This Writer Gal

Kakul Ehsan Butt

Such A Fun Age

The subject of race is not a new thing and has been discovered and discussed many times. So, what makes this novel different? It offers up a refreshing outlook on race from the eyes of the millennials.

The story begins with a trip to the grocery store where Emira is confronted by a security guard who thinks she has kidnapped a toddler. The toddler in question is white and Emira is her black babysitter. Another shopper comes to her defence, videoing the incidence on his mobile phone so that Emira can release it online. When her employer learns of this, she tries to overcompensate Emira by paying her more and inviting her to Thanksgiving dinner. She soon becomes obsessed with learning about Emira. Alix (the employer) spies on her phone to learn what music she is listening to and struggles to understand why an educated young woman would be listening to profanity filled lyrics. Meanwhile, Emira forges a close bond with Alix’s toddler, Briar and enjoys babysitting her. Alix sees their special bond and wishes to be close to Emira.

Then there is the boyfriend, Kelley, who is white and feels Emira should have released the grocery store clip. The book also explores Kelley’s fetishism with dating black women. When her friends point this out to her, Emira dismisses it with carefree disregard.

The novel concludes on a perspective that people like Alix and Kelley seem to be more fixated on racial issues than Emira is. Aside from the grocery store incident, the novel offers perspectives that move away from intolerant racism to another kind. The kind that shows people like Alix and Kelley exist. We still have way to go before we become a society that Emira wishes for the grown-up Briar. I loved the last lines as thought by Emira upon seeing Briar and felt it concluded the story perfectly.

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