Pages: 320 pages
Published: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Orion Pulishing
Genre: Fiction & Literature, Contemporary
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.
Queenie is what some readers will call unlikable. Her actions will make you cringe. Her personality will make you roll your eyes. The characteristics that Queenie portrays will make you dislike her so much, that you won’t bother to listen to her story. But I am here to tell you that is necessary for you to read about Queenie’s life.
This isn’t a generic book where a young woman breaks up with her boyfriend and goes through obstacles and turmoil to find her true love. If there was any feeling that was the plot, I would have stopped reading. I actually loved that she didn’t end up with anybody towards the end. Queenie’s journey to happiness was more than just finding “the one”. It was more about being comfortable in her own skin. We need more books about women finding themselves instead of finding a man and this book represents that. This a book that focuses on self-discovery. Queenie’s inability to be trusting and open in her relationships stems from a dark, tragic past in her childhood. Her relationships break down because she refuses to face the issues that she has. So Queenie is led down a toxic path that you would think that there is no way to bounce back from.
I love how tWilliams approaches so many relevant themes all in one: racism, feminism and mental health. The true beauty of this novel is how it captures the realism and the pain that is associated with these issues. When Queenie hurt, I hurt. Her pain dripped from the pages and without the Williams’ writing style, that would not have happened. Williams approaches the important issues that need to be discussed today in society. There are not many books that approach these topics strongly and Williams really nailed it on the head.
The theme that I felt a close connection with was mental health. the way Williams tackled the many stereotypes that surround people with mental health and black people. I have personally faced the backlash when I talk about my mental health. The conversation that Queenie had with her grandparents, particularly with her grandfather, really hit home with me. It was the type of conversation I had with my family. the emotion and the realism that was reflected here is a rarity in contemporary books and needs to be portrayed more to add more variety and authenticity to the book world.
Beautifully written and gut-wrenchingly hopeful, Queenie is a book that captures the relevant environment of the current times. The events that occur are cringeworthy but the triumphant feeling towards the end will have you applauding for Queenie’s own version of a happy ending. This is a great read-alike for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Jojo Moyes was right…Candice Carty-Williams is the author to look out for.
I received an advanced copy from NetGalley for an honest review.
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars