Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 📚

I read a hardback edition of Queenie.

Genre: Contemporary fiction, romance.

Publisher: Trapeze

Originally published: March 19th, 2019

Pages: 400 (hardback)

Audiobook length: 9 hrs and 45 mins.

Synopsis by the publisher:

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.

My thoughts:

When I shared pictures of me reading Queenie on Instagram, I got a couple of DM’s from people asking me if it was true that Queenie was a lot like Bridget Jones’s Diary. I wasn’t aware that the two were being compared before that, but when I finished reading it, I saw that mentioned more and more.
I have to say (even though I think Bridget Jones is good fun and all that) that to compare the two is incredibly unfair to Queenie and to Candice Carty-Williams. Why? Because the two characters are so different! And the two stories are so different! Just because both books are about single women in London, doesn’t make them the same kind of stories.

Queenie is such a complex character and what she’s going through in this book when it comes to mental health and racism goes far deeper than the struggles Bridget Jones was facing in the fear of becoming an old spinster. I’m not saying that loneliness isn’t a subject that can be complicated and emotional, but Bridget Jones is not a book about mental health, at least not in my opinion.
And the big difference between the two is also that in Queenie we have a story that goes to some quite dark places, and that was something that I really appreciated with this story.

Dating in this modern age, with people walking around with all their own kind of bagage and own sets of issues, it can be difficult, challenging, hearbreaking and just downright frustrating and (at times) impossible to wrap your head around.
I’ve been there, and I know a lot of people have, and that’s why I think so many fall in love with Queenie and relates to her character so much. Even though you haven’t gone through the exact same experiences as she has, it is still easy to fing emotions and frustrations to relate to.

Queenie and her friends will make you frustrated at times when you read about the choices that they make (like having lots of unprotected sex and choosing dating partners that clearly isn’t a good match), but that is also what makes these characters feel more real. They make mistakes, they are imperfect, and they are trying so hard to navigate through a complicated and weird time in this world and their lives.

Queenie is a book with lots of humor, cringe worthy moments, diversity, exploration of mental health, friendships, love, and relationships for good and for bad.
It explores darkness and brightness and is also extremely entertaining! You can’t help but root for Queenie!

I would highly recommend Queenie to those readers out there who likes more complex and complicated contemporary/romance fiction. But it is not for the faint of heart! It was quite sexually graphic, and as I mentioned, it does go some pretty dark places, so that’s something to be aware of when going into this story.

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I’ve Been Uneducated and Naive. I’m Sorry!

A wake up call!

Over the last few weeks, our focus around the world has had a major shift from pandemic to racism and Black Lives Matter.

I wish that the reality was that we didn’t need this movement. That we as people understood that all lives matter, no matter how they look, where they come from, or how they define themselves. But the truth of the matter is that this is a movement that should’ve been bigger a long time ago. It should’ve gotten the attention it’s gotten now way sooner.
The fact that so many black men and women had to die before we got to where we are now is so sad and hard to swallow.

I’ve had the luxury of growing up as white, in a country where racism isn’t as showcased and as visibly frequent as it is in many other countries. And because of that, I’ve made the mistake of being naive and uneducated on the subject. For this, I am truly sorry!

I’ve always known that racism was alive, but I haven’t spent enough energy and time on educating myself on the subject or being the best ally that I could be.
This is going to change. As a book blogger and BookTuber, I need to prioritize reading more books about the subject, but also to read broadly by choosing books written by black authors. I need to be a more diverse reader on so many levels.
I also need to sit down and watch the documentaries and have the conversations and discussions that are uncomfortable.

I need to stand up for others and use my voice whenever I come across racism.
I’m ashamed when I think about how many times I’ve heard family members tell racist jokes that made me cringe on the inside, and yet I didn’t say a word. I’m sorry about that too!

I will work harder and do better, not just right now, but for the rest of my life. I will put in the work and the time, and I wish I’d have done it sooner.
I’m sorry that I’ve allowed myself to keep quiet! I’m sorry that I haven’t educated myself more! I’m sorry that I didn’t realize just how bad this is before now!

And I know that a few apologies from my little corner of the internet don’t change much, but it’s a start. It’s a start that so many of us need to make.
As I mentioned, I wish we didn’t have to be here, but now that we are, I’m grateful for the wake up call! I definitely needed it, and I know that I’m not alone in this!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (REVIEW)

To Kill a Mockingbird definitely falls into the category of classics and it’s been on my to-read list for some time now. I finally had the time to get through it now and I have no trouble seeing why this novel won the Pulitzer Prize.

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The story is set in Maycomb, Alabama, (1933-1935) and is written from the perspective of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, the youngest member of the Finch-family. She lives with her father Atticus and brother Jeremy Atticus “Jem”. 

In the beginning of the story Scout is six years old and starts school. On Jem and Scout’s way to school they pass the Radley place where “Boo” Radley lives. Few have seen him over the years and the kids of Maycomb feed their imagination with stories and theories as to who Boo is and why he doesn’t come out of his house. They even conspire with their friend Dill to try to lure him out of his house.

The town judge appoints Atticus to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white girl. This starts a chain of events and both Scout and Jem struggles to not get into trouble trying to defend their father.

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I found the character Scout to be interesting. The way she has been brought up in a society where they’re taught that black people are not the same and not with the same rights as the white and now must question it all.

Atticus tries his best to teach his kids about justice and not judging people by their color even though so many do.

Scout and Jem are bullied at school and other places in town because of the upcoming trial and they find ways to protect and support each other through it.

To Kill a Mockingbird is an amazing story of family, love, justice and prejudice. It is hear breaking and lovely at the same time. A book that made me extremely emotional. Had me laughing, angry and at the verge of tears.

five-stars

An important novel that tells the cruelty of racism and even though the storyline is set in the 30s this is still an important issue. I absolutely loved the writing, the story and the characters! Definitely recommend it!

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A couple of my favorite quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird: 

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

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If you would like your own copy of To Kill a Mockingbird you can CLICK HERE or on the picture below:

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Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? What did you think? And do you have other favorite classics?