Author: Candice Carty-Williams
Genre: Literary Fiction
My Rating: 5
“Is this what growing into an adult woman is—having to predict and accordingly arrange for the avoidance of sexual harassment?”
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Queenie Jenkins can’t cut a break. Well, apart from one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That’s definitely just a break though. 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.
welcome to my review of Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams. This novel has been marketed as the ‘black Bridget Jones’, and even though I can see why they would, I cannot say I fully agree.
This novel is no easy read. Yes, it makes you laugh. Yes, it can be quirky. But it is also raw, brutally honest, and very adamant about the effect that untreated depression can have on someone. And then, there is the whole matter of the fetishization of the black body, how black women are objectified because of their ‘big black ass’, and how they are reduced to just being the carriers of a bum and ‘beautiful hair.’
At the start of the novel, Queenie is struggling. Her boyfriend ghosts her, and she falls into a spiral of unhealthy sexual encounters, which will escalate until she can no longer ignore the fact that there is something wrong. She is not happy. She has lost her confidence. Queenie now has to re-learn how to love herself, and how to let others love her. This is an emotional story, one that explores fundamental matters and how racism can only worsen and belittle someone’s experience. Set in modern-day Britain, this book does not shy away from criticizing society and its built in racist views.
I am white. I was born and raised in Italy, in a small town that is not diverse at all. Only when I moved to the US, first to Florida and then to Chicago, did I start to understand the layered implications of systemic racism. And there is still so much to learn. Which is why I think novels like Queenie are so important to read. This is a novel that I will certainly re-read, and will recommend to family and friends.
Let me know if you’ve read it, and what you thought about it.
Until next time,