Is it “normal” for a parent to call her babysitter late in the evening for an “emergency” babysitting need? Is it “normal” for a babysitter to be dancing with a young child in the aisle of the local grocery store late at night that should be in bed at that late hour? This book gains your interest right away with these questions and more that make you want to keep reading. Even more questions quickly arise as well…dive into Such a Fun Age – A Book Review with me!
The fact that the babysitter is black and the young child is white is revealed before you even begin the book. What I found compelling in this story is while you know it’s going to dive into the controversies of race, you also learn a lot about what makes each of them tick, which has nothing to do with the color of their skin. To me, this book covered different subjects, which I enjoyed!
Meet The Characters ~
- Emira Tucker – Protagonist – Babysitter/Typist
- Alix Chamberlain – Deuteragonist – Wife/Mother of 2/Emira’s employer
- Kelley Copeland – Deuteragonist – Films the scene in the local grocery store/dates Emira
- Briar Chamberlain – Emira babysits her/Emira’s favorite human/daughter of Alix
- Catherine Chamberlain – Daughter of Alix
- Peter Chamberlain – Husband of Alix
- Zara, Josefa, Shaunie – Emira’s friends
- Laney Thacker – Peter Chamberlain’s co-anchor
- Rachel, Jodie, Tamra – Alix’s friends
- Claudette – Alix’s housekeeper when she was a child
- Robbie Cormier – high school athlete/classmate of Alix Chamberlain
- Ramona & Suzanne – Laney Thacker’s friends
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The Plot ~
The story begins with Alix calling Emira late in the evening to take her daughter, Briar, to the store. It was Alix’s attempt to get Briar out of the house and away from a bad situation occuring there. Instead, they find themselves in a conundrum much worse than the current issue at hand. They are now embroiled in the middle of racism at several different levels.
The book takes you back and forth from their current lives to their past lives. Decisions and actions made in younger years deeply affect where they are today. One might ask, “Well isn’t this the norm for everyone?” My answer would be, “Yes, of course!” However, this story weaves a tale of some very deep hurts caused to others that I believe most of us would always hope we haven’t been the culprit of.
Alix Chamberlain ~
Born as Alex Murphy, her family inherits a large sum of money and quickly go from rags to riches. However, we all know the old saying, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” She makes a decision her senior year, that while many would agree with that decision, it still deeply affects the lives of Robbie Cormier and Kelley Copeland, who are her classmates. She moves on after that sufferable year and becomes a blogger and influencer, branding her work with #LetHerSpeak…helping other women find their confidence. Along with her work comes a new version of her name…Alix!
Emira Tucker ~
Finding herself struggling with life choices, Emira is 26 and is a typist and babysitter. Meanwhile, her three friends have “real” jobs. The problem with this is that Emira loves both of her jobs, however, neither one provides health insurance, and she is getting dangerously close to losing coverage under her parents’ plan. Why does babysitting have to be considered anything other than a real job? She’s more of a mother to young Briar than Alix will ever be. The thought of not being in Briar’s life is so painful that she cannot bear to think of it.
Kelley Copeland ~
Kelley finds himself in the middle of systemic racism while doing some late night grocery shopping. Always surrounding himself with friends of color, he is instantly aware of what is about to happen to Emira, so he films the whole occurrence. While Emira is not interested in pursuing any legal action, they still become friends/lovers after a second chance meeting on a bus.
Kiley Reid does a great job pointing out that while sometimes our actions are well-intentioned, they can have a very different meaning to the person on the receiving end. She helps us to see that racism does indeed exist and helps us to understand that we need to look at better ways to help bridge the divide.
With that being said, I felt like the relationship of both Alix (Alex) and Emira with Kelley Copeland was a bit of a reach. The fact that Kelley randomly meets Emira in the store, while having such a strong historical tie to Alix was fairly unrealistic. I kept waiting to learn that he set up that chance encounter…but this was not the case. Nonetheless, this book flowed easily through some very hard topics that I feel will leave everyone contemplating daily choices and actions they make. AND….that final paragraph was everything…Don’t you dare cheat and look ahead!
Discussion Questions ~
- Do you thing Emira made the right decision by asking Kelley to not release the video?
- What are your thoughts on Alix’s relationship with both of her daughters?
- Do you feel Emira should have already had a “real” job?
- How did you feel about Alix slipping extra money to Emira after the grocery story debacle?
- Do you feel that what happened in the grocery store would have gone differently if both girls were the same color?
- Do you feel Alix was overcompensating in her relationship with Emira? Was she well meaning in her actions?
- Did you expect the connection with Alix and Kelley?
- Was Alex right in calling the police that night in high school?
- There are many uncomfortable moments in this book…can you relate with any of them?
- Do you think Alix was right or wrong to release the video?
- Do you carry any high school issues with you still today as an adult?
- Who do you think was better to Emira….Alix or Kelley?
- Is the fact that Alix keeps giving expensive items to Amira odd or only odd because they are of different color?
- What do you believe Emira will take away from her time at the Chamberlain house?
- Who was your favorite character in the book? Why?
Other Great Reads ~
Have you read Lost Boy Found by Kirsten Alexander? It’s a great read about prejudice, class and injustice that keeps you intrigued to the end.
If you haven’t read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens….it’s a must read too!
I read a lot of reviews before reading this book myself. While I believe Kiley Reid navigated eloquently through some very tough topcis, I still struggled with some of the story line. The biggest issue for me was Kelley Copeland. I considered him to be the antagonist in this book, but I couldn’t quite relate to him as much as I would have wished. In spite of this, I think it is a great read for many reasons!
Happy Reading ~