Such a Fun Age is a novel with a blurb that excited me, it’s a novel about a young black woman who is accused of kidnapping a white child whilst babysitting. Mira, at first glance seemed like a woman that I could relate to, with a similar age and a love for children in common (add in what I perceive to be a sarcastic book title), I was sold. However, at the end of the novel, I found myself quite dissatisfied, as this was one of the few novels that I‘ve read that did not inspire me.
The opening chapters of the novel were stirring, starting with a birthday party and then the racist confrontation. The novel seems to change it’s tone as the perspective of the novel was no longer Mira’s interactions with race but the obsession and fetishization of white people towards her. The novel touches on key issues of shallow white ‘wokeness’ that leads to problematic and controlling behaviour (e.g. manipulation, invasion of privacy). However, the writer allows these characters to ‘get away’ with their behaviour and leaves no satisfactory ending for neither Mira or any other character. I felt that there was more space and scope for the writer to involve characters in discussions of race or to have a greater introspective of racial experiences from the non-white characters of the novel. Because of the lack of depth into character’s psyche, the novel resulted in multiple superficial and one-dimensional characters with zero emotional intelligence.
In regards to the protagonist of the novel, Mira, there was opportunity for further growth and self-development throughout the novel. She had very little say in the direction of her life, as the writer allowed her to remain passive throughout. Most of Mira’s growth and self realisation could have been achieved through her own actions instead of through the manipulation of others.
Overall, I felt that this novel was deeply disappointing. It had the potential to really divulge into important topics and issues and open up a space for much needed conversations. However, the novel was riddled with stereotypes, with no originality in how the story was told. Therefore, I give this novel a 2 out of 5 stars.
Thank you for reading.