Book Review: Such a Fun Age
I had zero idea what Such a Fun Age, a novel by Kiley Reid, was about when I got a copy. I had seen it popping up over and over on my Goodreads feed and figured from the context of how often I’d seen it and who had read it that it was worth picking up.
My overall thoughts of this book are that it is a solid great rating. I like this book because it feels like I can both read it at the beach AND think about it’s racial and social statements for weeks after the fact. That is NOT EASY to do, I don’t think.
The characters here were deep enough that I was curious about them, empathized with them, rooted for them… but not so deep that I would call it high quality literary gold. This book is approachable. It’s not the tenured college professor, it’s the adjunct at the closest community college. But it’s the adjunct that inspires students to finish their associates and transfer to get their bachelors, ya know?
As a middle class white woman, I found Alix and Kelley to be portraits of people I laugh at with a little grimace in the back of my teeth. Where have I been the Alix? Where have I been the Kelley? Two white people who entirely objectify Black people, but rationalize themselves out of ever owning it. Explaining away why their “subtle” racism is not, in fact, racism.
I am someone who reads a lot of non-fiction about racism, and can climb my High And Mighty High Horse of Race And Identiy Knowledge very quickly and easily. I spend entirely too much time working to be The Good White Person. One way I cradle that feeling is by continuously having anti-racist manuals by my bedside and in my GoodReads lists. This book, honestly, was such a blatant novel about race that for a good two days I felt a bit dumbfounded as to be so … dumb… to forget that novels teach every bit, and in fact often more, than non-fiction. That learning through one fictional character can be more visceral and do more the make a behavior change than reading statistics about hundreds of thousands of real people.
Alix and Kelley will probably stay with me for quite a while, as warnings and models of precisely what I never want to be (but constantly am comparing myself to with concern).
In all: very quick read, helpful social analysis for white people, not a ton of depth, super enjoyable book