Emira is 25 years old and still figuring out what she wants to do with her life. In the meantime, she’s got a regular gig babysitting Briar, the cutest girl on the planet. One evening, as she’s ready to hit up the bars with her friends, she gets a call from her boss, Alix, a 33 year old who’s made a surprisingly lucrative living writing letters for free stuff and getting it. Alix begs Emira to pick up Briar so she can handle an emergency at home. Emira occupies the 3-year-old at the high end grocery store across the street until one of the other shoppers gets concerned by what a Black 20-something in a tight dress could be doing with a white toddler. The security guard is called over, accusations fly, and things get…tense. Alix’s husband eventually runs to the store and quells the situation, but the event causes a shift. Alix tries desperately to assuage her white guilt, downplay her wealth, and befriend her babysitter. Emira works to simply move onto the next phase of her life and possibly accept romance from an unexpected suitor. That romance may provide its own set of complications as that “totally separate” part of Emira’s life may not be so separate after all.
It’s not lost on me that I’m posting this review on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day set aside to honor one of the most influential people in the fight against racial discrimination. This book reminds us that unconscious bias is still ever-present. Racial, age, power, and socioeconomic dynamics are all at play here. The tone is light and fun, but the topics are real. It’s very difficult to maintain that balance and the success in which author Kiley Reid does so is what makes for such a wonderful read.
5 out of 5 stars.
Pair with: Lemon drop shot