Leah Reads: Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age centers its story on a late evening in Philadelphia, when a young Black woman’s boss calls her in a last-minute emergency to babysit her young daughter. Emira, the babysitter, is asked to take the toddler to the neighborhood’s upscale grocery market, where she is accused of kidnapping the white child. The story spirals from there: Emira’s acceptance of, then resistance against, the societal expectations that had immediately deemed her guilty, her boss’s over-the-top obsession with proving herself a nonracist, all set against the backdrop of Instagram culture and coming-of-age adulthood. This novel is different than anything I’ve read–that’s a good thing–in that it’s very rare one reads a book where she’s not quite sure how to feel about the villain character: Do I like her? the reader thinks. Is it okay if I like her? Such a Fun Age is Kiley Reid’s debut novel, and she writes her characters with such a gentle pen that it’s not until I was halfway through the book that I figured…

Leah Cooks (or Drinks, in this Case): Mojitos

Last week David and I were sitting on the deck after dinner on a beautiful evening, chatting. Our kids were playing down the hill in the yard of the neighbors who live behind us, and when I saw one of them sitting on her back patio, I zipped her a text: “Hey! If you want company, come on up! I’ve got wine.” A while later, my neighbor walked up the incline to our house, a cold drink already in her hand–I hadn’t realized that she’d texted me back, saying that her husband was mixing up mojitos if we wanted to come down instead (considering that all six of our children were in her backyard, that would’ve made much more sense? But you all know I’m not gifted with linear thinking). I also didn’t know that I’d totally interrupted their wedding anniversary. (My neighbor is a very tolerant person. I need to be more like my neighbor.) But this post isn’t about my good neighbor and her mojito-mixing husband. This post, my friends, is about the mojito that good husband…

10 Sorta Happy Things in this Summer of 2020

You guys, my kids are climbing the walls. They’re threatening to dig a hole in the backyard and fill it with tap water from the hose and call it a pool. They’re saying it’s too hot to play outside when it’s only 78 degrees. They’re daydreaming about places to visit, with the caveat: “some day–but when?” They volunteer to go with me to my mom’s because it means they get to sit in front of Hot Bench and Judge Judy, and maybe just maybe we’ll go get ice cream afterward. You guys, they’ve stopped complaining about us taking them on hikes. That’s how bad it’s gotten. Morale is down in our little corner of PA. We’re slowly starting to venture into the world again, but it’s slow going, and there’s not much on the horizon except more of the same. On a very hot day last week one of the kids actually got upset with me because we’ve never made friends with anyone who has a backyard pool…