City Life is the City of Cardiff's premier lifestyle magazine.

Book Review: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

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Meet Queenie: she is a twenty-something woman, living in London, who is unsure on her next step in life after her boyfriend of three years decides to take a break from their relationship.

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This story follows the protagonist through a very trying and hard period of her life. What resonated with me the most (maybe because we are of similar age) is how she views her self-worth in the eyes of men. This book made me uncomfortable at times and I believe that it is meant to. This is because Queenie’s experiences and encounters with the opposite sex ring alarmingly true. These are the stories that we have heard our friends talk about, where even we ourselves may have experienced and have just chalked it down to a bad night. Carty-Williams is highlighting these issues and has opened a door of communication for women.

Queenie’s race (she is British born Jamaican) plays a huge part in this novel and opens the reader’s eyes to the every-day racism that black people endure. It is clear in the book that Queenie also suffers in the hands of white men who fetishize her for her race and only see her as a way to validate themselves.

Queenie is struggling to cope with her most recent break up and the narrative flits from texts between friends, emails and memories which link to her fraught relationship with her mother and the childhood trauma that she carries round her like a weight around her neck. I particularly enjoyed how the narrative was displayed, I believe it gives a fresh new take on literature, ensuring that the book is up to date with how a group of friends would communicate with each other.

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“Over the last month or so I have seen so much hype about this book, depicting it as a laugh out loud, funny and modern novel. However, I do not see this book as a comedy, personally I believe it demonstrates how women in their twenties can be victimised and can harshly view themselves in terms of worth, whether that be in their career, love life or as a friend.” Grace Collins

What I thoroughly enjoyed was how Carty-Williams portrayed Queenie’s path to recovery in a very ‘real,’ way. She didn’t go to her therapist one time and resolved all of her childhood trauma. The author showed Queenie slowly coming to terms with her past, healing, having setbacks and regaining trust in her mother. I liked the ending, I liked how it wasn’t all hunky-dory depicting Queenie as a new woman who had found love again and was at peace with herself. It showed a realistic ending, one that the reader could relate to and most importantly hope for Queenie.

I believe this is a very important book of our time and I urge readers to pick up a copy!

We rate it: 4/5

Queenie is available on Amazon. Click here to view now.

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Reviewed by Grace Collins

Hi, I’m Grace, a twenty-something gal based in South Wales with my two cats. You can always find me with my head stuck in a book! Follow my Instagram page @thecwtchbookclub for more recommendations and reviews.

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