Queenie: Book summary and reviews of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie

by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams X
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2019
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Bridget Jones's Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

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.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, "What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?" - all of the questions today's woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With "fresh and honest" (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today's world.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"Candice Carty-Williams' first novel, Queenie, has a lot going for it. Her characters are excellent; each feels unique and fully fleshed-out - real-life people with genuine relationships between them. The dialog in particular is stellar, and the author's use of text bubbles and e-mail communication between the characters was perfect. Also, as advertised, it's very funny at times, with the author's outstanding use of dialog playing a key role in conveying the humor.

The novel has its flaws, though - too many for me to feel like I can recommend it. Oddly, the number one reason I didn't think the book was great was the fact that the publisher's blurb about it compared it to Americanah, and as such I couldn't help but compare the two as I read, with Queenie falling flat. Americanah was a revelation to me; it helped awaken me to my own subtle prejudices and, I'd like to hope, make me a better person. Queenie, on the other hand, simply made me think, "Well, these people are awful" and move on; the author's stroke was way too broad.

In addition, the protagonist was a mess, seeking validation from truly horrible men and putting herself in dangerous circumstances (e.g., inviting a guy she met at a party back to her flat for consensual sex that turned so rough the doctor at her next exam thought she was being abused). Frankly it got old having her lurch from one escapade to another; her behavior started out very bad and just stayed at that level, never really getting worse, with the narrative having her plateau right at the start and just stay there throughout the majority of the book, not reaching the turning point until about 75% of the way through. It may have been a more interesting book had her decline been more gradual.

The author attempted to make the story more relevant by including a bit about the Black Lives Matter movement, but this felt like an afterthought and the subject wasn't fully explored. Toward the end of the book the protagonist did seem to be turning her life around, but it happened way too late; I'd lost interest long before then." - Kim Kovacs


Other Reviews
"Starred Review. A black Bridget Jones, perfectly of the moment." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. This is an essential depiction of life as a black woman in the modern world, told in a way that makes Queenie dynamic and memorable." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Fast moving and with a strong sense of Queenie's London, this entertains while tackling topics like mental health and stigma, racism and tokenism, gentrification, and the isolation of social-media and dating-app culture. This smart, funny, and tender debut embraces a modern woman's messiness." - Booklist

"Meet Queenie Jenkins, a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman who works for a London newspaper, is struggling to fit in, is dealing with a breakup, and is making all kinds of questionable decisions. In other words, she's highly relatable. A must read for '19." - Woman's Day

"Brilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking." - Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

"My favourite novel this year. Queenie is the sort of novel you just can't stop talking about and want everyone you know to read. Snort your tea out funny one moment and utterly heart breaking the next, (and with the best cast of characters you'll read all year), I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to read whatever Candice writes next. If there is anything right in the world, Candice Carty-Williams is going to be a literary superstar." - AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs. Bird

"This book isn't even out yet and people are talking about it. Written by a new and exciting young woman, it's articulate, brave and, in the new parlance, 'woke.' Funny, wise, and of the moment, this book and this writer are the ones to watch." - Kit de Waal, author of My Name is Leon

"Candice gives so generously with her joy, pain and humour that we cannot help but become fully immersed in the life of Queenie - a beautiful and compelling book." - Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)

The information about Queenie shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Candice Carty-Williams

Candice Carty-Williams is a Senior Marketing Executive at Vintage. In 2016, she created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, which aims to find, champion, and celebrate Black, Asian, and minority ethnic writers. She contributes regularly to Refinery29 and i-D, and her pieces have been shared globally, especially those about blackness and sexuality. Queenie is her first novel.

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