By Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie is a novel that takes you by surprise, because while it’s funny and bold in a very likeable and entertaining way, it’s also brutally honest and at times heartbreaking. A young black woman whose life is falling apart, Queenie is nursing a broken heart by sleeping with any man who asks (and there are lots of those). Her low self-esteem is not an unfamiliar theme in chick lit, but her issues with how she’s perceived as a black woman – at work, in relationships, in friendships – make this novel a real eye-opener.
As Queenie’s life spirals out of control, we start to understand the reasons why she sleeps with men who don’t care about her and struggles to hold down her job. The assumptions that people often make about her as a young black woman and the advantage they take of this are laid bare with often devastating consequences. If the Black Lives Matter protests have made you want to find out more, this is a refreshingly bold, funny and modern novel that does not pull its punches.
And there are many laughs too, the funniest bits involving her group of girl mates The Corgies, and some of Queenie’s dating app escapades – the dialogue is hilarious. And be warned: it’s also sexually graphic – not in a raunchy way, but just in terms of Queenie’s bluntness about the situations she finds herself in. Queenie is billed as the modern version of Bridget Jones but it’s way, way more than that.