Trapeze Books April 2019 (Hardback)
Sometimes I feel frantic. And I feel like everything has just spun out of control, out of my hands? I don’t know. I feel a bit like for a while I have been carrying ten balls of wool. And one ball fell, so I dropped another to catch it, but still didn’t catch it. Then two more started to unravel, and in trying to save those I lost another one. Do you know what I mean?
Meet Queenie Jenkins
Journalist / Catastrophist / Expressive / Aggressive / Funny / Dramatic / Loved / Lonely / Enough
A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on life, love, race and family. Queenie will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity, and rooting for an unforgettable character.
Well I met Queenie, a strong but flawed character working her way through life. An intelligent, young black woman we meet her as she is going through a sad break up with her white boyfriend. The story is about her struggles to cope with this, supported by her complicated but endearing family and her fabulous group of friends. But this is the story of a black woman living in London, trying to ‘fit in’ but being unique, and trying to embrace this uniqueness while not necessarily wanting to be treated different. Her experiences of being black and the fairly constant ‘low level’ racism was an eye opener. Some of her experiences I could relate to as a woman but being a black woman in London seemed exhausting at best. Comments, made in ignorance were common, about her skin colour, her hair, her shape and I hadn’t appreciated how much this is a daily experience for women of colour living in England. This book offered a valuable insight into gender and race and I found it helpful and thought provoking as well as sad and at times shocking.
As a book about women this was entertaining and empowering, Queenie is largely supported by the women in her life, her friends, her family and her friend at work. She is sharp and honest and is sensitive to slights and injustices. Two of her friends in particular were great, loyal and supportive, but I liked the way she managed her longer term friend who at best was tricky, often caustic but someone Queenie was true to. The complexities in this friendship played out well and I found myself admiring Queenie in her strength.
And strength was a theme throughout the book. At times I found myself cross with Queenie as her life unravelled following the break up but for me she always remained a sympathetic and likeable character. A great read that I purchased because I fell in love with the stunning Waterstones signed special edition hardback, a great purchase of a book I enjoyed. Recommended by me.
About the Author
Candice Carty-Williams is a marketer, author and journalist based in London. Born in 1989, the result of an affair between a Jamaican cab driver and a Jamaican-Indian dyslexic receptionist, Candice worked in the media before moving into publishing aged 23. In 2016, Candace created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, in a Penguin Books WriteNow mentor, and she also contributes regularly to Refinery29, BEAT Magazine, the Guardian and i-D. Queenie is her first novel.
She can be found on Twitter at @CandiceC_W