Thank you, Gallery Books, for my free copy of Queenie in exchange for an honest review.
To be completely honest, the jacket of this book does it a disservice. Queenie is so much more than a combination of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Me Before You . There are, of course, similarities, but I did not expect Queenie to affect me in the way it did, but I closed the book feeling so much for Queenie and the story I’d just read.
Queenie follows the life of Queenie Jenkins as her life begins to “fall apart”. Following a break-up with her long term boyfriend, Queenie enters into sexual relationships with many different men who begin to undermine her self-worth and confidence. From her career to her family to her sexual relationships, Queenie questions who she is, what she’s doing, and who she wants to become.
Candice Carty-Williams‘ prose was honest and modern. She wrote with the voice of a young woman who truly understood the struggles of someone searching for meaning in the world and feeling as though it’s not there for them. I struggled with the prose at first and found myself having to reread passages in the beginning to understand the British slang and different dialects Carty-Williams’ wrote in occasionally, but after the first couple chapters I was absolutely hooked. Queenie’s voice was one I really identified with even though the character/author and I have not had the same life experiences.
The personalities of the female characters absolutely jumped off the page. They were all nuanced and human. There was nothing cookie-cutter about any of these characters and I loved that. There have been some books I’ve read where all the female characters are the same people on the inside and they’ve ignored what makes women so amazing — their humanity. Carty-Williams celebrated her female characters and their emotions and that made my heart soar while reading this book.
My favorite parts of Queenie’s story, however, were near the end.
The support of Queenie’s friends as she suffered through anxiety and, potentially, depression was truly the shining light in this book. Carty-Williams’ wrote about healthy female friendships and support networks that modern women today (especially those with mental health struggles) really need. My heart was so full near the end when Queenie’s friends constantly showed their support and love for her.
I also felt that Carty-Williams’ did an incredible job showing Queenie’s journey through therapy. She showed how difficult it can be and how even when you’re feeling better, you can still relapse into panic or struggles. She made the therapy experience for Queenie so real and I admire her ability to have done that.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I loved the characters, the prose, and the story more than I thought I would. I think this book is important for everyone to read, but especially young women of color. Queenie is truly a great read and I give it five out of five stars.
Okay, now that you’ve read me singing its praises, go read Queenie!