Prompt: A book with a main character in their 20s.
A character’s age has never really been a factor for me when choosing a book. But when I looked at my shelves, I realised that last of my books were either YA which feature characters in their late teens or books that feature older characters. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams is a book that I has seen everywhere so put it on my wish list and was lucky enough to be sent it by a Bookstagram friend. Queenie turns 26 so this was another prompt ticked off.
What it’s about?
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.
What I think:
I’d read some reviews and this seemed to be quite divisive among readers – a real love or hate book. When the paperback was published it seemed to be everywhere so maybe this was a rea tion to the hype.
Queenie is not a likeable character. There is so much that is positive about her – young, black, plus size, political aware – and yet she is also selfish, and whiny and self-sabotaging.
She spends most of the book waiting to get back together with an ex-boyfriend thinking they are on a break and going to resolve their issues, when it is clear to everyone else that is not the case. The flashbacks to their past make it very clear that Tom and Queenie are not well matched and Queenie seems very unhappy.
Queenie’s childhood emerges and it is clear that she is very damaged. By the end of the book she is starting to rebuild her life and get the help she needs. But I wasnt left with a sense that Queenie had really learned that much from her experiences.
Lots of people have tagged this as YA Fiction and although this clearly isn’t the case I can see why. The WhatsApp conversations, lists of resolutions and emails have a young adult feel about them. And there is a sense that Queenie and her friends are just playing at being grownups.
Overall I didn’t love or hate this book. I liked the dialogue and was really pleased that Queenie grew as a person. I found her self- destructive nature and the fact that her friends seemed to enable this quite unappealing. ⭐⭐⭐
You can make up your own mind about Queenie at:
Waterstones: click here
Amazon.co.uk: click here