Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age, one of my favorite new releases this year, pairs page-turning plot twists with well-developed characters and stellar writing. Alternating between two perspectives, a white mother of two in her thirties and a black babysitter in her twenties, Reid unspools her story of these two women fumbling through different chapters of their lives. (I don’t want to reveal more of the plot than that because experiencing it unfold was a huge point of interest while I was reading.)
Reminiscent in all the best ways of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere in its discussion of the politics of race and motherhood, Reid embraces the absurd humor of each of her characters’ situations without sacrificing the emotional realities of the story’s more somber moments.
Each type of experience Reid portrays: racism, babysitting long term for a family, the relationship between viral media and the news cycle, feels completely grounded in reality and specific to the character living it. In particular, the relationship the babysitter develops with her charges and the way Reid fleshes out the toddler character feels realistic without ever becoming overly precious.
After reading her debut novel, I’m eagerly awaiting Reid’s next release.