26 Apr / Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid [in Booklist]
Regardless of skin color, net worth, socioeconomic background, you will cringe here – as well as laugh (possibly guffaw), roll your eyes, shake your head, perhaps even cry. Narrator Nicole Lewis has quite the diverse cast to perform – which she does with energetic aplomb and obvious enjoyment as she seamlessly code-switches to highlight differences in race, money, and class.
The bulk of her narration highlights Emira, a Temple University-degreed, 25-year-old, part-time babysitter who is Black, and her white employer, Alix, a media influencer who amasses luxury items for free. One weekend evening, after an act of vandalism at her posh Philadelphia home, Alix desperately requests Emira take precocious 3-year-old daughter Briar away from the chaos. Emira obligingly whisks Briar to a nearby market, but the late hour, Emira’s party-ready attire, her dark skin to Briar’s light, gets Emira questioned by the security guard – while the charged exchange gets filmed by a white witness.
That incident becomes the pivotal leitmotif throughout Reid’s electrifying, un-put-down-able debut, which is guaranteed to elicit raw, uncomfortable responses. All throughout, Lewis commands her chorus with verve, agility, and maybe even a bit of mischief.