Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine discussion

January 2020 > Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

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message 1: by Hello (new)

Hello Sunshine | 58 comments Mod
The first Reese's Book Club pick for the new decade is... Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

📚Set in Philadelphia, the story centers around Emira Tucker, a black babysitter, and Alix Chamberlain, a white woman who employs Emira to watch her children. The story takes a turn when an incident at a local grocery store completely changes the course of both of their lives.

Reese on the book:

You'll follow a young women's journey of self-discovery after she's wrongfully accused of kidnapping a child. This story is a beautiful conversation starter about race, privilege, work dynamics... I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan Mabry | 60 comments I love this book!!! It’s deep and fluffy and makes you ponder on your own principles of race, friendships, and babysitting care. Proposing this gem to my bookclub in February!😊💪💪💪❤️❤️❤️🤩5 stars!

message 3: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (rockermom16) | 8 comments i am a nanny. my boss is very spoiled and I am not quite sure why she became a mom. sometimes she is super nice to me orger times I am no better than her son's dirty diapers. I cannot figure her deal out. when I was 23 I was a nanny in Philly. that is wheremy 23 ywar old daughter lives now. so many interesting twists into my own life. i love BRIAR!!!

message 4: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 2 comments Dawn, briar was my favorite part of the book. Such a strong unique little person.

message 5: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa Lunday | 3 comments I’m a Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Major at the University of Washington and one of the things I have been learning is how to recognize my privilege as a young white woman. One thing with reading this book is that instead of recognizing her privilege, Alix wants to be on Emira’s level and that’s not how these types of relationships work. I love how the author uses the “...but I have a black friend” when it comes to Alix’a thought process. She doesn’t recognize that her friend and her employee are two different people, have different life experiences, and just because you have a black friend does not make you have less privilege or less bias. And Alix has not realized that.

message 6: by Kit (new)

Kit (areadersramblings) | 7 comments I read this book yesterday and I found it both interesting and highly uncomfortable. Which I think was the goal as it dealt with some really tricky topics and relationships. We all see the videos online of people existing in spaces that someone might not think they belong. We watch it and feel something, hurt, rage... but we don't often think about the person on the camera. Who are they beyond that 15 seconds we saw, how does that 15 seconds impact their life?

Getting to spend time with Emira and see her find her place within these different groups- at home and with Kelley, at Work with Briar and the Chamberlains, or out with friends was great. It took something familiar to most of us (the video seen online) and took us behind the scenes and into who Emira really was. Giving us background on Alix and Kelley really highlighted how nothing is ever really as simple as we would hope.

message 7: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa Lunday | 3 comments OMG, I just got ended chapter 21 and I can’t believe what I read. She literally blamed Kelley for leaving her own child at home and then read Emira’s email! Oh and let’s not mention that she tried to break Kelley and Emira up. This white lady has some real insecurities.

message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather (hforrester10) | 2 comments Clarissa wrote: "OMG, I just got ended chapter 21 and I can’t believe what I read. She literally blamed Kelley for leaving her own child at home and then read Emira’s email! Oh and let’s not mention that she tried ..."

I know...that chapter pissed me off. It made me dislike her even more. She is such a privilaged brat that she doesnt even realize it! (or maybe she does)

message 9: by Heather (new)

Heather (hforrester10) | 2 comments At first I felt bad for Alix but i slowly disliked her more and more. Expecially with the finally story about her and Kelly. I was like, "you freaking bitch, you kept that lie up this entire time and then still accused him of it 10 years later."

message 10: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1 comments I just finished the book today and I enjoyed it very much. I was surprised to find out that “Alix” knew Kelly wasn’t responsible all along. My question is, was it a coincidence that he was in the supermarket? I kept waiting for that to be deliberate. Loved Emira and Briar. So sweet.

message 11: by Kat (new)

Kat (readingwithkat) | 1 comments I felt sorry for Alix a bit, but as soon as she started tearing down the other mothers in Philadelphia, she started to show her mean girl side. I liked that both her and Kelley weren't painted as evil, but just as people who were trying to do things they perceived as good because of their own experiences and prejudices.

message 12: by Jenna (new)

Jenna McCown | 3 comments I agree with Katherine. I like that Kelly and Alix were human with a lot of different depths. They both saw the other as wrong when they were both wrong to some degree. It really causes you to look at yourself and wonder when you are also wrong. Alix and Emira felt so real. I felt bad for Alix sometimes even though I was so mad at her for not realizing how cruel it is to share a video like that without consent and how creepy to read someone else’s emails. The author did such a good job at making her human that even after that you could still feel kinda bad for her. I never felt bad for Kelly until it revealed he really never got that letter.

message 13: by Jordan (new)

Jordan Culler | 3 comments Carol wrote: "I just finished the book today and I enjoyed it very much. I was surprised to find out that “Alix” knew Kelly wasn’t responsible all along. My question is, was it a coincidence that he was in the s..."

Me too! The whole time I thought he knew that Alix was Emira's boss and he was trying to get back at her with the video.

message 14: by Ashley (last edited Mar 05, 2020 07:11AM) (new)

Ashley | 1 comments I finished this last night and I can't decide whether I enjoyed this or not! Alix's obsession with Emira was downright creepy from start to finish. There were times when I felt bad for Alix -- particularly high school Alix -- but then that whole storyline fell apart at the end when we found out that Alix knew Kelley wasn't at fault all along. Kiley Reid nailed the whole fake social-media influencer mindset, but I really didn't like how the story ended.

And Kelley: I couldn't understand why Alix was obsessed with him and Emira agreed to date him. He was vapid to the core. At least Emira saw him for what he was in the end: a creepy "white knight" who treated his black friends and girlfriends differently than others, despite whatever his intentions were. It made me cringe (the entire point, I suppose). I despised Kelley for filming the grocery-store encounter to begin with. It felt invasive and inappropriate, particularly after Emira asked him to stop. I was relieved when Emira dumped him. Thank goodness Reid didn't reunite Emira/Kelley when Emira learned the truth about who leaked the video.

The high point of this book was Reid's depiction of how racism infiltrates into everyday experiences. Reid did a masterful job poking at Alix and Kelley's performative wokeness, from Kelley's initial filming of the encounter, to calling out Alix's racism, to his strange relationships with Emira and her friends. She also did an excellent job exploring the fraught relationship between a white mother and a black caregiver. Alix was full of contradictions as a mother, friend and person in general. Is she really empowering women, or keeping "lesser" people in their place? She was so entrenched in privilege that she couldn't see past her own experiences. I definitely have gotten that vibe from other social media influencers, so that part was well done.

That said, I wish we had gotten to understand Alix's background a bit better. At one point, Reid tossed in a line about Alix's parents being deceased, after living in a nursing home (possibly destitute, after being nouveau rich?) for a while. At 33, Alix would be awfully young to have parents going through that. What happened there?

Reid gets 5 stars for her ability to approach the complex topic of modern racism. But the storyline was full of holes, and the characters were pretty unbearable. Even our hero Emira was annoyingly passive. I wanted to shake her and tell her to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to move her life forward. The dialogue was ROUGH across the board, especially between Emira and her friends. Their conversations didn't sound all that believable to me, especially for college-educated 25-year-olds.

There's a lot of good stuff in this book but I wish the storyline had held together better. I kept waiting for something more -- anything that showed growth or change or self-awareness.

message 15: by Kara (new)

Kara | 1 comments Hi! If there is anyone in Boston who wants to meet up to discuss this, mark April 7th on your calendars and msg me!

message 16: by Bada (new)

Bada | 34 comments Ok!!

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