Alix is a successful, white blogger/social media minor celebrity whose brand is about self-confidence. Alix has two kids, a huge house and a loving husband. Her biggest problem is scaling her business in a way that stays true to herself.
Emira is a 25 year-old black woman who is about to be kick-off her parents’ health insurance, who is more of less broke working two jobs to keep afloat while she decides what she wants to do for the rest of her life. One of jobs is as a babysitter to Alix’s daughter Briar, whom she adores.
One night, while babysitting, Emira takes Briar grocery shopping and is stopped by a security guard who accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar. While the situation is handled fairly easily with Alix’s husband coming to the rescue, the occurrence starts a chain of events when Alix decides to “help” and “guide” Emira, as a “friend” and even, potentially, as a member of the “family”.
This novel is a great study of perspective and privilege – the chapters alternate between the two characters and it sheds light on how both interact with the world differently, how they respond to the events at the grocery shop and subsequent developments. There is a super great social commentary here as well as rich character development for both women but especially Emira whose genuine love for her work and for Briar is constantly looked down by other people (even her friends) as “not enough”. The novel which has a deceiving lightness to it, offers a scathing look at how well-meaning white people can and often do silence the ones at the receiving end of their sympathy specially in these times of the “woke” movement.
A recommended read – pair it with the equally excellent Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. I listened to the audiobook and it was fab.