I was initially incredibly hard on this book. It’s up for literary awards and is touted a contemporary work on racism. As I read on, I contemplated putting it down many times; it just wasn’t a book for me. However, I kept reading, and around half way through I realized I needed to take the book less seriously – this is entertainment. Once I put away my expectations for the book, I was able to enjoy it as a fun page-turner.
The story surrounds Alix, a wealthy, white, influencer, and mother of two and Emira, her young, Black, babysitter. One night, Alix calls Emira in a panic: she needs an emergency babysitter. While Emira is out passing the time with her young, white, charge she is subject to racial profiling and becomes the star of the next would be viral video. At Emira’s request, the white man who records the incident promises he won’t share the video publicly.
What follows is a fast-paced story that touches on racism, specifically white savior complex and performative action, as well as the victimization and commodification of Black people. In this story, Emira serves a specific role in the narrative of Alix’s carefully curated life. I initially thought I was supposed like Alix, but once I realized she’s kind of the villain of the story I was able to enjoy it much more. The last quarter of this book was completely entertaining and almost reads like a thriller. Overall, a fun and timely book that address critical issues with a lightness many readers will enjoy. I’m more the heavy type myself, but I understand this book’s appeal.