Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I’m always eager to read debut fiction that is getting lots of hype. I heard a podcast interview with the author which left me even more intrigued. On the plus side, Such a Fun Age left me wanting to discuss it with somebody. It is provocative in that it raises a lot of issues around race and class. On the negative side, I thought several of the characters were stereotypes which left a sour taste in my mouth. In a book positioned to examine race (the first scene portrays an emotionally-charged public display of blatant racism), I think it is a shame to come up short on this front. In addition, I found several of the plot premises unrealistic.

My favorite character was two year-old Briar who was artfully rendered and full of personality. The protagonist, Emira, was well developed and her relationship with Briar was endearing to read. Full of slang and brand-names, it is a novel that tries to balance being hip with being serious. Again, I would recommend it to a friend only if she’d agree to sit down with me afterward and indulge in a long conversation.

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