Are you in the mood for a thought provoking read? Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is a character driven novel that is a culturally diverse book with a complex plot. It engages the reader into looking further within the story. Emira, who is a 25-year-old college graduate, is babysitting for a family when she is accused of kidnapping the white toddler in an upscale grocery store. A concerned bystander films the incident and e-mails it to her, encouraging her to speak out about the incident. Emira starts dating this man and comes to find out that he had a traumatic past relationship with her current employer. Tensions are high as these unresolved feelings mix and bubble to the surface.
While you are waiting for Such a Fun Age, try That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam. This is also a character driven novel about a new mother who is struggling with the challenges of motherhood and decides to hire a black nanny. This decision forces this mother to reconcile that her perspective on life is limited when it comes to things like race and privilege. Celeste Ng also explores motherhood in her novel Little Fires Everywhere. In this novel, Elena, a middle class woman who loves rules, is looking to adopt a Chinese-American baby. Her life quickly becomes chaos when her children become enthralled with an artist and her daughter, who have just moved into one of their rentals. Mia, her tenant, does not follow the rules and brings with her a mysterious past. Elena strives to discover the true Mia, but this threatens the balance of the small city they live in and the ordered life she leads. Celeste Ng shows the complexity of her characters and jumps from past to present to slowly reveal her characters, leaving you wanting more in this story of suburban malaise.
If you are looking for a witty read, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams is the book for you. In this sardonic novel, Queenie, a Jamaican-British working professional, is trying to navigate her work life being compared constantly to that of her white middle class co-workers. Going through a bad break up, Queenie looks for reassurance and self-worth in all the wrong places and has to ask herself tough questions such as, Who do you want to be? and Why am I doing this? This novel challenges the “depiction of life as a black woman in the modern world” (Booklist) and sheds light on mental health issues.
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is another great read about what it is like to be black in the modern world, this time in America. Friday Black is a collection of short stories in which characters enter an augmented reality theme park where they attempt to kill intruders of minority races as well as terrorists. Kwame, like Carty-Williams, writes these stories in a sardonic tone that is so compelling it will make this book hard to put down.
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