Queenie: A Novel

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Kyazike herself is one of the most alive characters I have come across in any novel; she must be read to be believed. Amid this centralising of female experience and friendship there is a sustained awareness of surrounding social and political issues, such as race hatred and gentrification. What happened to that old Caribbean bakery there used to be in Brixton?

And how is it that Queenie feels so conspicuously out of place at her local pool, the Brockwell Lido, where she overhears two middle-class white women complaining about the tenants in their second homes? The Black Lives Matter movement crops up several times, and we are called on to mourn the black men dying in droves at the hands of US police brutality. Queenie Jenkins can't cut a break. Well, apart from one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That's definitely just a break though.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: Book Review

Definitely not a break up. Stuck between a boss who doesn't seem to see her, a family who don't seem to listen if it's not Jesus or water rates, they're not interested , and trying to fit in two worlds that don't really understand her, it's no wonder she's struggling. She was named to be queen of everything.

So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?

A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on modern life, QUEENIE will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity, and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way. Funny, wise, and of the moment, this book and this writer are the ones to watch. Candice gives so generously with her joy, pain and humour, that we cannot help but become fully immersed in the life of Queenie- a beautiful and compelling book. Queenie has all the things you want in a debut novel - a startlingly fresh voice, characters you fall in love with from the very first page, and a joyous turn of phrase that makes this book almost impossible to put down.

In turns hilariously funny and quietly devastating, Queenie is an important, timely story. I was engrossed and loved Queenie - her humour, her pain, her politics, her friends, her family! While the author places the blame on her mental state, it felt like a lackluster excuse.

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One of the most startling situations come in the form of a game of clue. She looks to her then boyfriend, Tom to defend her—which resulted in an argument between the pair. Their relationship was a mess. She not only faced the prospect of contracting some sexually transmitted disease but also the ridicule of white doctors who felt her behavior expectant of a young black woman. It was disgusting; not unrealistic, but disgusting. They talked down on her, worked their way through her and discarded her like trash. The author blamed this on her upbringing and her anxiety-riddled mind.

Queenie is also a budding journalist. Throughout the book you see Queenie fighting to get through her day; struggling with the devastation of a broken heart—and her anxiety; as explained in the latter half of the book. She fights to write about black people at the paper—only to face dismissal by her editor, who is white.

That whole part of the book was hardly convincing and felt as if it were added on at the last minute. Queenie seemed faux angry about black issues and I could have done without that entire idea altogether. She seemed angry and riled up out of obligation. She has two white best friends, and one Ugandan dark-skinned best friend, that says things like bruh, and fam repeatedly. I want to wrap this thing up. I thought by the time we got to the healing portion of the book that all of what I had to endure would have been worth it.

As someone who has struggled with anxiety, not clinically diagnosed, but self-diagnosed—I can totally understand not recognizing the anxiety for what it is. I can also understand how someone might deal with their anxiety; in whatever way, they feel comfortable.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams review – a smart and breezy debut | Books | The Guardian

Queenie dealt with everything by having a lot of sex. Queenie has an almost physical reaction to the idea.

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She mentions something about being afraid or uncomfortable with black men and then it was my turn to recoil. The author does not allow the character to explain this, and she definitely needed to. I really wish I thought to highlight that portion.


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Even after everything she still chose another white man; with whom she wound up arguing about black lives matter with, on the way to sleep with him. It was a mess. Queenie digs into deep issues: discussing micro-aggressions in the workplace, the treatment and mistreatment of the black body by doctors; and the overall fear of mental work by psychologists and psychiatrists by the black family. This book was disappointing and unenjoyable, at least it was for me.


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I don't recommend it. But to each his own. View all comments. Catka I am currently wading through the book and agree wholeheartedly with every word of your review!

Nov 11, PM. Tracey I could not agree with this review more Queenie had me cringing most of the way through. Nov 23, AM. Apr 14, PorshaJo rated it really liked it Shelves: challengereads , challengereads , audio , favorites Rating 4. Such an unexpected gem of a read. I went into this one blind. I knew nothing about it, I read no reviews. I frequently check out my library for new audio books.

I saw this bold orange cover of a book called Queenie. It drew me in.

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I listened to a sample of the audio. A heavy accent by the narrator. I grabbed a copy of the audio and jumped right in. She's a 26 year old Jamaican woman, living in London, and just completely a mess. We meet her as she is taking a 'break' from her live-in boyfriend, which HE wants, not her. He asks her to move out and by this point, she's already on a downward spiral.

She can't face reality. She's out of control.

She puts herself in a few dangerous situations I think. She's got no money, living in a nasty flat with a few flatmates, she's not there for her job, she lets the WORST men abuse her, she has issues with how people see her as a black woman. She doesn't feel she's worth it, she really has had a hard life. It's an absolute train wreck but you can't help but watch.

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