A review by kait_sixcrowsbooks
Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
funny reflective tense fast-paced
- Strong character development? It's complicated
- Loveable characters? It's complicated
- Diverse cast of characters? Yes
- Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
- Black woman MC
- Jewish Japanese SC
- multiple Black women and men SCs
Y'all...this book. I absolutely loved it. I loved Emira as an MC -- the anxiety she feels about not being "adult" enough for not having a "real job", as well as getting closer and closer to losing her parent's health insurance...well. I can definitely relate.
But on top of that, I loved the different themes and ideas that are brought up throughout Such a Fun Age. It makes it obvious that racism isn't just the obvious videos that pop up of police brutality against Black folks. Instead, it can be fetishizing Black people and using them as some sort of social capital, or it can be infantilizing them and "doing what's best for them" without their consent, both of which are seen as the book plays out.
I thought the characters were very interesting. Like I said already, I loved Emira: she's super relatable, and I loved being in her head throughout. Alix, her boss and mother to Briar, whom Emira looks after while baby-sitting, is...something. It was so easy for me to hate her. She's the epitome of white #GirlBoss feminism, focused on appearances and not wanting to "look" racist. Alix thinks she's doing Emira some sort of favor because "poor girl, she doesn't know any better" by basically obsessing over her. It's weird. And super racist. On top of that, she....just really doesn't like Briar? She doesn't pay attention to her, she lays her off onto Emira all the time, and she completely ignored her when
. It's ridiculous.
Spoilershe was getting upset and ultimately got sick all over the place on Thanksgiving
Another thing I want to point out about Alix before going on: she is extremely fatphobic. And she is one of the POVs throughout the book. If Emira is the first thing she's obsessed over, her weight is the second closest thing. Just....the way that she talks about her body and what weight she's at was horrendous throughout the book. And her friends encourage it. I'm not triggered by that sort of thing, and even I was getting really uncomfortable with it. So if that sort of thing triggers you, I'd say do a check-in with yourself before you decide to read this, and throughout the book if you do go ahead with it.
Going on, I really liked Kelley as a character because of
. I thought that whole part of the plot was fascinating, and I really enjoyed reading it. It made the reading super quick because all I wanted to do was to figure out what happened next. I think his character also shows the reader the subtler forms of racism and bias people can have, even if they consider themselves allies.
Spoilerhis past with Alix
It shows that even though you may call yourself an ally, that doesn't mean you don't do shitty things that are racist in other ways.
SpoilerHe was the one who recorded Emira being harassed at the grocery store, but it's later revealed that he would date (or at least, very publicly date) only Black girls.
I dunno, I just thought this was a really cool and interesting read, and I think I'd re-read it later on because I know for sure there were other things that I probably missed upon the first read-through. Overall, I'd definitely recommend it while also pointing out the potential trigger/content warnings!
Graphic: Ableism, Fatphobia, Racism, and Vomit
Moderate: Panic attacks/disorders and Sexual content
Other content/trigger warnings include: misogynoir (graphic), alcohol (graphic), sex while under the influence (moderate), dieting (moderate to graphic), depression (mentioned/minor), anorexia (mentioned/minor), racial microaggressions (moderate to graphic)