Queenie

Author Candice Carty-Williams

Meet Queenie, she’s breaking up with her boyfriend, trying to work out if what’s happening at work is fair or not or something in between. She has family who are eccentric and maybe crazy but fiercly protective and righteous. She’s not speaking to her mother, but she does care for her, just not enough to speak right now. Queenie is struggling.

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.  – Goodreads

This is a story of failings and falling in and out of love with yourself. Queenie was frustrating, honest and opinionated. She was flawed from the beginning and this story gives you a snapshot into her spiral and ascent in dealing with life. This book has been compared to Bridget Jones’ Diary but the only similarity I found was that its about young women who aren’t atypical. Queenie deals with depression, abuse and personal choices that will divide her audience; there’s a large amount of unprotected sex that I found difficult to swallow. I was genuinely biting my lip with worry about some of these encounters and how intense and abusive they became, yet how nonchalant and normal even they seemed to Queenie.

I actually really enjoyed reading this book, the anxiety Queenie endured and struggled with was a trigger for me in parts but the humour and laughs were also plenty and I think balance out some of the darker moments. I know a lot of people who laugh in really difficult situations (I definitely am known to be a hysteric laugher) and awkward as it might sound, it made sense to me that Queenie would make sarcastic or inane comments about some really serious issues as a coping mechanism. This isn’t a book with all the answers but it is a good, deep look at one way in which anxiety and depression can manifest.

I don’t know anyone who shares Queenie’s background – a modern day Jamaican-Brit – so I found the relationships and affectations of her family warm and funny to read. Her girlfriends were also hilarious and I wanted them for my squad; my biggest pain point was the lack of affection on her part for them (which yes, can be justified via the things she’s going through, but still), I wanted her to be as good a friend as they were. Tom, the aforementioned ex-boyfriend was an asshole I thought and each time she stood up to him or or his atrocious family made me cheer for her. All of Queenie’s relationships were complex, I just wish she’d shown a bit more growth with her friends. The cringeworthy racist exchanges with Tom’s family were really well written, and added real depth to Queenie’s present situation.

Read it for the heartbreak and the warmth in a story with a lot of layers.

Four stars*

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