Such a Fun Age
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Book Reviews (1)
such a fun book
By Patti McRoy , May 26, 2021
The title of this book drips with sarcasm, but the book itself is very straightforward. The main character is Emira, a 25-year-old Black woman who types 125 words per minute part-time for the Green Party and also babysits several days a week for a white three-year-old named Briar. The opening scene in this novel is one of the best I have ever read. It takes place in a grocery store, where a ripped-from-the-headlines racial profiling incident is caught on video. This video is crucial to the storyline, as is a coincidence, which the NY Times reviewer panned as farfetched but which I found to be entirely plausible. The heart of the story, though, is the fact that while Emira seems to love Briar even more than Briar’s mother does, Emira is under pressure to find a job that provides some level of self-esteem and peer approval, as well as health insurance. At this point in her life, two white people—her boyfriend and Briar’s mother--are infatuated with her, or perhaps just her blackness, and both of them are muddying the waters as far as her career dilemma is concerned. Although both of these white people claim to have Emira’s best interests at heart, they both may or may not be clueless as to what those interests are. The saddest character in this book is Briar, a perceptive and talkative little heartbreaker, who, like Emira, is occasionally being lied to in the name of what is best for her. The author does an exceptionally good job of hinting at awkward, embarrassing, and/or revelatory moments to come, and I think this knack for building suspense is one of my favorite things about this book—that and Emira’s good-heartedness, which sometimes blinds her to the lengths other people will go to in order to make themselves look good.
Recommended to buy: Yes