Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
This Sunday just gone, I had a great Zoom chat (what else?) with some of my book-loving friends about a recent favourite read of ours published earlier this year, so it seemed like a great time to recommend it – so this week, my Book of the Week selection is Kiely Reid’s wonderful debut novel, Such a Fun Age.
The book follows two women whose lives are intertwined. Emira is a young African-American woman who feels somewhat aimless, and a touch embarrassed that she’s working as a nanny at the age of twenty-six. She looks after the toddler daughter of Alix, privileged, white, self-made – and self-reinvented – entrepreneur, who’s just getting back into work after having another baby recently.
The story begins with an incident in an upscale supermarket one evening, in which Emira is accused of kidnapping Briar, the little girl she nannies for, when in fact Alix had just called her to come and look after her daughter last-minute.
But while the racially-charged encounter could seem to be setting up an all-too familiar story of injustice, Reid’s novel moves on and follows the lives of Emira and Alix in the aftermath, instead subtly and compellingly tackling issues of not just race, but class, female friendship, motherhood, womanhood, and how the importance of personal and external perceptions of us can shape our lives and decisions. There are also hugely entertaining set pieces, especially as Emira begins to date painfully woke white man Kelley, and at the excruciating, funny and very telling Thanksgiving dinner at wealthy Alix’s home, to which she awkwardly invites Emira and her date.
Such a Fun Age explores many modern day issues through beautifully honed characters, in a story crafted with enviable skill -- including the wonderfully-drawn toddler, Briar. And it’s also just such a fun read! That’s why Such a Fun Age by Kiely Reid is my Book of the Week this week.