Such A Fun Age – 2.5 Star Review

Emira is a 26-year-old black woman that works as a babysitter for a 3-year-old girl named Briar. Her employers are wealthy & white. The husband works at a local news station as an anchor in Philadelphia and the wife (Alix) works from home as a blogger/aspiring author of her memoir. They have 2 daughters, but Emira is only in charge of watching the oldest girl, three days a week, to allow the mom free time to work on her personal brand and upcoming memoir. One night something happens that causes Alix to call Emira late & ask her to come take Briar out of the house for a bit. Emira was at a birthday party for a friend, and dressed as such, but agrees to come get Briar because she needs the money & Alix needed her help. Emira takes Briar to the nearby, wealthy, grocery store to burn time. However, an incident ensues once a security guard starts to harass Emira about being a possible kidnapper of the little girl she is being paid to babysit. This kicks off the entire story & takes place at the front of the novel.

Briar was by far my favorite character; she was such a unique little girl & I honestly could’ve read an entire story centered around her and Emira. Emira was a late blooming adult as some would say. She didn’t really have professional drive and lived paycheck to paycheck, but her biggest concern was that this year she’d turn 26 & would be kicked off her parents’ medical insurance, so it was time for her to get a full-time job somewhere that could provide benefits. My main issue with Emira’s character was that she could never take initiative or do things herself without an outside influence, such as her friends. I couldn’t understand her lack of drive, and her personality felt flat to me. However, she was a phenomenal babysitter & I was a little bitter with the outcome of her characters career in the end (no spoilers). 

Alix, the mother, is the other main character in this story. She was the absolute worst person, and the reader’s disgust for her only grows throughout the entire book. The author definitely wanted the reader to dislike Alix, and it was borderline over kill. There was a moment in the story where the reader got a flashback into Alix’s past & I honestly hoped for some type of redemption or sympathy to why Alix had the grudges that she did – but alas it did not draw me into her character. Alix develops an unhealthy obsession over her sitter’s life and is appalled to discover that her high school ex, Kelley, is now dating her babysitter. Keep in mind that Alix is 15 years post high school in the current day… Alix’s obsession seriously could have taken this contemp fiction novel into the psychological thriller genre if the author had wanted. She was legit crazy. 

Kelley gets painted as a white guy with a black fetish. I wasn’t convinced that it was a fetish, as it seemed he had genuine & long-term relationships with his black friends, and he seemed to authentically care for Emira as a person. He did make mistakes that stem from his class and white privilege, but he appeared to be a guy trying to be more woke and aware. He wasn’t perfect, but I did feel he was portrayed in an unfair manner at the end. 

When I read contemp fiction, especially books exploring racial and class issues in modern day America, I hope for the author to guide me in exploring the themes at different levels. I can appreciate a villain which the author then tries to convince me to understand, or a hero whose flaws are swept under the rug & then get revealed. I want to struggle with the characters and hate and love them at the same time. I want to mourn their mistakes and rejoice in their successes. I desire new perspectives and to be presented with point of views I may not have considered. I don’t feel like Such a Fun Age accomplished any of that for me, and thus resulted in my 2.5 star rating. The characters felt one-dimensional and not as complex as they could have been. I know several people really loved this story, but it just missed the mark for me.

Reviewed by Coco

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