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September 2019: Cultural > Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams - 4 stars

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Booknblues | 5499 comments The blurb for Queenie by Candice Carty- Williams claims that it is "Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah." While it has elements of both books, I think that it deserves its own identity as that is what Queenie, the protagonist is trying so hard to find. Queenie is a young, twenty-something British woman with Jamaican roots.

Queenie is college educated, is struggling to be a journalist and is falling apart because her boyfriend and her are on a break.

I couldn't help but love Queenie, she tries so hard but like many of us when we were her age, she takes some serious missteps with the opposite sex. There were times I literally wanted to tell her don't do it! I doubt that she would have listened. Her heartbreak is real, but the author at times approaches it with understandable levity:

Diana was with her dad, so instead of having the only other young person to talk to, I was in the spare room under seven duvets that my grandmother had put on me before she went out. I lay there, a constant chain of Ferrero Rocher entering my mouth, watching Love, Actually, a film that usually made me roar with laughter through sheer disbelief when I wasn’t heartbroken.

Queenie is very 21st century, but also very cultural. She shines a spotlight on what it is like to be Black in London. While pitching a story during a meeting Queenie states:

"It’s not putting black lives on a pedestal, I don’t even know what that means,” I said, my heart beating fast. “It’s saying that black lives, at this point, and historically, do not, and have not mattered, and that they should!” I looked first at Gina, then around the room to see if anyone was going to back me up. Instead, I was met with what I’d been trying to pretend hadn’t always been a room full of white not-quite-liberals whose opinions, like their money, had been inherited."

I found Queenie to be eminently readable. I couldn't put it down.

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7700 comments Yes!! So glad you enjoyed it and I think this will be the next audio I listen to.

Booknblues | 5499 comments Nicole R wrote: "Yes!! So glad you enjoyed it and I think this will be the next audio I listen to."

I think it is right up your alley, but Queenie will make you cringe at times..

I look forward to your thoughts on this one. I think it did a really excellent job of presenting a British Black woman's perspective.

A Nicole warning, there is one scene that is very close to rape.

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7700 comments Thanks for the warning! I will be prepared.

Booknblues | 5499 comments Nicole R wrote: "Thanks for the warning! I will be prepared."

I don't think it will be a deal breaker for you, but it is an uncomfortable scene.

message 6: by Joi (new) - added it

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments I've looked at this book a few times, but this review has convinced me I will like it. Added to the TBR.

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7700 comments I am 75% through this and am really liking it. It is so much deeper than you think it is going to be when you start it.

Booknblues | 5499 comments Nicole R wrote: "I am 75% through this and am really liking it. It is so much deeper than you think it is going to be when you start it."

It really is which is why I said it deserved its own identity rather than being billed as a cross between Bridget Jones and Americanah. I think the character Queenie is far more complex than either Bridget or Ifemelu and I like her a lot.

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7700 comments Totally agree. There are certain parts that are very Bridget Jones, like the writing her NY resolutions in her diary! Lol. But the farther I read the more I understand why so many people—you included—have rated it so highly.

Booknblues | 5499 comments It certainly gains depth the further you read it. At the beginning it really feels like it is going to be a light humorous read. The farther you read the more that changes.

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