Author: Candice Carty-Williams
First published: 2019
Edition: Hardback, published in 2019 by Trapeze
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
I had high expectations going into this novel. I had heard so many good things about it. That always leaves me a bit nervous, but I did not need to be. This book was very good indeed!
What can I say about our main character Queenie? She makes you laugh, she breaks your heart and yet all the way through I rooted for her. She is a very flawed character, with low self-esteem, who makes very bad decisions. She is a frustrating character for sure and you will want to yell at her, but hold your judgement. We get to know her, little by little, throughout the book, and through knowing her past we come to understand her and the reasons why she is the way she is. She may well be one of my favourite fictional characters. Maybe, because in one or another I think everyone can identify with Queenie, or has been able to identify with her in the past.
The book deals with mental health issues, racism (both blatant, casual and subtle), cultural issues and sexual and emotional assault. These are heavy subjects and I could feel the weight through them throughout the book without being brought down. That is a rare book that can balance those scales.
The light in this book comes through Queenie’s friendships. They are so precious.
I would highly recommend this novel. I loved it and I think you will too.
6 out of 7 stars