Monday, 8 June 2020

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams Book Review

What's this? Another book review in less than week? Not something that happens often around here but if you've read my blog for a while you'll know I go months without any and then several come along at once. Last week I shared my review of Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NG, a book that has had a lasting impact on me and today I wanted to share my thoughts on Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. Flatlay. Book on top of 4 other books
'Meet Queenie. She just can't cut a break. Well, apart from one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That's just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Stuck between a boss who doesn't seem to see her, a family who don't seem to listen (if it's not Jesus or water rates, they're not interested), and trying to fit in two worlds that don't really understand her, it's no wonder she's struggling. She was named queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?'

My Review

I think it's fair to say 2020 will be a year we all remember, but unfortunately not for good reasons (so far). After the murder of George Floyd in America two weeks ago, the justified outrage all over social media and the protests in the streets here in the UK and America have proven to me that I need to be a better ally. Myself and many others I'm sure have realised that not being racist isn't enough, we need to be anti-racist and we need to be shouting about it! Whilst initially I wasn't sure how to put what I was feeling into words and I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, I've realised that I need to do more. Over the last week I've committed myself to signing petitions, having discussions offline and educating myself. I've seen many books by black authors recommended so I have a long list I want to get through but the one that I saw over and over again and had for weeks before this actually, was Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. Whilst doing the food shop last week, I spotted it and saw it was the last one on the shelf so I grabbed it. I then read it all in one sitting the next day.

As soon as I started this book, I instantly warmed to Queenie. The book has been advertised in a way as a modern version of Bridget Jones and I could see why quite quickly but this book is far deeper than that (soz Bridget). The book starts with Queenie moving out of the home she shares with her boyfriend Tom after they decide they need a break from one another. Despite having many things in her past not dealt with, generally she was happy so this break leads her down a path she never expected. In her mind she was only years from marriage and babies but now she finds herself in a world of one night stands, anxiety and her job on the line. Everything pretty much changes for her in an instant and I couldn't help but feel for her.

This book tackles a variety of topics including racism, mental health issues, childhood trauma, relationships and more and I thought Candice approached each one perfectly. I felt angry on Queenie's behalf everytime a new man she met up with mentioned her race and I just wanted everyone to see her for being so much more than that. She was a character that was bubbly, funny, caring, a good friend, had so much going for her and yet she has to deal with so much crap from people who only see her for how she looks. It was infuriating. Parts of the book like this though really put things into perspective for me and I think that's what is so great about it. As a white person, I'll never experience some of the things she did so I felt this gave me a better understanding and allowed for me to be in her shoes for a while. For other reasons though I could really relate to Queenie. I could understand her want to be wanted, her struggles with anxiety, her ability to self-destruct sometimes. She was frustrating at points but also so honest and believable.

I also think Candice did brilliantly in making all of the characters feel so alive. I hated Queenie's ex Tom at points and he's not even in the book that much! I loved Queenie's friends, Darcy and Kyazike who I genuinely want to be my friends too and I could picture her whole family so clearly. It was such an easy read with each chapter flowing into the next. I also really liked the use of texts and emails throughout which not only broke up some of the bigger chapters but also really meant you got to go into the depths of her relationships with several characters.

Queenie is one of the best books I've read in 2020 and I'd urge everyone to read it. It had me laughing from the first page but also gave me chapters where I just wanted to grab Queenie and hug her. I found it incredibly refreshing to read something so different from all of the other books I've read so far this year and I genuinely feel like it was an education. 

I'm really keen to read more books from black authors so if you have any recommendations, please let me know! 

I'd also love to know if you've read Queenie? If so, what did you think?

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16 comments

Kelly~Diane said...

You've written such a great review. I've been wanting to get my hands on this book for a little while but haven't found in anywhere local yet.

www.thekellydianereport.co.uk

Hannah said...

Great review, and it sounds like this is a book that we should all read right now. I've been meaning to for ages but never got round to it so will make it a priority now!

Lisa's Notebook said...

I keep seeing so many good things about this book but your review is so intriguing that I'm going to add it to my shopping basket shortly and will look forward to reading it very soon - great review, Tiffany, thank you :) Lisa xx

Riana Ang-Canning said...

Thank you so much for this review and for spotlighting a Black author. I keep hearing about Queenie too and now have it downloaded to read on my e-reader. I can't wait!

Sarah Trademark said...

I love reading book reviews! I might have to check this book out xx

Heather Nixon said...

I noticed this book on amazon for 99p today, I'll have to buy it x

Sophie said...

I've been seeing this book everywhere and I've read nothing but good things about it. It's not my typical read but it sounds like a great change. I love the idea of it being like Bridget Jones but deeper. I think I'll need to pick up a copy and see what the fuss is about x

Sophie
www.glowsteady.co.uk

Hannah said...

Okay this book sounds like such a great read! Definitely need to pick this up xx

Hannah | https://luxuryblush.co.uk/

Tiffany Timms said...

Thank you! I really hope you enjoy it too xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Thank you! I really think now is a great time to start it, I already feel like it's taught me something xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Thank you Lisa! xx

Tiffany Timms said...

You're welcome! It felt like a good book to start with and I already feel like I've benefited from it xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Yay me too xx

Tiffany Timms said...

It's such a good deal on kindle at the moment xx

Tiffany Timms said...

I really recommend it. I'd been thinking about buying it for ages but with everything that's happened recently, now felt like a good time to pick it up xx

Tiffany Timms said...

I couldn't recommend it enough, so good! xx

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