It is easy to write a story coming from one’s own experience. It takes a truly skilled writer to accurately record the experiences of a character outside one’s own identity. Written as a dual perspective story, Kiley Reid’s novel Such a Fun Age follows 25-year-old Black college graduate Emira Tucker, and Alix Chamberlain, a White, wealthy public speaker and blogger.
A supposed ally, Alix hires Emira to babysit her children, conjuring images reminiscent of the working relationships in novels like The Help. The two get along amicably at first, as Emira quickly befriends Alix’s daughter, and Alix herself is presented as a supportive figure. However, unlike The Help, which many argue promotes a White savior narrative, Reid’s novel questions the trope itself.
Things get complicated between the two characters when Emira is falsely accused of kidnapping a child while babysitting. At first, offering her support as a friend, Alix’s good intentions quickly turn to malice when Emira, unknowingly, starts dating one of her exes. Reid’s novel speaks to the instability that can come into play in interracial friendships and relationships for a Black woman, at times finding Alix as a lifeline and other times as a foe.
Readers will find themselves hooked as they delve deep into the consciousness and motivations of both characters. Overall, Reid expertly delivers a thriller narrative that strips the White savior narrative to its racist core. You can find Such a Fun Age and other stories on Blackbookstore.com.