Code-switching. Race. Class. Friendship. Hair.
These are some of the provocative themes of Kiley Reid’s debut novel, Such a Fun Age—as well as some of the themes talked about during The Philadelphia Citizen’s first-ever virtual book club held on Tuesday night, with Reid and Jeannine Cook, the owner of Fishtown’s Harriett’s Bookshop.
About 200 guests from Tokyo to Tampa—and every corner of Philly—came together virtually for the reading and lively Q&A with Reid, who also lives and set her book in Philly.
With on-point dialogue and a fast-paced plot, the book, which is set in 2015, exposes the nuanced relationships between a 20-something babysitter and her employers, boyfriend and friends. It asks readers to remove our nostalgia lenses to question: Were our 20s really such a fun age? And was 2015 as innocent as we claim it was?
Cook and Reid also talked about the writing process—Cook herself is a writer and Drexel MFA candidate—connecting with readers and being authentic, both on the page, and in real life.
A fun fact they also chatted about: The book has been acquired by Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Sight Unseen Pictures to be made into a film.
The event was sponsored by Revivalist Spirits, the Chester County-based creators of artisanal, botanical-forward gin, whiskey, and bourbon. During Covid-19, the company also started producing hand sanitizer for communities in need around the country.
And while Cook’s Fishtown store—which is named for Harriett Tubman and celebrates women authors, activists and artists—remains closed during the shut down, Cook is still filling book orders, and has also rallied during Covid-19 to allow people to purchase books for nurses and doctors, which are then delivered to the hospitals where they work.
If you missed the conversation, check it out here.