Queenie | My Thoughts

Birds eye view of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams book, pink cover, on a bedsheet that is white with black cat outlines on it.

The last time I sat down and read a whole book that wasn't poetry was when I was pregnant, since then I always made excuses about how I didn't have time, but the truth is, I never found the right book to kick-start my passion for reading again, that was until, I picked up Queenie. 

This is very new to me, I wouldn't call this a full book review per say, but I enjoyed the book so much and I have a thousand thoughts on Queenie that I couldn't not write about it. 

Warning! This post WILL contain spoilers, so if you haven't read the book yet and don't want it spoiled for you, please do not read any further, this is your warning that I will be talking about important plot points, characters and twists I didn't see coming. Again, you have been warned. 

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's dive in! 

When I settled down on a Monday night after little bear went to sleep, ready to read Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, I never expected that my passion for reading would be fired up in the way it has. I had read lots of good things about the book, careful to avoid spoilers though, so I had a rough idea that I may enjoy the story but I more than enjoyed it, I was captivated and could happily read about Queenie and her life for hours on end. I will admit, I wasn't fully hooked until around chapter 8 but I was only reading about a chapter a night so when Saturday came along and little bear went to dads, I had more time to settle down and really get stuck in. Come Sunday lunch time I had read the entire book which I was very pleased about considering I’m a really slow reader. When it ended, I was lost, there was no more story and I'm desperately hoping that Candice will write a sequel.

Synopsis

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.


Close up photo of the book Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams on a white bedside table next to a Costa take away cup

Before I talk about plot points and certain thoughts I have on them, I want to talk about some of the characters. 

Darcy At first, I was a little unsure of Darcy as I didn't know how she would progress but overall, I really liked her. I liked the dynamic between Queenie and Darcy, although at times I feel she could have been softer, their friendship reminded me of mine and my friend Linda from college, always there for me and hitting me with some hard truths from time to time. Their tea and talk times were great, I could picture the setting in my mind with them trying to slink away during work to have a natter and it being a welcomed break in the day. 

KyazikeI absolutely loved Kyazike! Her stories of men in her life were great and the way Candice described the setting in the flat with Queenie doing Kyazike's hair were vivid, it was as if I was in the room with them listening to the interact. I also really liked her no-nonsense personality and how proud she is to be a Black woman, the part when they were at the Black Lives Matter march was one of my favourite points from the book. I could feel the atmosphere as I read and imagined being there as Kyazike pulled a megaphone from nowhere, leading the crowd in a chant. I also really liked her honesty and the part where she was taking no shit from Ted or the man who selectively chose to defend him rather than Queenie. Overall, she is in my top 3 characters from the book.

Tom I really wanted to shake Queenie in her pining for Tom because he was obviously disconnected and had no intentions of getting back together with Queenie at all. He defended the blatant racism from his family and even made Queenie feel like she was at fault for standing up for herself, he let the casual racism slide and actively tried to avoid the subject, gaslighting Queenie the entire time. He knew what she was like personality wise and what came with dating her, that seemed obvious and although I feel like Queenie could have been a little more open with him, it's no wonder she wasn't when you read about how he would respond to things. I'm glad they didn't end up back together. And as for his BS excuse of "I thought we would see how each other were after three months" there is no way in which that was clear! He made it seem like they would revisit their relationship.

Cassandra - Although the men in this story were quite clearly the worst, Cassandra is up there with them. I just wanted Queenie to bin her when she showed up to the celebration dinner at the end because how she behaved was disgusting. She literally chose a man who was the worst over her best friend and that made me hate her, she said awful things to Queenie which were uncalled for and treated people as less than. I so wanted Kyazike to "handle it" in the last chapter at the dinner, I wanted her to sling her out on her backside and tell her to eff off, so Queenie is a better woman than I as I would have said go for it when Kyazike asked. 

Ted When Kyazike swung for Ted outside work when he would leave Queenie alone, I was literally JUMPING with excitement, Ted annoyed me the whole time. At first, he was clingy, trying to say all the right words and showing Queenie a bit too much attention which was sketch from the start but when he had his way with her and then binned her off, proceeding to then try and get her fired... NOPE! I could have jumped into the book and rattled him, the sad thing is, there are so many men out there like that and it's disgusting. And the kicker was when we found out he had a wife... A WIFE, and she was PREGNANT... Oaft, I was not expecting it.

GuyI have known a Guy in my time, and they are literally the worst. He had no regards for anyone but himself, he played Queenie and Cassandra, all whilst somehow dickmatising Cassandra into believing him and moving, like, what?! He was awful and I just, I can't. He was all about himself, very selfish, didn't own his mistakes, didn't care and I felt like this character really could have been plucked out of the book and personality applied to several men I've known over the years.

QueenieLast but by no means least, Queenie herself. From the get-go I could empathise with Queenie on the boy drama, wanting someone who was letting go, wanting things to change and the feeling in the pit of the stomach hitting hard each time you think of them. I'll be candid here, when I was 18 I went through a bad break up which absolutely broke me, we lost a child together and it killed me inside and unlike Queenie and Tom, this man knew about it but didn't open up with me nor show any emotions which led to arguments and him leaving when I pressed the matter. After that I was on a downward spiral and crashing fast. I made my way through a few men, one-night stands, anything to numb the pain and parting every weekend which ultimately left me feeling deflated. Reading Queenies story opened up a few old wounds when I saw some of the behaviour, I exhibited staring back at me from the pages. I really felt her pain through the whole story, wanting to jump in and cuddle her, drowning our sorrows in comfort food and crying over the silliness of the predicament. I felt like the character was fully realised, there was a lot of depth and complexity which was great. I'm not really a huge reader, well, I wasn't, but I hadn't ever read a story containing a character that felt as real as Queenie did, Candice has done an excellent job of descriptive writing that has so much emotion there. Although I am not a Black Woman and will never be able to understand what it means to be, I was able to connect with Queenie in another way whilst learning about the struggles of what it means to be a Black Woman, I had some idea, but my eye were opened some more which has me hungry to learn as much as I can now.

Okay, so if you are still with me by this point, I'm impressed because I know I have rambled on, but I did say I had some thoughts. Now that I have talked about the characters, it's time to touch upon some of the plot points that I enjoyed. 

Close up photo of the book Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams on a white bedside table next to a Costa take away cup

One of the big twists of the story was that Guy, the welsh man who Queenie had been sleeping with actually turned out to be Cassandras Guy, the one she was so eager for her family and Queenie to meet at Hanukkah. I did not see it coming, it sort of blind-sided me and crept up in a way that left my jaw on the floor. The fact that Cassandra had been in the Corgis group chat, reading everything Queenie had to say about the welsh guy, knowing how much of a complete ass he was and STILL decided that she was cutting Queenie out and moving with him gets my blood boiling. The man was awful, he was cheating on Cassandra, he knew what he was doing and yet Queenie had no idea, literally none but was still made out to be the devil practically is confusing. Cassandra is a terrible friend, I just had no time for her after that and when she was so cruel with her words to Queenie, I was dying for Kyazike to fly through the door and give her a good right hook.

Although I knew it was coming and found this to be the most obvious part of the book, it still really annoyed me to learn that Tom had a new girlfriend. I could see the warning signs, everything pointed towards Queenie and Tom not getting back together but when the part in the book came around, I found my heart aching for Queenie. It was horrible learning that he had moved on with no real warning to Queenie, well, no real out in the open talk sort of warning, but I expected it to come when he wasn't answering her. I find the excuse he gave really silly, saying that he thought they would see how each other were feeling after three months, not talk about their relationship and what would happen. I get the feeling Tom knew it was over when Queenie was moving out, like he had the next girl lined up but tried to "soften the blow" for Queenie and didn't make himself clear enough, giving her false hope and months of mental torture.


Like I said when I was talking about the characters at Teds part, I really was taken by surprise when I learned that Ted was married. There were no warning signs to it, not to me anyway, I even re-read Ted and Queenies interactions just to see if I could figure it out, but he literally didn't give anything away. He was very clingy, very pushy and very much a creep, I genuinely thought that he was fetishizing Queenie, but never that he was married, and had a child on the way! The whole Ted situation left me wanting to shake some sense into Queenie, even before I knew he was married with a kid on the way, I disliked him a lot.

When Queenie was trying out the dating apps again to get over Tom and prove to herself it could be more than sex, swearing it would only be dating to begin with, I was full of hope that she would meet a nice guy who would show her not all men are A-holes, but oh how wrong was I. Balding Alpha gave good chat, he lured her in only to be fetishizing Queenie and be a full on racist. I guess the romantic in me wanted Queenie to have one good encounter with a decent man, she deserved it, but she was met with an absolute w**k stain of a human.

I have so many more thoughts, I have lots of notes written and points I wanted to touch on, but I can see the post is getting rather long now so I'll stop it here. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the story was great from start to finish, the characters had depth and the plot was nicely thought out, I was hooked. I can't recommend Queenie enough, if you haven't read it yet, please consider picking up a copy because it was very enthralling.

Have you read it? What are your thoughts?

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3 comments

  1. This is a very comprehensive description of the book, and it sounds really interesting! I haven't picked up a book for a while now and this sounds right up my street.

    Come pay day later this week I'll be grabbing myself a copy!

    Em x
    www.emsworldblog.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love your thoughts on the book, it sounds like a page-turner. I'm intrigued, I think I need to pick up a copy myself now. Thank you for sharing dear.

    Tx. // Tajinder Kaur

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  3. So many people keep posting this book, I was really intrigued to learn more about it. Though I haven't read it and you gave real spoilers but I would still love to read it!

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