Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Alix Chamberlain is a driven woman who has crafted herself into a successful brand. Needing time to work on her book she hires Emira to babysit her toddler three days a week. She is outraged when Emira is questioned by a security guard while watching her daughter in a local market; it’s an emergency so the duo is out late at night and the guard is suspicious to see a young black woman with a white toddler at that hour. A bystander films everything, but thankfully doesn’t post it, and Emira is rightfully upset. Emira just wants to let it go but Alix is determined to do all she can to make things right for Emira.
Emira is twenty-five and will be off her parent’s health insurance soon. She works two part-time jobs, babysitting and as a typist, but she knows she needs to find something with benefits. She really enjoys babysitting because she loves that little girl. And while she knows she needs to make some changes she doesn’t need other people to fight for her, decide for her or do her any favors. She needs to figure things out.
The publisher describes the book as exploring the stickiness of transactional relationships — and that is the perfect way to describe it. Race, the definition of family, class, privilege, personal boundaries and values are all explored in this book. I didn’t think a Thanksgiving dinner could be so awkward but the one in this book is pretty amazing.