Jack Mckeever's Reviews > Queenie

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
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really liked it

Worthy winner of Debut of the Year AND Book of the Year at the 2020 British Book Awards, 'Queenie' is an important book to champion in these times. Not only is it frequently hilarious, dripping with a wry sense of humour that all people of Queenie's generation (she's 25 years old) will appreciate. Carty Williams' unpretentious, accessible writing makes the prose feel a light beam straight into London life for a mid-20's black woman, making all the situations, complexities and heartbreak tangible.

The real beauty of 'Queenie' though is in its timeliness. I've read lots recently which I've tried to highlight the education value of with regards to listening to black voices and experiences, and this is another member of that stream. While Queenie consistently battles with nightmarish occurrences of sexual violence and mental health - both of which Carty-Williams writes about with sure-footed realism - the racial attitudes she confronts permeate life for black people in the UK in reality every day.

Whether at work, with the family of her deeply problematic partner or even with men she's dating, Queenie's life is roll call of calling people out. And alongside focused female empowerment and affecting mental health portrayals, 'Queenie' manifests its discussions of race relations as a call to arms. Everybody needs to challenge any racism they encounter, in any situation. Only then will the futures of people like Queenie (not to mention her 15-year-old cousin Diana) be solidified in the context of wider society, as they obviously should be.

The fast-paced and down-to-earth nature of the prose means that any gripes - occasional dips in interest and some dynamics between her friendship group that I didn't quite believe - dissipated quickly. It's a brilliant, enlightening read that will no doubt be a profound addition to the British canon for years to come.
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Reading Progress

July 5, 2020 – Started Reading
July 5, 2020 – Shelved
July 11, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Jack Greenwood Nail on head Kev

Jack Mckeever Cheers mate, glad you enjoyed the book!
Think you'll be interested in both the books I'm reading at the moment as well. Reviews forthcoming of course.

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