Cover Image: Queenie

Queenie

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Member Reviews

I can confirm that the Bridget Jones comparison is kind of inaccurate; Queenie is a far different character, and her story heads in a completely different, and far darker, direction. This is Queenie's story of dealing with her unresolved trauma, as she spirals further and further into a whirlpool of self-destructive behavior mainly revolving around sleeping with white men who hurt and belittle her.

Queenie is a fantastic, realistically flawed character. She's not always sympathetic, and often will do or say things that had me cringing or just wanting to shake some sense into her, but her actions are always understandable, particularly when you see the sorts of microaggressions she encounters in her daily life as a black woman. In particular, her longterm ex-boyfriend Tom's family could be particularly unpleasant, and Tom would never defend her, would in fact berate her for taking things too seriously, a kind of gaslighting which surely took a heavy toll on Queenie's mental health.

Despite the darkness, this book is really funny, too; it shifts between tonality quite smoothly, and Queenie's humor is often dry and sometimes dark. I really enjoyed reading about her relationships with her girlfriends especially, who are all very different but very supportive of her. It was also kind of exhausting reading about Queenie's terrible encounters with men; honestly, the thesis of this book should just be "men are trash." I don't know how much the author is pulling from her actual experiences, but if any of these encounters that Queenie has with these men are based in reality...big yikes.

This is a book with a lot of heart; Queenie's Jamaican family features heavily, and Queenie overall feels like a very real person with a very real history and background. I very much enjoyed going on this tumultuous journey with her!
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I just love this book.!! so good to have black women writer and subject of a book. It was smart and funny. I was so sad when the book ened
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Looooooved it. It starts off reading like a Bridget Jones Book, but quickly switches over to a story much darker and more relatable. A must read for anyone who has been young
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Queenie is a bold, diverse, and believable character that I just love.  I have a few real life "Queenies" in my life.  She gives a little more bite to the basic chick lit type story, a bit more weight than the Bridget Jones to which she is compared.  I found myself laughing at so many points in the book.  This is a light, fun read!
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I wasn't as big a fan of this as I thought I would be. Though I understand what the author was driving at, there was still so much self-undermining and self-loathing in Queenie that it was over the top and hopeless. I do appreciate the female relationships in this book though, and I think many women around this age may identify with this story (myself not included).
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Such a great debut novel! It was fresh, bold, funny, complex, and everyone should read it! Bridget Jones's Diary for the modern world.
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I loved reading about Queenie's messy life. It's not often we get books that allow Black women to be flawed and vulnerable in ways that doesn't directly speak to the ways they're oppressed in society. It was a quick read, great to sit down with over a weekend. I hope you publish more books like this!
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Queenie follows in the tradition of Jane Austen and Bridget Jones Diary. Young singleton trying to find love. However, I think Austen would approve that one should not be forced into such things. One should treat oneself as a queen before they consider their subjects. This journey to empowerment runs through racist, sexist, and body-focused men and women. It takes a long while to overcome abuse, gaslighting, and finding your self-worth, especially when you need to fight to find your voice. 

Queenie and her boyfriend are on a break. She loses her place and must find a new one, meanwhile, her job is getting increasingly precarious in a world that's changing and gentrifying all around her. She has to settle for a terrible roommate and bad abusive relationships where men only seem to want to have sex with her body. They are so abusive the doctor thinks she has been raped. 

Since this book seems to be in the mold of Bridget Jones Diary, one would think that she would find her Mr. Darcy with her friends rooting for her, but it isn't that sort of book. She needs to find the solution on her own through introspection and therapy. Shen a series of incidents risk her friendships, her boyfriend, and her job she has to take time to find out what truly matters and rise to the queen level she is. It's not about others making you feel worthy, it is doing that for yourself. 

NOTES FROM
Queenie
Candice Carty-Williams

April 4, 2019
Two


The housemates themselves didn’t seem awful, but I felt very nervous at the prospect of living with white people, because I know that my standards of inherited Caribbean cleanliness are bordering on clinical OCD levels




April 4, 2019
Three


Do you know what?” I shouted behind him. He stopped walking. “I hope your next girlfriend is white, Tom. That way she won’t be too fucking much for you.”




April 8, 2019
Fifteen


Rejection was fine, rejection was a huge part of life—but twice in one day I’d been completely dropped by two men who had really put the hours in to make sure they got to fuck me. When I got on the bus, I googled kala with unsteady fingers. “Meaning black in Urdu, the official language of Pakistan. Refers to any black masculine object.” Bit harsh.




April 15, 2019
Twenty-Three


Try to remember that we all encounter many issues, big or small, and that they’re all relative to us. They impact each of us in different ways. There’s nothing too trivial. It also sounds like you are dealing with some quite big losses, in a concentrated period of time. Could you tell me a little bit about how these things have made you feel?”




April 15, 2019
Twenty-Three


My recovery wasn’t going as miraculously as I thought it would. Thank God for the National Health Service, because if I had to pay for these sessions myself I wouldn’t get close to halfway to recovery before bankrupting myself. In our sessions in Janet’s tiny flat in Golders Green, once I’ve endured the journey there, we’ve battled over antidepressants (I am against because I think I’ll turn into a zombie, Janet is for because apparently they’ll calm me down enough for the therapy to take); we’ve touched on my relationships with friends (I am dependent on them to validate my thoughts and actions), the casual sex (I am dependent on it to validate my body and my control), Tom (how dependent I was on him and how much that frightened me, leading to self-sabotage), my dad (I was absolutely not dependent on him, which is why I treat men as throwaway—not sure how keen I am on this Freud-type linking of the father to the sex)




April 16, 2019
Twenty-Four


Well, maybe that’s why you’re depressed?” Diana asked as though she’d hit a eureka moment. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. No offense. I just mean, maybe if you had more fun times, you wouldn’t think about bad stuff, maybe? I dunno. Sorry.” Diana




April 16, 2019
Twenty-Four


I was meant to be stable, and loved, and . . . I looked




April 17, 2019
Thirty


One. In a shock twist, Gina told you that after your ‘surprisingly great’ gig review, the Daily Read is going to give you a regular writing slot. Scary, yes, and not quite as political as you wanted, but you can get there. So you’re doing great things at work, even though you were almost fired for sexual assault earlier in the year. Talk about a comeback! Two. Ted’s been fired for misconduct and lying by omission and you never have to see him again. Three. You’ve deleted those bleak-as-fuck dating apps that only really served to make you forget that beneath the big boobs and bum you are a human person who is easily damaged. Plus now you don’t want to look at men, never mind have sex with them.” I tensed up as the men of the last year flashed before my eyes. Mouths and hands biting and pulling and smacking and scratching and— I took some deep breaths to stop myself from getting all het up again. I still missed Tom. I missed him so much. Maybe if I apologized to him again, with a bit more space between us, maybe he’d soften? I should[…]




April 17, 2019
Thirty


She smiled at me, and I smiled back. “My queen,” she mouthed, lifting her glass.




All Excerpts From


Candice Carty-Williams. “Queenie.” Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books, 2019-03-19. Apple Books. 
This material may be protected by copyright.
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This was quick read for me. I kept wanting to know what happens next. I was reading fiction for a break from reality and it brought me through a range of emotions. I didn't know I could feel so connected to a character. I enjoyed it.
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This book did not quite land for me, but I think many 20-something millennial women who are struggling with their workplace and/or romantic relationships would relate to Queenie. I especially enjoyed reading about Queenie's friendships with the women in her life (Darcy, Cassandra and Kyazike).
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Thanks NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!
While the pacing of this book was not for me, the protagonist was an interesting flawed character. We've added it to the library's collection and I know some patrons that absolutely loved it!
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I have to admit that when I first started this book I was skeptical, but I'm glad that I kept reading and gave it a chance. One of the reasons it took me a bit longer to engage with the story is because this isn't the sort of book I'm typically drawn towards, as the main character is on a rocky voyage of self-discovery accompanied with a struggle for independence that exposes itself through a series of very poor choices.  I admit that I almost put this book down because I was cringing at each bad decision the main character made. However, the story developed nicely and the author did a wonderful job of giving the reader a look inside of the life of a Jamaican British woman. A great read about a contemporary woman struggling to find herself when she doesn't easily fit the cultural expectations that surround her.
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A disaster partly of her own making, 25-year-old Jamaican British Queenie doesn’t fit in either of her cultures. So she’s trying to make herself fit to sometimes disastrous consequences.  A long string of self-destructive decisions brings Queenie to the brink and it isn’t until she is on the edge finally asking herself what she wants, and faces her demons head on, that she starts to find out who she really is. 
TWs –sexual situation that goes from consenting to discomfort, graphic sexual descriptions, childhood abuse and neglect trauma, substance abuse.
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This was an OK read. Nothing challenging, nothing terrible, but extremely average. It was a portrait of London life through the eyes of a young woman trying to make sense of it all but it didn't grab me or leave any kind of emotional impact whatsoever - something was just missing. I couldn't make myself truly care about Queenie and I really wanted to. I'm writing this review also aware that I may not be the target audience and that some young women of color may find much more depth in this, so I don't want to discount the author or the story being told here. Glad I got to read it, but not that memorable to me.
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A complicated character who you can’t help but love and wish could do better. Trigger warning: sexual assault/harm, substance abuse
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Do you ever read books that you already have expectations for? Queenie was not what I expected at all. It was a tough read, and by tough I mean it was an honest story that sucks you in. It was very well written, I could picture each character and even though Queenie doesn’t like to be hugged, I would have hugged her! .

Queenie is a British, Jamaican young woman, only 25, who’s life seemed to be on track and then after a break-up was very derailed. She works at a newspaper but never gets to write the story she wants. She loves her family but never seems to please them. She wants to date again but always picks men with the wrong intentions. And as for herself, she is waning when it comes to self worth. .

Queenie looks in all the wrong places to find who she is. She is always asking herself why she is doing something, or how did she end up back here. Being so young she has the whole world riding on her shoulders and wants all the answers. Your twenties are a fun time because you are so young, but they can be hard because you are an adult yet so young and unsure of who you are. Don’t worry you will get there! If you are looking for a candid story about a character you will genuinely feel for, then this book is for you!
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I received this e-book ARC of Queenie through Net Galley from Gallery/Scout Press in exchange for a truthful review.
Queenie is a Londoner whose family origins are from Jamaica. The novel deals with the aftermath after a breakup with her long-term boyfriend, with her life spiraling out of control. Queenie continually makes very odd, destructive (mostly of a sexual nature) choices which harken back to the trauma of abandonment in her childhood. While anxiety, depression, racial insensitivity are serious topics, this novel presents them in a bit of a humorous style, with Queenie's strong squad of girlfriends and her extended family helping her to cope with her issues.
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Queenie was a remarkable book. Any time I get the honor of reading a book written by someone from a different background than my own, I learn so much about the similarities and differences between the cultures. Reading about Queenie's past and how that affected her present felt so familiar, and as she tried to deal with all that she was being hit with was heartbreaking. But watching her rise from the negative past and bettering herself for the future was inspiring.
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I would not hand this novel to everyone. It has sex scenes that involve trauma and feelings of worthlessness that don't paint a picture of truly consensual sex.

But Queenie is also a very relatable novel. After going on a break with her boyfriend Tom, Queenie is lost and a mess. Her work life suffers from her distraction, but she also begins having casual sex with almost anyone who will have her to find some form of connection. When it all finally comes to a head, Queenie has to take a look at her life to figure out why things have gone so wrong.
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This book is such a gift. The deft maneuvering of a mental journey where we need to suspend judgement of both the titular Queenie and ourselves for the mistakes that we all make (if you're thinking here "I never made THOSE mistakes," check yourself) is a resonant triumph on its own. But simultaneously taking us inside the culture of a twenty something Caribbean woman in the gentrifying Brixton section of London with the hilarious and underwhelmed voice of Queenie, while making more space for mental health and frank discussions about race is a brilliant surprise. Victims of trauma will see themselves and their choices in Queenie's downward spiral and the talk therapy journey that takes her back up out of it. I believe it must be intentional that practical coping mechanisms are discussed with enough detail for the reader to integrate some of these methods into their own lives, and it's a nice touch. Those who have maybe never experienced trauma or understood how someone could make some of the choices Queenie makes, or how women "get themselves into these situations" need to read especially carefully to gain insight and perspective. As a liberal white reader who supports the Black Lives Matter movement, there wasn't a lot on the personal experience of race and depictions of casual racism that I hadn't seen in the work of black artists before, but it was still a moving and needed portrayal. White readers who aren't as accustomed to reading black voices and black stories might find their biases and perspectives challenged. And I'm sure it will hold a special place for children of Caribbean immigrants. In fact, the way Queenie and this book challenge us to be kinder to those who struggle with mental health, to those who get trapped in self-sabotaging cycles, to those who are unapologetically angry at the treatment of people of color by the white establishment, and to ourselves, is what's truly transcendent about the story.

My one fear is that the book won't reach some of the people who need to read it most because of the unflinching depictions and discussions of sex. I could see readers unaccustomed to such unfiltered, unromantic depictions of sex and sexual health putting the book down, and that would be a real shame. If you can't relate to some of this plot, take it as a chance to have more empathy by relating to this character. Knowing that the potentially destructive choices are not glamorized or celebrated should provide the necessary fortitude.

It's sort of rare to be taken on a tour of personal demons, do a lot of crying, and still walk away feeling uplifted by a bouyant (but far from treacly) ending.
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