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Such a Fun Age (2019)

de Kiley Reid

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaConversas / Menções
1,4371059,455 (3.84)1 / 95
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," the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 104 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This wasn’t only a story about a racially charged incident, but also a commentary on the lives of young women (particularly in the working class), the guilt and pride that working mothers feel, and the relationship and lines that get crossed between an employee and her employer. Whenever Emira checked her account balance and debated if it was worth it to go out with her friends or how she would pay her bills, it resonated with me deeply. I was in her situation not that long ago, and like Emira, sometimes it was easier to be told what to do by others than dare to make my own decision. I really appreciated the author’s use of appropriate language with her characters. I actually felt like I was eavesdropping on conversations, and unlike in some books where the author presents an idea or cliche of how characters of a certain age talk. ⁣
As a working mother, I also sympathized with some of the feelings that Emira’s boss, Alix Chamberlin struggled with: working mom guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and an overeagerness to befriend someone. I really enjoyed hearing things from both perspectives and getting to know each character’s backstory. There were events in the end that saddened me and I wished could have ended up differently, but those didn’t alter my overall feelings about the book. ( )
  brookiexlicious | May 5, 2021 |
Whoa. This book.

I heard abstract good things about it before I read it but went it completely cold as to what the storyline would be.

It is a ride. I found it to be wild and engaging. The story keeps getting more and more complicated... not to understand but everything keeps getting messier and messier with each character until there is like this crescendo at the end.

I really liked it. It deals with difficult topics and gives them such life. Reid expertly crafts the story so that you can really understand how each person experiences events and has the reactions to them that they do. (up until things really go sidewise)

Anyway, I really liked this book - I haven't read anything quite like it before - it has so much energy and well developed characters AND a great sense of place. I will definitely read whatever comes next from Reid. ( )
  alanna1122 | May 4, 2021 |
Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid, author; Nicole Lewis, narrator
Peter and Alix Chamberlain are an upwardly mobile white couple who have recently moved to Pennsylvania for Peter’s job as a television newscaster. Alix writes blogs and gives speeches to empower women. She gets lots of free stuff from companies when she tells them she is going to promote their products. Her career has fallen a bit by the wayside since the birth of her second child, and a babysitter, Emira Tucker, not a white woman, is hired to help out, part-time. Alix wants to get closer to Emira, and she begins to devise ways of becoming friends with her. What does Alix really want, a friend or someone who is devoted to her and will not quit? She and Emira are both at a crossroads in their lives. Alix has it all but is not content. She is overwhelmed by her older daughter Briar who questions everything constantly. Emira has very little, but she is not motivated by money and seems able to find the lemonade in the lemon. She adores Briar.
When Alix was in high school, she and Kelley Townsend were an item for awhile. Kelley thought he had scored with the rich girl. Alix thought she was in love. However, after a disastrous event at a party at her house, while her parents were traveling, Kelley broke up with her. It was only days before the prom. She was devastated, and for the remainder of her time in high school, she was a pariah. She still carries a grudge against him and blames him for her unhappiness. Was her grudge justified or did she misconstrue the situation?
Emira set off on her own after graduating from College. She could not decide what she wanted to do with her life so she held two jobs to make ends meet. One was as a babysitter and the other as a transcriptionist. One night, at a friend’s rather boisterous birthday party, she gets a phone call from Alix asking her to come and take their daughter Briar, about to turn three, out of the house. An incident had occurred and police were on their way. Emira agreed and took the child to an upscale market in the neighborhood, one she did not usually frequent. There, she was unfairly accused of kidnapping the child. The security guard questioning her because of the concern of an old white biddy, was openly hostile. Suddenly a young man starts filming the event. When all ends fairly well, although nothing can erase Emira’s humiliation, he tells her to make the video public and reap the rewards of publicizing her harassment. The young man is Kelley Townsend. Emira refuses to make a fuss or get the guard fired. She is not motivated by personal gain or revenge, but rather is motivated by a desire to be content.
Emira disapproves of Alix’s parenting of Briar. It is obvious that she favors her younger daughter. Emira believes she is doing a better job than Alix and is a much better role model for Briar. When Emira begins to date the man who took the video, she does not know that he is the teen that broke up with Alix years before. Chaos ensues. Before long, everyone wants retribution for something whether or not it is deserved.
So, there are two competing stories. One is about white people who seem to aspire to be approved of and admired by people of color and bend over backwards in their attempts to connect with them, and the other is about black people who simply want to survive in the world and escape the harassment people of color so often experience. One is portrayed as manipulative and self-serving, the other as pretty much saintly. Neither can understand the world of the other.
Unfortunately, the characters are not likeable. Each is a caricature or stereotype of a particular kind of person. Their jobs and lifestyles are exaggerated examples of the choices people make. Their language and appearance are also sometimes dramatized. Secrets abound as the author exploits theses characters to prove a point about the existence of “white privilege”. There is a lot of subtle and not so subtle black hostility toward white people, which is presented as justified. Many of the characters harbor resentment for something that once happened to them, and have become obsessed with the idea of retaliation. The novel predominantly presents a one sided view which seems to promote the politically correct view of systemic racism currently being advanced in America. It is presumed to be universal in the white community.
The author promotes the idea that white privilege motivates the characters to abuse their black brethren, even if unintentional. Their lives are so vastly different, it is impossible for one to understand the other, but her emphasis is definitely on the impossibility of the privileged to understand the plight of the underprivileged! There is great emphasis placed on the effort of white society to somehow be liked and accepted by the society of black and brown people. Emira is the only one who seems to move seamlessly between both worlds and who seems to have a superior way of analyzing and responding to all.
Each of the characters pretty much embodies the worst attributes that society attributes to their stereotype, particularly for white people who want to appear as totally non-racist. Their motives are always presumed to be insincere and self-serving because they are supposedly racists deep down in their core. The only character that comes across as truly genuine and compassionate beyond anyone else’s ability, is Emira. She is portrayed as the most emotionally stable character in contrast with the instability of her life and the emotional instability of the other characters. She is not racist. She is always tolerant and adjusts to each situation that she experiences with maturity, until she doesn’t. Generally, she simply tries to understand, remediate the situation and move on. While she is busy trying to make ends meet, working two jobs, white society appears to be working against her. In the end, does everyone really want to help Emira or themselves? Who has altruism at the heart of their efforts? Anyone? Is only one side of society racist or are we all harboring some degree of racism toward someone? Can a society ever be free from racism when it seems to be everywhere, when it almost seems that everyone is being accused of it? ( )
  thewanderingjew | Mar 29, 2021 |
Points out (among other things) that upper-class white lady culture is so normal that the parts featuring Emira & her friends seems like it was written as a travel piece for white tourists. Just look at these wild black women in their natural environment. It also shows that those same women have to switch from one set of behaviors to another when they’re around white people. Especially when it comes to work environments - the woman who works at Sony probably doesn’t feel a thing when she does it, but Emira switches during conversations with Alix and Alix notices. I suppose whites from unacceptable backgrounds have to do the same.

The whole idea of becoming ‘woke’ is a good one, but it creates weird awkwardness when self-aware whites interact with blacks. We have to think about and evaluate everything we do before we do it lest an innocent comment or action be interpreted as racist and insulting. Ingrained and habitualized behavior can quickly become socially taboo and the constant, real-time assessment can come off like the white person wants to distance herself from the situation. Stand-offish and awkward, but coming from a good place that is totally hidden unless the white person explains painfully that she’s monitoring her every moment of time with this black person. That she’s modifying her behavior specially for this encounter. What’s more insulting? It’s a minefield and looking for the mines before you step on them is also an exploding mine.

It’s aggravating that both Kelly & Alix want to save Emira. Immediately infantilizing her as if she can’t decide and take action herself. Reminds me of how women in general were treated and portrayed for centuries. Unfortunately some still are. ( )
  Bookmarque | Mar 22, 2021 |
I am so glad to see Kiley Reid's name on the longlist for the Booker Prize. I think that Such a Fun Age has not been considered great literature by some readers since the characters lack development, and the text lacks complex sentences and lengthy dialog. Despite this criticism, I think that the novel is an outstanding contribution to contemporary fiction as a parable. Reid uses humans to explore ethical concepts. The actions and the dialog of the characters give us plenty to think about and discuss. No, the characters do not grow or solve problems. As a matter of fact, Alix, a thirty-something married woman with two children, is still holding a grudge that originated in high school, and she acts upon her grudge. One of the other characters points out that she is the same as she was in high school—what an insult! What a great statement about members of the populace who haven’t changed their thinking during the decades of their adult lives! I think that is a central point of the story.

Emira, an African American character, about to turn 26 and lose her parents’ health insurance, is a college graduate who babysits and does transcription since she doesn’t yet know what she wants to do with her life. The name Emira, which sometimes denotes nobility, is sometimes translated as “princess.” If pronounced in a way that it includes the word “mirror,” it would give symbolism to this character who is taken care of by her African American friends and seemingly protected by the white people in her life. The protections offered by the white characters are undesired, and reactions to the protective actions provide many avenues for the discussion of racism in our American society. Casual racism is depicted among white characters, and even when it is pointed out, they are not self-actualized enough to accept responsibility.

One aspect of title significance is that a reader can ascertain multiple meanings. Is Emira at such a fun age since she has to become an adult? Is Alix at such a fun age because her life has changed so much since becoming a mother and leaving New York for Philadelphia? Perhaps both are reasonable interpretations. I believe that the title is satirical for our world—we are living in such a fun age—the age of Entitlement, Black Lives Matter, and chasms between the haves and have-nots. ( )
  LindaLoretz | Mar 15, 2021 |
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Reid, Kileyautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Lewis, NicoleNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"We definitely wait for birthdays. Or even ice cream. Like [my daughter] has to earn it. Yesterday we promised her an ice cream, but then she behaved horribly. And I said, 'Then I'm sorry, ice cream is for girls who behave. And that's not you today. Maybe tomorrow.'"

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That night, when Mrs. Chamberlain called, Emira could only piece together the words "... take Briar somewhere ..." and "... pay you double."
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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," the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

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