As a break from the Outlander series, I read the January 2020 Reese’s Book Club pick, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. It is a book about race and white privilege; a book about the labor divide and a semi nuclear family but with two daughters and a “working” mom. Reid writes the book from two points of view but with a third character who is a big part of the story.
The Two Perspectives
Emira is a 25 year old who feels that her job, babysitting for a middle-class white family, is not what an adult should be doing but she loves Briar, the oldest daughter of the Chamberlin’s, the family who hired her. One night, she is asked to pick up Briar and get her out of the house for a little while. She takes her to a grocery store and is immediately accused of kidnapping Briar because she is babysitting while Black. Her perspective on how to handle the situation is not respected because of her employer, Alix Chamberlin.
Alix is the mother of two girls, living a privileged life of a white woman who has her own business. She is trying to write a book, take care of her children, and be a feminist. But her obsession over getting to know Emira gets in the way when she finds out that Emira’s new boyfriend was the boy who “ruined senior year.” In the beginning, I really wanted to like Alix, but as the story progressed, both of the perspectives showed that she was a jealous woman who wanted the days before her children back. Reid writes about these perspectives on Hello Sunshine’s blog.
Kelley, Emira’s boyfriend, took a video of the incident at the grocery store before they started dating. He wanted her to put it on the internet or send it to news outlets, or use it to sue the store. She however asked that he delete it and never speak of it again after he sent it to her email. I can’t say what I would have done in a situation like this, because I have never been faced with being publicly profiled. However, Emira had every right to decide what she wanted done with it. I liked that she remained calm during the whole exchange and tried to explain to Kelley why she didn’t want to sue or have the video get out, even though all of that was well within her rights.
This story is a great start on the discussion of race, interracial dating, and the division of labor between white women and women of color. It makes you think about situations you may never have been in because of privilege and ones that women of color and people of color face all the time because of their color. And it is also a really fun read. Grab your favorite cup of coffee and a reading buddy and read Such a Fun Age and start a conversation. Share your thoughts with me and check out my review of Outlander.