Updated: Feb 27
“Turns out the sadness that silence from the person you love brings can be temporarily erased by the dull thrill of attention from strangers.”
“The road to recovery is not linear. It’s not straight. It’s a bumpy path, with lots of twists and turns. But you’re on the right track.”
Queenie was written by Candice Carty-Williams and published on March 19th, 2019. This book tells the story of a young Jamaican British woman named Queenie who has never been able to get her life on the right track. Despite only being twenty-five, her entire world is in shambles when we meet her, and it only continues to spiral out of control throughout the story. Whether it is jumping from relationship to relationship or unhealthily comparing herself to Caucasians and even her friends, there is clearly something wrong with Queenie. My initial thoughts upon reading the synopsis of Queenie was that I would love it. It is pitched as a black Bridget Jones with a relatable main character. Unfortunately, that is just not true, at least in my opinion. While I enjoyed the book enough to finish it, I could not relate to any of this book. In fact, I have several issues with this book which I will mildly touch on. I say mildly because I do not want to spoil the book unless I’m asked to. As uncomfortable as it is, it is something you need to read and decide for yourself. In this review, I will do my best to eloquently describe what I liked and did not like. Queenie: As the book is titled Queenie, I think it is only fitting that my review starts with her as our leading lady. I really wanted to like Queenie and wanted to sympathize with her. However, I just did not and I do not feel any shame for it. The difference between Queenie and Bridget Jones is that many of Bridget’s mistakes were truly honest accidents. She did not constantly put herself in the same situation, despite knowing the outcome. I cannot say what it feels like to hate yourself or to feel like you do not deserve better, but this is what Queenie feels. I cannot say she should just not have these feelings because that would be ignorant and insensitive. However, I will say that despite these feelings she is very aware of her actions and still does it. Even knowing how it will make her feel in the end. Therefore, I disagree with the comparison to the Bridget Jones Diary, which just happens to be one of my favorite movies. There is only so much sympathy you can give a person who purposely continues to tear themselves down and then blame it on the person they allowed to do it. It became a broken record and by the end of the book, I honestly didn’t care that much about her story. Men: I’ve said it once before and will say it again, I do not enjoy books created just to depict how awful men are. I know some men can be horrendous, and it does not matter if they are white, black, green, or pink. People are just people, and sometimes people are disturbing humans. However, I feel like it depicts them all in a poor light when not a single man in your book can look at what is going on and speak up against it. I would even settle for an expression of rage against the acts of his fellow man. I don’t want young girls reading stories like this and having this assumption that all men are terrible. Just like Queenie had a tragic experience with a black man and believed they were all bad. Young girls are impressionable when it comes to these stories. I know this because I was a young girl with a single father and very little female influence in my life. I had to learn the hard way how to decipher the good from the bad and figure out what a healthy and stable relationship looks like. Therefore, books helped me a lot when what I was looking for wasn’t found in real-life. Granted, I am now at an age to know that books and real-life are rarely ever the same, but at the time I used books to tell me what is right for femininity. These days we are lucky if we find books that depict healthy and fun relationships between man and woman. That needs to change, we need to support our men and women more in books. We need to show both sides of the coin, otherwise, to me, it just feels like the bashing of one gender or race. Most importantly, we need to show young girls what a positive relationship looks like. Trigger Warnings: I feel like with them pitching this book as a fun relatable black Bridget Jones story. It did not prepare readers for the dark dips that this story takes. There is no sexual abuse, but there is a lot of manipulation both received and given throughout this book. From friends, sexual partners, and even from the main character on occasions. I feel like anyone who has ever been stuck in a toxic or manipulating relationship might be triggered by some of these scenes. They get very dark and low vibrational, and for those who cannot handle these topics, it might be hard to read. The sexual scenes were entirely tough for me to read, and I have never even experienced these things. It made me sick in some scenes and made me thank my maker I have never experienced these situations. I suppose for women who have had this experience, it could be relatable. However, I am uncertain why anyone would want to remember things like that. Again, I am only giving my opinion based on my own life experiences. Consequences: One thing that I did absolutely adore about this book is that the consequences of the actions of most individuals made sense. Although a lot of messed up things happen in this book, the reactions and consequences are always realistic. When Queenie allows herself to be treated poorly, she is ultimately upset with herself. Granted, she tries to blame the person who never hid their colors, but I’ll take what I can get. This is a big thing for me in stories; characters have to behave rationally or at least so irrationally that it’s obviously on purpose. I need my stories and the actions of my characters to make sense. I can’t read a story where a woman says she just watched her father die, and then the next minute she is snogging it up in a three-way for fun. So the author was on point with this area of the book. Friendship: I really enjoyed the chemistry Queenie had with her friends, every single bit of it was believable and enjoyable to read. It was a breath of fresh air to see her around some positivity after the hell she constantly put herself through. Reading this reminded me of what I missed most about having female friends. I love the feeling you get when you can share all of your deepest and darkest secrets with someone and know they will not judge you for it. At least not without trying to help you through it. Some incidents go down between these girls that cause tensions, but even that felt realistic. Sometimes friends fight, and we say or do things we don’t mean. It’s not right, but it does make us human. I thoroughly enjoyed every scene with Queen and friends. Dark Humor: Despite me not fully enjoying all the dark scenes of this book, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t laugh out loud more than a few times. This book definitely has its hilarious moments, moments that you can’t even believe the author included in the book. Much of it is dark humor, but I like laughing even if it’s making sad things better, if just a little. So the humor is another thing that helped me get through this book, and I would probably read it again for that alone. Final Thoughts: I originally gave Queenie two stars, but looking back on the scenes I enjoyed, I have changed my vote to three stars. While this book has some obvious issues that I mentioned, it was overall well written and an interesting read if it doesn’t put you off. I would recommend this book to others, but only with the warning that it is not suitable for everyone and that no one should look at Queenie as a woman to be emulated. Women, we need to know our worth and that goes for any race or skin tone. We are all Queens and we should not just settle for anything. I hope this review has aided you in some way; I have been sitting on it for weeks. Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.