Book Club Picks: Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid


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.

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Back Cover Copy of Such A Fun Age:

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,” and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.

About Kiley Reid:

Kiley Reid is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Such A Fun Age is her first novel.

 

Book Club Questions for Such A Fun Age:

  • The story starts off on that fateful night where Emira is accused of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. Let’s break down the night as it unfolded. What were your thoughts as you read it? Emira is horrified and embarrassed but eventually she thinks if she had a “real job” that it never would have happened. Let’s discuss her reactions.
  • Kelley, a white guy who becomes quite important later, films the whole incident and pushes Emira that she should share the video publicly, which she has no interest in doing so. Let’s talk about why Emira didn’t want this video to become public.
  • In chapter two, we meet Alix Chamberlain, Briar’s mom. It says she’s received nine hundred dollars of free merchandise by combining praise and critics to the brands. However, Alix is wealthy and then married a famous newscaster. What does that say about Alix’s determination to still get stuff for free despite having money?
  • Emira is quite lost and doesn’t know what she wants to do in life—she’s at a confusing time post-college where everyone seems to have figured it out except for her. Could you relate to that feeling? What was life like for you post-college?
  • Alix asks Emira if she wants to borrow one of her many Let Her Speak polos so she doesn’t get anything on her clothes. But this eventually is seen as Alix forcing Emira to wear a uniform. What are your thoughts on this?
  • Why do you think Alix was so determined to become friends with Emira? She becomes obsessive even reading Emira’s texts and looking up musicians she’s into—what was that all about? Was she, in a way, atoning for what happened in high school?
  • Emira and Kelley eventually run into each other again and start dating. What did you think about their romance? Did you have any suspicions about Kelley from the get go or did you think he was genuine? Do you think he has a fetish for black people?
  • What did you think about the reveal that Alix was Kelley’s ex and about what happened in high school between the two of them? Both have very different opinions on the incident—Alix felt betrayed by Kelley and Kelley was appalled that she called the cops and the black student was punished. How did their different opinions of that night impact them for the rest of their lives?
  • Alix uses Emira’s email to post the grocery store video that Kelley took—making it seem like he posted the video behind Kelley’s back. Why did Alix think by doing this she was helping Emira?
  • Now on to the fateful day when Emira finds out out that Alix was the one to post the video and Emira leaves Alix in a pretty epic way—of using the same line that Kelley did when he broke up with Alix. Let’s discuss all of this.
  • How did this turn of events finally get Emira on a path toward a career?
  • At the end of the novel when Emira sees Kelley again with his new girlfriend she thinks, “Because even though Kelley had been right about her, Alix had been had been right about him too.” Do you agree with this?
  • This novel covers race, class, parenthood, growing up, forgiveness and identity. Let’s talk about how this story covered all these themes. What are some other themes you picked up on?
  • What do you think the title meant in relation to the events in this novel?

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