Cover Image: Queenie

Queenie

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Member Reviews

Queenie was a black 25 year old in London straddling two worlds: the Yuppie world of her close friends, her working place and  her white boyfriend as well as the Jamaican immigrant world of her family. Then the boyfriend decided to break up with her and threw her out of the apartment they shared for 3 years. Queenie suggested instead a 3 month separation. When attempts to contact him were unsuccessful, she decided to replace him with a series of abusive sexual relationships while she waited for him to come to his senses and take her back. 

Queenie’s university education helped her get a job at a small magazine in London but her behavior spiraled downward after the breakup and put the job in jeopardy. Her random sexual encounters resulted in several visits to a sexual disease clinic near her office. A counselor at the clinic recommended a therapist who helped Queenie face her emotional problems that dated back to her childhood.

I enjoyed this book for several reasons. The rich cultural exploration of the Jamaican immigrants was fascinating. The gentrification of Brixton is similar to what we see in urban areas of the US. The problems of the child of immigrants trying to fit into middle class London life were reminiscent of those of characters in Zadie Smith books. This is a great debut novel and one that I really enjoyed.
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Queenie took some time for me to get into because after reading the book summary, I was thinking this was going to be a lighter read. It ended up being quite heavy and covered quite a few issues that made this one quite a lot deeper than I initially expected. I was so happy to see that mental health, unhealthy relationships, feminism, and race issues were discussed openly and with great detail. 

I struggled a bit with being frustrated with Queenie and some of her choices regarding men and dating but that was my own reaction. Queen seems like a relatable read for someone in their 20s as it is a coming of age story and Queenie learns a lot through trial and error. I enjoyed seeing her process to self-love and although I could not relate to all of it I think this will be a hit with a lot of readers.
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If you looking for light reading this book is not for you.
British-Born Jamaican Woman.  Grand parents having emigrated from Jamaica.
So not only does Queenie have to deal with the fact of been black with a lot of prejudging in a domineering white world and the believes of not talking about your problems and seeking help it isn't till she basically hit rock bottom (been used by man and the loss of her job) that once she reluctantly starts therapy that you start to understand the extend of her feelings towards man, family and friends. It basically takes her 10 months to turn her live fully around. understanding her self worth and the actions of her mother and grandparents.
Been of an age that I could be her grandmother I often got mad with Queenie in the first half of the book about how she could have possibly so little self esteem and negligent attitude towards her job but I got to be more understanding after realizing the obstacles she had to overcome.
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I've been hearing about Queenie for quite a while now, and was anxious to get my hands on a copy -- it did not disappoint. Queenie was at times hilarious, at others heartbreaking, and all throughout, incredibly engaging. Carty-Williams infuses Queenie's character with a depth and sense of true humanity that makes her so relatable, even if the reader isn't twenty-five-going-on-twenty-six, as both Queenie and I are. I'll definitely be picking up a copy of this book for my library, and I know my students will love it.
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Actual Rating 4.5/5

Queenie is described as being “Bridget Jones meets Americanah.” I haven’t yet read Americanah, but I feel like comparing this book to Bridget Jones doesn’t quite do it justice. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bridget Jones, but while Bridget is dealing with one bad man and silly parents, Queenie is dealing with much more serious issues. It definitely has a similar type of humor and it does deal with Queenie’s many sexual exploits, but underneath the humor, this novel tackles some really heavy and honest issues.

Queenie is a smart, young journalist who wants to use her unique voice to bring awareness to issues that matter to her. Her work as a journalist, so far, has only allowed her to write on trivial matters. But Queenie longs to write about more important topics: Black Lives Matter, police brutality, discrimination, etc. However, Queenie struggles under the weight of this burden because she is simultaneously  dealing with the pain of a recent breakup, anxiety, her own racial identity, and a traumatic childhood that she has never really faced. It is painful at times watching her struggle on this journey, but it is also a really hopeful story of self-love, acceptance, friendship, and family.

Queenie’s family and friends were my absolute favorite part of this novel. Her Grandparents (“the water rates!”), her Aunt, her cousin, her mom...they are all such funny, unique, and loveable characters. And I really hope that Queenie’s best friend, Kyazike, is based on a real person because she is just to perfect not to be. I love that each of these characters plays their own unique role in helping Queenie heal.

The therapy sessions were some of the most interesting moments in the novel. We really get inside Queenie’s head here and we also start to see the healing process unfolding. The therapist, Janet, was also such a great balance to Queenie and their dynamic was great to read. I also loved the “Dame it, Janet” Rocky Horror reference. I loved that Queenie ultimately got better due to the therapy, which I think goes a long way in breaking down the stigma that is sometimes attached to therapy.

I relate to so many of Queenie’s struggles, but there is no way that I could possibly relate to all of them. Reading this book opened up a whole new type of understanding for me, and I honestly feel like a better person having read it. I completely believe that everyone will find something worth holding on to in Queenie’s journey.
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Queenie wants to be in love but she is having a hard time with the men she meets.  Tom loved her but she wouldn’t let him.  Ted just wanted to “use” her.
Can Queenie find out why she is having such a hard time having a healthy relationship.
This is a very interesting story. The women in her life are very important to her turn around.
I would recommend this book.
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I really enjoyed this book. It touched on topics such as mental health in black familes, toxic relationships and more. I really related to Queenie's character.
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Right off the bat I have to say that I think the blurb for this book is a bit misleading: comparing Queenie to Bridget Jones's Diary made me think that this would be a modern diverse take on the rom-com, with the beautiful writing of Americanah but... that is the opposite of what this is? Queenie is certainly no where near a rom-com or a romp or lighthearted in any way, so if you were looking for that from this book I would say KEEP LOOKING. Having that as my expectation through me a bit when I first started this book, and I needed to shift my expectations very quickly in order to keep reading. However, that doesn't mean that what Queenie actually IS isn't important or fascinating. While the writing style isn't quite my usual, the discussions of race, abuse, sexuality, mental health, friendship, family, etc, are all powerful and worth exploring.
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Queenie was a beautiful story about life in your 20s. It took me a bit to get into the book and ended up taking me a lot longer to read than usual. I thought this book was very timely and spoke to my generation. It was interesting to read Queenies experience as it is so unlike my own.
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In the book Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, Queenie is a fictional character but she’s very real. She could be our friend, neighbor, co-worker. It’s possible that you know someone like Queenie. Of course, above everything else that makes Queenie who she is, she is a human. Fictional but still human.

She is also Jamaican British woman who is in the middle of a crisis. Everything in her world is falling apart. Her boyfriend, Tom, has left her. He’s white and kind of a jackass. Although she didn’t realize she was pregnant, Queenie has had a miscarriage. She’s probably going to lose her job. She has some serious issues with her mother, father, and step-father.

After the break-up with Tom, Queenie starts heading down a path of self-destruction that many of us know all too well – namely unprotected sexual activity. It all becomes too much for her to deal with and Queenie has a mental collapse.

On top of everything else, she has to move in with her grandparents and begins therapy. Honestly, it was the best place for her to be while she was recovering from a nervous breakdown.

I liked this book quite a bit. Queenie was a hot mess; but who hasn’t been at some point? She’s so real and honest as a character that I forget that she’s not a real person. This is one of those cases where I wish that a fictional character existed.

There were some friendly reminders in this book that I’d like to mention.

Don’t touch anyone’s hair. Just. Don’t.
If you are curious about someone’s hair, it’s better to ask questions than to invade their personal space.
Stereotypes are bullsh**.
Just don’t touch anyone without an invitation.
Treat all people like . . . well, people.
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First off...NOTHING LIKE BRIDGET JONES. Good lord, not even close. This book was so well written. Lovely to read and ponder. And Queenie is a champion.
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I loved this novel by Carty-WIlliams, but I agree with other readers who disagree that it is a Bridget Jones novel.  Queenie, the protagonist, a twenty-five-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London is not having a rom-com romp through life. Queenie's short life has been painful and traumatic with a stepfather, who terrorized her and her mother.  Queenie's mum now lives in a hostel for battered women, and she has little contact with Queenie.

Queenie worked hard to be the first one to graduate from college and get a job on a tabloid newspaper. She lived with her boyfriend of three years, Tom, until he decided he wanted a "break" and asked her to move out.  The readers go through a painful year with Queenie after the break-up.  Queenie's pain comes from the low self-image she has of herself, allowing herself to go out with creepy men who abuse her body and leave her or only come back for more sex.  Even Tom's family felt comfortable using the 'n' world in Queenie's presence.

Queenie believes that she is not worth more than what she has in life.  She wants to please everyone, and when she finally moves back in with her very strict grandparents, even they use her for labor.  She uses every free moment to clean at grandmum's orders and is yelled at by her grandfather for using too much hot water when she takes a bath.  We find out that her grandparents do love Queenie and their strict ways are part of what they believe the elders must demand of the young, so they grow up to be good, hard-working people.  The problem is the Queenie is a right, hardworking person.  Okay, she likes to sit and talk a lot with her work mate, Darcy, but she has so many issues that she desperately needs someone with whom she can confide.

Events continue to escalate Queenie's stress until she ultimately winds up in counseling and we find out about the core of her problems.  She is a black woman in a white world.  Queenie is keenly aware of what is happening in the USA and feels that though black people are not shot down in the streets of London, their lives are not much better.  Black Lives Matter settles deep into her soul and helps her work through the challenging year of recovery from all the damage people have inflicted on her and what she has done to herself.

I felt Queenie's rage and pain.  Her story moved me to tears with a few laughs here and there. Queenie is a brilliant book for today and the future for the young woman of all colors to read and know that they are entitled to a place in the world, wherever they live.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Thank you.
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I feel like this is going to be a hit! It felt very current and the story of a young Jamaican woman living in England was a bit different but still relatable as an American. Lots of content on black identity and what it means to be a woman. .
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I was really excited to read this book when I saw the description that it is “Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah”. I think that description is somewhat accurate, but could lead people to think the book isn’t for them. And that would be a shame, because then they would miss out on reading this wonderful book.  This book is a coming of age story for the 20-somethings. Queenie, the main character, is strong and likeable and I was rooting for her the whole book. I want to be Queenie’s friend. We all have flaws and Queenie was able to understand some of hers and get through a tough time in her life. I will definitely be recommending this book!
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What a gift this book was to read. What is better than a book that leads you through all the emotions including hysterical laughter and uncontrollable sobs. We've all been where Queenie has been- through a bad break up that leads us to make some questionable decisions. I couldn't help but relate to Queenie the entire read. I highly recommend this book!
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Queenie has a lot going on in her life and a lot to learn about herself in the process of her life changes. She makes a lot of questionable decisions that leaves the reader shaking their fist and trying to figure out what she is doing. At the same time, it is clear Queenie constantly navigates social situations that are particularly plagued with racism and sexism. The reality and complexity of these situations is perhaps the writer’s best triumph, showing a flashlight on the language, behaviors and social standards that create a hostile world for women, especially black women. Along with that, this book is compulsively readable, and like her group of friends, we are by her side. This book is about the rocky pathway back to self love, standing up to the rigidity of cultural expectations, and the importance of female friendship. It is worth the read.
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What a gorgeous cover. Did you know authors don't necessarily get to choose what their book covers will look like? Are you a little appalled by that? Me, too!

Anyway, Queenie is a British woman in her mid-twenties navigating a break from her boyfriend. Queenie is being compared to Bridget Jones's Diary, but Queenie is Jamaican-British, and her issues run a little deeper than Bridget's. Both work in news media and struggle to be taken seriously, and both tipple and snog more than is good for them. Queenie's choices get her in more serious trouble than Bridget's, and the consequences are more dire, and more real.
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Let me begin this review by first stating that comparing this book to Bridget Jones’s Diary does it a great disservice. I find it very frustrating when books are compared to others, particularly when that comparison is way off the mark. Though Queenie lives in London and has some “dating escapades,” the similarities end there. This is not merely a light and funny feel-good read. And if you go in expecting that, you will miss all this story has to offer. 

Queenie by Candace Carty-Williams follows the story of a young 25 year old named Queenie after her break up with her boyfriend Tom. What follows is a real and honest look at dating, sex, mental health issues, race, and a whole lot more. As Queenie goes from man to man, her life begins to spiral out of control until she hits pretty close to rock bottom. And from there she has to face the root of her issues as she relies upon therapy, a good support network of friends, and her family as she navigates her own demons and past, issues of race in London, and her own upbringing. As someone who has dealt with panic disorders personally and has been in years of therapy for my own struggles, I appreciated how Queenie’s experience and treatment was written. And I appreciated the look into the life and struggles of a Black woman living in London. 

I ended up giving this book 4 stars and can’t wait to see more from this author. I would love a sequel to see what happens to Queenie next. 

Trigger warnings for abuse, rape, graphic sex, and mental health issues. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book
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When I looked at the synopsis of this book, I was under the impression that the story would be comparably quirky and hilarious to Bridget Jones Diary. I DID NOT get that impression at all. Queenie is a woman suffering from posttraumatic stress related to serial abuse at the hands of men throughout her life. She makes ill advised choices with them throughout the book and comes to really despise herself. This all results in a mental breakdown and multiple panic attack episodes. Queenie also deals with the conflict of feeling marginalized by white society and finds herself drawn to the Black Lives Matter movement. Some how though, she always ends up in the arms of some belligerently racist white guy...who swears he's not racist and almost always voices this at some point. She has issues with her mother, her ex-boyfriend, a creepy co-worker, and a friends who makes a despicably pathetic choice. All of this encompasses to create a somewhat uncomfortable, but very relevant, realistic read


Though I by no means think this was a bad book, it definitely does not parallel Bridget Jones, so if you're looking for something lighthearted and funny, this is not that book. This book definitely had a more serious undertone about mental illness, sexual health, and societal norms. I didn't find myself laughing at all, but I did reflect on the times we live in and how mental illness in coming more to the forefront of conversation, rather than being passed over as too taboo.
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Queenie was incredibly high on my list of anticipated books this year. After reading the Bridget Jones Diary comparison on NetGalley it was a MUST read for me. And while Queenie and I had a rocky start, I am thrilled to comment that this book is a must read for others too! I’ve rated this story 4.5 stars rounding up to 5!

Queenie and I have had a tumultuous relationship throughout this novel to say the least. On the one hand, as a reader, I can’t like someone who doesn’t like themselves. And Queenie for the first 60% is incredibly self-destructive with not an ounce of self-respect. This made liking Queenie an impossible feat. I am not Cassandra, Darcy or Kyazike (her Corgis or best buds), I didn’t know anything about her aside from what the author presented to me. And at that point the author presents Queenie in a non-likable manner. BUT there was a method to Carty-Williams’ madness. Reading about the progression and regression of the main character evoked a lot of emotion from me. I couldn’t stand that woman, to be frank, but through preservation I got to meet the true Queenie. And that was a woman who I could like. Overall, I feel like Carty-Williams did a masterful job creating the destruction of Queenie and letting this woman rise from the dust. I don’t get too emotionally involved with book characters, but I was invested in Queenie. This takes a talented author. 

There were a few inconsistencies with Queenie’s feelings on certain matters. And I can’t tell if it was done purposefully by the author or if it was simply a mistake. But there was a specific encounter where Queenie crossed a certain boundary first, but when the male reciprocated it was an issue. For example, she makes a comment in the house of her blind date, “Are you sure you want to see me naked?” and then two sentences later she is wondering why this guy is being presumptions regarding sex. I found her response to be irrational given the context she started and a bit of a double standard. This thinking from Queenie was confusing and I wasn’t sure how to perceive this. Also, another example of an inconsistent issue, so Queenie is having unprotected sex and after two days of intercourse takes a pregnancy test. Pretty sure even doctors are unable to determine if a female is pregnant after two days. I actually looked this up and blood tests (which can provide the earliest results) take 8-10 days post ovulation. So that clinic might not be that savvy, Queenie. Just saying! But I easily got over these minor issues because the overall theme and story is so much more. 

One thing I have to mention given the topic, Carty-Williams approaches racism very directly. And at first, I wrote a little paragraph about how I appreciated Angie Thomas’ approach on handling racism comparatively. Thomas made sure that no fingers were pointed. And I quickly decided to not include the paragraph because Cary-Williams’ made me realize something. Maybe I appreciated and bothered mentioning Angie Thomas’ approach because it made me more comfortable. But the fact of the matter, racism shouldn’t make anyone comfortable. And I think Carty-Williams’ direct approach to the subject matter is honest and eye opening. Personally, I didn’t agree with everything written by Carty-Williams but the new perspective that was brought forth might enlighten my future and views on racism. For example, there was a scene where Queenie met with an HR woman with Spanish decent whom was married to a black man making a statement along the lines of “There aren’t many of you that work here.” I thought this might be reaching given that this woman has probably experienced racism herself or through her husband’s experience. But I think that Carty-Williams’ included it because it probably isn’t as farfetched as I imagined, again, new perspective. Overall, this novel is going to be great for Book Clubs, the discussions that could be had from this novel can contribute so much value. 

Thank you NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for the approval! I have high hopes and expectations for Queenie.
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