Brandy Clark is plotting the next move for her book club, which will be discussing Kiley Reid’s intruiging novel Such a Fun Age, on Tuesday, July 6. The chat with Clark and the author will take place on Instagram Live on Clark’s Instagram account.
“Such a Fun Age landed on my radar because it was an OVERWHELMING choice by the book club for our next read,” the singer-songwriter tells CMT.com.
The storyline kicks in immediately as Emira, a Black babysitter in her mid-20s, is confronted by a security guard and a white woman on suspicion of kidnapping a white child she’s caring for, during a late-night trip to an upscale grocery store in Philadelphia. While Emira is ready to put the episode behind her, the perspectives of the other characters in the book — including the child’s parents, the man who films the incident, and Emira’s best friends — all have something to say about the aftermath of the incident.
By email, Clark answered a few questions for CMT.com about her favorite character in the book, what she’d like to ask Reid during the book club, and her hopes for any fans who might like to read along.
CMT: Why did the idea of a book club appeal to you?
I love a book club because a.) I love the shared experience of all diving into the same world for a book and b.) It forces me to read and fall in love with books and authors that I wouldn’t choose on my own.
The author is a Black woman. Do you feel that her perspective in “real life” shapes the way this story is told in fiction?
I 100% feel that the author being a Black woman shapes this story. I don’t think a white author would understand the way that Emira sees the world and her situation in the same way.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
I’m currently about 60% through this book and so this could change, but right now Emira is my favorite character. Mostly because she could take on the role of the victim and she hasn’t.
Where does the book take place, and how does that factor into the story?
The book takes place in Philadelphia with flashbacks to NYC and Allentown, Pennsylvania. I don’t at this point in the book feel like the location has a ton to do with the story. Now like I said, I’m not finished, so that could change.
You’ll be talking to the author for the book club. What are you curious to know about?
I’m so excited to sit down and discuss this book with Kiley Reid. I think I am most curious to know how much of her own experience as an African American is in this story because it feels VERY real to me. So real that I picture her as Emira and have to remind myself that this is fiction and not a memoir.
On a personal note, how long have you been interested in reading? Are you a book collector?
I have read my entire life, but I’ll be honest, for the most part I didn’t enjoy reading as a kid like I do as an adult. I think it was because I had to do so much textbook reading for school work.
When I started to make my way as a songwriter, someone said to me, “How can you be a writer and not be a reader?” From that day on, I have been an avid reader. I thank God for life as a songwriter for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that it turned me into a reader. My Grandma used to say that if you can read, you can go anywhere. That is so true. Books take me so many places in my mind and heart that my eyes have never seen.
I don’t really collect books. If I love a book, I like to pass it along to the next reader.
What do you hope a reader will take away from the experience of reading this book?
I really hope that the reader will take away some of the same things that I am taking away from this book. First and foremost, Kiley Reid is an amazing storyteller and had me from the first chapter.
This book is also so very relevant with all that is going on in our country right now and it’s giving me a deeper understanding of the fear a lot of African American people have in just going to the grocery store. I feel like this book doesn’t just take you into Emira’s experience though. All of the characters are written in a very empathetic way that makes for a lot of good questions for discussion and overall just a great story.