Such a Fun Age

Reid, Kiley

  44 Reviews

There's a perfectly plausible explanation as to why Emira Tucker has three-year-old Briar with her in an upscale Philadelphia supermarket late on a Saturday night. However, the store's security guard is having none of it because Emira is black and Briar is white. Emira, the well-educated young woman that she is, is a babysitter for the Chamberlain family, Peter a news anchor, and Alix, a feminist blogger. Following the 'incident', which just happened to get recorded by a bystander, life is about to get interesting in ways that none of them could possibly have imagined.

Clever and thought-provoking, this is a nuanced examination of race and privilege in the here and now.



AUCK 271
This book provoked discussion but all members of our group responded differently. It was well-written and held our attention to the end. For a first novel we were impressed, and all focused on reading to completion. It was enlightening with regard to American culture and added to our thinking about Black Lives Matter.
Lots of discussion! Overall this book was not enjoyed - we felt the writing lacked substance and was disjointed. Interesting subject and we thought the author may have reflected a lot on her own experiences. We wouldn't recommend it.
Very few of us read this. We felt the author gave a very detailed description of the situation, real American culture.
CHCH 518
Very enjoyable read from a gifted writer, and we look forward to seeing more of her work in print.
Mixed reviews of this book - some struggling with the American culture, dialogue etc. Nevertheless, we had a spirited discussion on racism, and the various characters' roles in the story.
NAP 024
Very contrived story. Didn't enjoy the book at all. Didn't suit our personalities. None of us could relate to either woman.
AUCK 446
Good discussion. We all found the title irrelevant to the story, couldn't figure out how the author came up with it. We enjoyed the story although all thought it had a weak ending.
CHCH 194
A very average book on the whole. However, the characters' views were surprisingly correct in the end. We do like to think that our prejudices in NZ are less than these.
WELL 130
We considered it a light-hearted read. The style of narration seemed contrived and a bit disjointed. We wondered about the agendas of the three main characters.
CHCH 481
Lively discussion. Uncovered a number of issues which led to healthy debate.
Trashy, predictable and hard to read.
WELL 008
Most liked the book, easy read etc. But during discussion, lots of faults with the book were discussed and we started to wonder why we had liked it!! The theme was topical, but towards the end it lost its way a bit, which was a shame in a way.
WELL 219
Enjoyed by everyone.
Opinion was divided on this book, but it did spark a lively discussion about race relations and white privilege.
TAUP 009
It is a commentary of our time, but we found some of the main characters to be very unlikeable.
Our group didn't find this story depicting racism and privilege as enthralling as many reviewers have. Maybe because we are an older group, we found many of the attitudes of the modern, privileged women shallow and self centred. The character of Emira stood out as a credible person.
Those that persisted with this book found it contained a very real commentary on the issue of 'white privilege'.
Very mixed views - some felt the characters were too shallow and the plot/message too predictable. Others enjoyed the characters and felt they learned about privilege.
TAUP 006
Several of our group disliked the book so much they chose not to complete it. Those of us who enjoyed it were happy to defend it; we had a spirited and prolonged discussion about reading outside our own life experiences. Themes of racism, modern culture, otherness and U.S/N.Z differences all explored, but no one changed their mind!!
CHCH 336
Good discussion, but generally didn't enjoy the book.
CHCH 393
A slow start, but a desire to know the outcome motivated you on. Certainly a different perspective.
There was a wide range of opinion regarding this read. Some of our members did not complete it - giving up early in the read. Our hostess of the month, anticipating this, found an interview where the author shared her thoughts, which gave depth to the discussion that followed. We thought it could appeal to American readers more. Emira was the strongest character - some were rather 'weak'. Also the 'action' only began in Part 3 of the book, with everything coming together quickly at the end. We have read better!
A light read but complex at the same time. There were differing opinions within the group. Characters were revealed slowly and cleverly, sometimes believable, sometimes not and quite often frustrating. Generated good discussion; very American which at times (with the lack of in depth knowledge of the American culture) led to missing some of the subtle messages. Good notes.
AUCK 293
Thought-provoking and humorous, with well developed, believable characters. Easy to read.
NELS 002
Some of the group didn't get it at all, but those who liked it thought it was very perceptive and intelligent.
WINT 001
Several members of the group didn't enjoy the book as they found it was too hard to get into the story or felt it wasn't relevant to them. However the rest found it quite powerful with interesting and relevant themes. It was thought provoking to those of us who are not digital natives and helped us understand how younger generations can second guess themselves when dealing with new or unexpected situations.
We enjoyed the interplay between Alix the mother, and her black baby-sitter Emira. Such an unusual story, and quite touching to see the devotion and love between Emira and her small 3 year old charge, Briar. Many twists and turns revealed more of the character of the main players. An excellent read.
TAUR 015
An interesting and perceptive view of modern day society. Clever, well paced story offering great discussion opportunity.
CHCH 010
Several people had hardly started or had not finished the book, as they found it either difficult to read and/or were not interested in persevering. Those who did finish found it more interesting as they read on. We did wonder if we were in the wrong age group for this book!
This book didn't really hit the spot for our group. Several didn't finish it. Although it was generally agreed that it was well written most found the characters and dialogue (there was a lot!) difficult to relate to. We felt it was written for an American audience.
Very American outlook in this book. We have 2 members who were born in the USA so brought a lot to our discussion. A modern book. Discusses the question of colour in our society. We had a good discussion because of the insight of the two Americans in the group. Liked the character of Emira. Found Alix hard to believe in.
CHCH 145
A well-written book from a new young writer. Everyone got something different from this book. It had many layers and many insights that made us think. Only one member did not enjoy it but she read it and agreed the writing was good. Made for a lively discussion.
NELS 048
Mixed reviews from our group - some found it hard to relate to the American values; not really worthy of a Booker Prize longlist.
Great discussion on underlying racial theme.
AUCK 208
Interesting account of American society - appreciated it as an insight into American life. Didn't find it a fun read, and wondered when the fun age would start. Some enjoyed the read, others didn't...
AUCK 009
Where to start Two members refused to read the book, one liked it and felt it was "interesting" and she wanted to know what happened. The remaining five were "under-whelmed" and felt that it did not live up to all the hype...
ASHB 016
This would be one of the few books that all of us did not like! A couple started it and didn't even bother to finish it. Got very frustrated with Alix who just needed to keep out of everyone else's business and get on with her own life...
It would be fair to say that the May book hit the mark for a few people, and was a dismal failure for others. Those who liked it valued it as providing a useful insight into a generation and youth culture that is somewhat foreign to many in our age group. They felt it provoked worthwhile questions about relationships and race, along with insights into the huge significance of social media in the lives of the millennial generation. Several people found the colloquial language too challenging or offensive for their taste, criticised its 'Americanism', credibility, relevance and writing style.
WELL 150
Most found the first half quite slow, but the second half quite riveting. Very unlikeable characters put a couple off. Interesting study of how race plays out.
This book divided our group more than any other book has! While the topic was on point, the language and writing put half the members off. Those that loved it understood the messaging and what the author was portraying. It led to a robust discussion on racism, unconscious bias and overall our state in NZ with our multi-cultural society. Very hard to rate due to the split in the group.
Diverse reactions to 'Such a Fun Age'. Some members thought it shallow and pointless, while others enjoyed the modern setting and were challenged by the racism, both overt ( the store incident) and covert (Alix and Kelley) by supposedly liberal people.
WELL 045
This was one of our most favourite books. We had a great discussion.
Easily relatable characters and convincing and interesting plot with twists and entwinement with the overall agenda of racism through the storytelling. Well executed by the author. Most of our group read the book and all that did gave it a solid 4 stars.
CHCH 502
Most people liked the book, and it brought up some interesting conversation about race.