FICTION

Such a Fun Age

Putnam. Jan. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780525541905. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780525541929. F
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DEBUT Say you’re a white, professional woman in the midst of a late-evening crisis. Would you call your African American babysitter, catching her at a friend’s birthday party, and ask her to come tend to your toddler? Say you’re that African American babysitter. After taking your charge to the local market, wouldn’t you be annoyed, then humiliated, then downright scared and angry when a security guard accuses you of kidnapping? Say you’re that white woman, wanting to right this wrong, and giving the sitter a raise or an edible arrangement isn’t quite the right path. Would you go crusading with self-righteous, even self-serving zeal, not really checking in with what your babysitter wants or needs? If you were that babysitter, what would be your next move? Especially if you loved that toddler and thought you were good at your job? Aren’t you curious to find out how put-upon Emira deals with her clueless brand-marketer boss?
VERDICT In her debut novel, Reid illuminates difficult truths about race, society, and power with a fresh, light hand. We’re all familiar with the phrases white privilege and race relations, but rarely has a book vivified these terms in such a lucid, absorbing, graceful, forceful, but unforced way. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/19.]

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