Such a Fun Age

Narrated by: Nicole Lewis
Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (3,066 ratings)

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In Conversation

Debut novelist Kiley Reid takes a fresh new look at racial and class tensions as she goes beyond the now-ubiquitous filmed scene of a Black person faced with a fraught confrontation. Listen in as she discusses all that went into her approach, including labor laws and hair stories.

Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times best seller

A Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick

"The most provocative page-turner of the year." (Entertainment Weekly)

"A great way to kick off 2020." (Washington Post)

"I urge you to read Such a Fun Age." (NPR)

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At 25, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family", and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.

©2019 Kiley Reid (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Reid constructs a plot so beautifully intricate and real and fascinating that readers will forget it’s also full of tough questions about race, class and identity.... With this entertaining novel, Reid subverts our notions of what it means to write about race and class in America, not to mention what it means to write about love. In short, it’s a great way to kick off 2020." (Washington Post)

"A complex, layered page-turner... This is a book that will read, I suspect, quite differently to various audiences - funny to some, deeply uncomfortable and shamefully recognizable to others - but whatever the experience, I urge you to read Such a Fun Age. Let its empathetic approach to even the ickiest characters stir you, allow yourself to share Emira’s millennial anxieties about adulting, take joy in the innocence of Briar’s still-unmarred personhood, and rejoice that Kiley Reid is only just getting started." (NPR)

"Kiley Reid has written the most provocative page-turner of the year.... [Such a Fun Age] nestl[es] a nuanced take on racial biases and class divides into a page-turning saga of betrayals, twists, and perfectly awkward relationships.... The novel feels bound for book-club glory, due to its sheer readability. The dialogue crackles with naturalistic flair. The plotting is breezy and surprising. Plus, while Reid’s feel for both the funny and the political is undeniable, she imbues her flawed heroes with real heart." (Entertainment Weekly)

Editor's Pick

Kiley Reid came to play
"It's been a long time since a novel stole my heart, but I've been obsessed with Such a Fun Age from the instant I clicked "play." Kiley Reid's voice is so fresh and fast-paced that listening to her debut feels just like watching the season's edgiest new dramedy. The story centers on a young black babysitter in Philly, her well-intentioned white employer, and whether a work relationship can ever really turn into family. I relished the moments I saw myself in the story, thinking, "yes, that's exactly what it's like to throw a three-year-old's birthday party for people you don't even like!", while at other moments I felt like a voyeur lapping up delicious soap opera-esque gossip. Reid's insights are so sharp and spot-on, serving up a fresh take on race and class. Finally, I couldn't talk about this book without taking a moment to sing the praises of newcomer Nicole Lewis, who is anointed by the narrator gods. Lewis keeps up with Reid's vocal acrobatics, exhilarating audiences with her code switching and other vocal stunts: everything from kids doing shots in the club, to moms drinking wine on play dates, to three-year-olds bickering at ballet class. Such a Fun Age is a true delight from beginning to end." — Rachel S., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

No

Not one single person in this book is likable. No one. I finished, but it I kept waiting for so much more.

16 people found this helpful

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Wow

I’ll admit it. I’m a mood reader. I’m also easily influenced and find myself often tracking down a book I’ve seen heavily discussed on social media. I always want to see if the hype is really all it’s cracked up to be. I had seen this book being discussed on social media but decided I definitely had to get it when it was chosen for Reese’s January book of the month pick. I usually listen to audiobooks slowly, while I get ready for work, on my commute, while working out, cooking dinner etc.
It often takes me a week or so to finish a 10-12 hour audio book. I started this book January 2nd around 1 o’clock and finished on January 3rd around 10 pm.
I could NOT stop listening.
The narrator is probably the best I’ve listened to since becoming an audible member over a year ago. I loved her voices for the characters, her inflection made the story even better.
The writing was so light and airy and flowed so well.
I honestly kept guessing throughout the story about what would happen. Not only is this an entertaining read but it addresses so many social issues without being preachy or cramming one’s beliefs down the reader’s throat.
I’m honestly sad I’m finished with it. Book hangover for sure. If this is the author’s debut novel I can’t wait to get my hands on her next. WOW!

43 people found this helpful

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promising start but nothing else

the most interesting part of this book is outlined in the synopsis. after that.. nothing. the characters are boring and their interactions are superficial. Emira spent the book drifting aimlessly. Alix's business backstory was badass but in the present she'd transformed into a useless puddle of indecision. every time kelley spoke, my eyes rolled into my brain. the high drama of the interaction that kicks the book off peters out into nothing as you spend the next 8 hours listening to conversations and interactions that are pointless, pretentious, or cringeworthy and ultimately lead nowhere. Briar's toddler outbursts were the only bits of dialogue that were enjoyable. the narrator, however, was great - she gave the main characters very distinctive voices.

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Teen Scream?

Was there a plot or just aimless anecdotes? Desperately seeking a plot, a refund, maybe a clue. Clearly a ramble into the young adult or early childhood section.

10 people found this helpful

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Empty

The storyline was lacking anything worthwhile to listen. There is no redeeming purpose of the whole book.

8 people found this helpful

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Entertaining and Accurate

As a young African-American woman I can definitely attest that this book accurately depicts the delicate and very complex relationships between black women and their white women employers. So many familiar moments and Déjà vu in this story. Also, touched on .. interracial relationships and those uncomfortable nuisances that can serve as reminders that sometimes there’s a thin line between “wokeness” and ignorance.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant!!

Kiley Reid captures the good, the bad and the very essence of what we humans do ... it’s all so complex, yet so simple.

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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This is embarrassing!

Getting through this audiobook was difficult when you are cringing every two sentences. I am appalled by the portrayal of both African-American and the Caucasian characters in this book. It came across as caricatures and I am sad everyone is jumping on the bandwagon that the book was 'amazing' when the dialogue of half these characters was so damn bad. This is pissing me off for anyone not of color picking up this audiobook and believing that this encompasses the black experience (how black people speak, especially when their backstories are those of college educated women (e.g. one character getting her second masters); so one-dimensional and embarrassing.

4 people found this helpful

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Worth the Pre-Order

I pre-ordered the kindle and audible version of this book and I’m glad I did. It’s a well- weaved story that I want my book club and friends to all read, as I could barely get through five pages at a time without identifying another source of conversation. This is a story filled with ideas and commentary which deserve discussion, really actually necessitate discussion. I found the protagonist really dull through most of the book, but having reached the end, I think I see the utility of that.

The narrator for the Audible version has a beautiful voice but she (and the producer) could have done a lot more to differentiate the voices of the black characters. They ALL-despite being from geographically and socially diverse backgrounds—
spoke like a Hollywood casting director said “be more Black”, which was confusing, then annoying, then offensive.

Worthy read, though.

9 people found this helpful

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Pointless

I’m 4 hrs into and still don’t see a point to the story. It so far has not been as provocative as the synopsis promised. There is too much mindless dialogue and the only positive thing about the book is the narrator. I don’t think I can finish listening to the book. I might keep it on the back burner for when I’m out of credits.

3 people found this helpful