do so.” —Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman
“Kiley Reid's propulsive, page-turning book is full of complex characters and even more complex truths. This is a bullseye of a debut.” —Emma Straub, author of Modern Lovers
“This is a deft coming-of-age story for the current American moment, one written so confidently it’s hard to believe it’s a first novel. Kiley Reid explores serious issues—race, class, sex, power, ambition, and what it’s like to live in our hyperconnected world—with a light touch and sly humor.” —Rumaan Alam, author of That Kind of Mother
“Such a Fun Age is such a fabulous book–a crisp, wry, and insightful novel about class, race, and relationships. Kiley Reid is a gifted young writer with a generosity that makes her keen social eye that much funnier and sharper.” —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
“Kiley Reid’s witty debut asks complicated questions around race, domestic work, and the transactional nature of each.” —Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People
“Gripping, substantive, complicated, compelling, and just plain true....These characters laid claim to me, and their stories became important to me in the way art does that to its readers, viewers, listeners....Such a fantastic, serious, and, I should say, fun read.” —Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers
“Such a Fun Age is such a fresh voice. It’s a unique, honest portrayal of what it’s like to be a black woman in America today. Kiley Reid has delivered a poignant novel that could not be more necessary.” —Lena Waithe “The first time in a long time that I had a novel glued to my hands for two days...Such a Fun Age is so witty, so touching and humane. Just utterly phenomenal.” —Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist