Reviews

Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams

yin's review against another edition

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challenging emotional funny hopeful reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

k2g's review against another edition

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2.0

Honestly, this one is just a No for Mi

mharris4074's review against another edition

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5.0

Queenie is a hilarious, heart wrenching, fresh story about a Jamaican British young woman living in London. So many parts of Queenie's story are familiar - she's 25, going through a break up and trying to figure out what her passion is at work and in her personal life. But in addition to that, she's also trying to figure out where she fits in the world. Queenie oscillates between two identities, there is the Queenie who lived with her posh, white boyfriend from a wealthy family and the Queenie who comes from a loud, crowded immigrant neighborhood in London.

Through much of the novel, Queenie is on a downward spiral as she watches the carefully constructed identity she created fall apart piece by piece. But throughout the self-destruction and the mess that follows, we see Queenie find herself.

If you liked Swing Time or Americanah, then you love Queenie!

kateflora's review against another edition

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emotional informative inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

hayleysimpson's review against another edition

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4.0

Not sure whether to give this on 4 or 4.5 stars!

yasminnnali's review against another edition

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3.0

Ok, this book got a 3.5 rating, and it would have been a 4 but the beginning was just so chaotic and I didn't know why, but the end gave some answers. There was nothing that I think would leave me thinking about the book for a long time but overall, it gives a lot of good discussion points.

Which is another thing, there weren't many wise voices (because everyone has issues obv) so a lot of really good topics were touched on but not explored?

Basically this is more of a comedy light fun read more than my usual deep tragic reads. Something was just missing for me but I'm not too mad about it.

pagesandpaws's review against another edition

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4.0

This book is starkly important especially in today's climate, I can say for definite that it has opened my eyes to some of the smaller issues that black women face that often get swept under the rug. The story is simple but that makes it even more authentic and realistic in my opinion. As someone who rarely reads these slice of life kind of novels, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It is relatable and humorous whilst still managing to handle difficult topics and more darker themes. This accessibility is it's greatest asset as it draws in a wider audience who may have been otherwise intimidated by the subject matter etc. Overall a must-read, especially for the summer considering it's faced-paced nature that allows you to speed through it.

ciararosney's review against another edition

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3.0

Queenie Jenkins, a 25-year-old Jamaican British living in London, is going through a lot. At the national newspaper where she works, she's constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers; a messy break up with her long-term white boyfriend causes her to seek comfort in all the wrong places; and the strained relationship she has with her mother is brought closer to the surface. As Queenie scrambles from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering where her life is going and who she wants to be.

Oh, Queenie. I wanted to love you so much. Believe me, I tried. Perhaps it was the hype Queenie received that made it fall flat or maybe it simply wasn't my cup of tea and I don't need to find any excuse to back up my unpopular opinion. However, there were parts of this story that I absolutely adored and found myself laughing out loud because of how much I could relate to certain situations. It was quite like being on a see-saw: one minute we're up high and loving life and then all of a sudden we're being pushed back down to the ground with a hard smack.

The family dynamics within this book is something I praise Carty-Williams for. Not every family is perfect and there will be members with whom you don't have a particularly strong relationship with, but that's okay. It's more normal than getting along with every single person you're related to. With Queenie, the one person she's most uncomfortable with is her mother Sylvie. After witnessing years of abuse directed mainly at Sylvie, their relationship has suffered. Carty-Williams provides the reader with a unique insight into the mind of someone who wants to fix this but doesn't know exactly where to start. The advice offered from different members of her family, from her grandparents to her teenage cousin, are all helpful to those going through that outside of this fictional story. The whole concept created is that family members might not get along, but at the end of the day they'll always be there to support each other when it matters. If you want one reason to read this book, take that message and go for it.

Talk of mental health was a topic widely discussed throughout the book. It's important it be more spoken about that those seeking help through therapy might not have made the decision overnight. Queenie went through so much before finally deciding to see someone and talk about the issues that have caused her panic attacks, PTSD, and depression. It was refreshing to read a book that didn't give the impression that one visit to a therapist will fix everything or that therapy was only the done thing in American TV shows. Along with suffering with her mental health, there is one other thing Queenie is a victim of: racism. The casual comments from her sexual partners were enough to make me feel nauseous, but there was also the issue of her being blatantly shut down at work for wanting to put focus on the Black Lives Matter movement. I got so excited at the idea of Queenie standing up for herself and running with what was important, but all we got was a three-and-a-half page chapter that only scratched the surface of a march. I just wanted more.

Now the character of Queenie was someone I just couldn't bring myself to like. Yes, she had funny lines and I could relate to her inner monologue (which makes me incredibly self-aware considering I wasn't a fan of her), but the character development was almost non-existent. Her decisions frustrated me to no end and at points I wanted to jump into the book, grab her by the shoulders and give her a good shake. Why would one be so willing to do whatever creepy men ask - no, tell - her to do? The sex wasn't an issue in the sense of her having so many encounters, it was the lack of clear consent and protection that gave me a headache. Towards the end of the book we see Queenie taking small steps back into normality, but I think to prove just how much she grew, we needed the book to be longer; what happened at the end should have been in the middle and then from that point we would have been taken on a journey of self-empowerment. That's what would have given it the five stars.

After reading this review, there might be the question of why I gave it three stars instead of one or two. It wasn't a bad book, it was simply okay. If you're after a quick read that deals with serious topics, I'd still recommend.

naoisepanda's review against another edition

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dark emotional funny hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0