4 Pretzels. Need a pretzel refresher? Here you go.
Hello, hello, hello. I’m back to civilization, back to reading, and back to sharing my thoughts on those reads. So, let’s get started, shall we?
Queenie is a 25-year-old British woman of Jamaican decent. Up until very recently, she lived with her white boyfriend. She works as a journalist, has a handful of friends, and her world is about to spiral out of control.
The boyfriend asks her to leave, stating he needs a break. Queenie, of course, seeks the comfort of her friends. Meanwhile, she’s slipping at work, and her boss has definitely noticed. As the break from boyfriend becomes more of a break-up, Queenie becomes more and more reckless.
Queenie is a lot of things: Impulsive. Aggressive. Needy. Lonely. Self indulgent. Sad. Funny. Relatable.
Thoughts & Feelings:
I do have to say that at times Queenie is a bit tedious. It became difficult to continue rooting for her, but then I would remind myself that she is twenty-five, and she is facing obstacles and barriers that never effected me.
Barriers such as wanting to report on the almost continuous shooting of unarmed black men by police in the US, but being told by an elderly white woman that it isn’t an important enough issue and you’d better stick to blogging about shoes. Attending a Black Lives Matter rally and being a little unsure of how to behave. Barriers such as being fetishized by her creepy male coworker who turns out to be married. And, oh boy, the black girl fetish does not end there; it’s a theme that continues throughout the book, with each man getting more and more disgusting. So, once I checked myself and cut her a little slack, I wanted her to succeed, despite the sometimes infuriating decision making.
Queenie also touches on anxiety, self-loathing, flat-out racism (Lookin’ at you, boyfriend’s family), being slut-shamed a health clinic, emotional trauma from childhood, having a difficult family who doesn’t understand you, and the complexities of female friendship. Her friends, by the way, are varied and wonderful. Darcy is her workmate who is just a delight. Cassandra is off-putting. I’ll just say it. She’s stuck up and often loans Queenie money so she can then hold it over her head. And then there’s Kyazike. Pronounced Chess-keh, which we find out in this scene between she and Cassandra.
“How do you pronounce your name again?” Cassandra asked, and I winced. Although it was better her asking rather than attempting a guess and butchering the pronunciation, I’d spoken about Kyazike enough for Cassandra to have remembered. She’d have remembered if it had been a basic name like Sarah or Rachel or something.
“Chess-keh,” Kyazike said.
“Oh, okay, like Jessica without the ic in the middle?” Cassandra asked.
“No. Like my own name. Not some Western name.”
Of Queenie’s friends, it seems Kyazike has known her the longest, meaning she is the most likely to straighten Queenie out, but also be the most supportive when Queenie is really down. She’s a great friend and a great character.
For reasons unknown to me, Queenie has been compared to Bridget Jones’ Diary. Queenie is a far more interesting character. She has layers and complexities Bridget Jones can only jot down in her dream journal.
So, give this debut by Candice Carty-Williams a chance. You can grab a copy here.