Where to start with Queenie? The offering by Candice Carty-Williams seems simple at first. Come and hear the story of a 20-something South London young woman with a Jamaican heritage. My interest is piqued, and I’m ready!

Cover of Queenie

Immediately on reading you begin to realise that all is not well in Queenie’s world, and a significant part of the novel is about her, her reactions to events around her, her inability to make good decisions and her journey towards self-healing.

There were portions of this novel that made me want to shake Queenie into some sense, but fundamentally this novel is about Queenie and we are merely invited to watch. There were moments where Carty-Williams fingertips hit the mark, particularly with some of the patois coming through. The way the text messages are included is also a nice touch given that it is firmly set in the digital age.

I admit that I probably would have enjoyed this novel more when I was a lot (read 8-10 yrs) younger, but still I think there is value in looking back at the foibles of youth and recognising how far we all come in the end from our younger days.

Finally, it is absolutely worth a read – it is dark in sections due to the themes raised, but these need to be discussed to make it real.

My review on goodreads doesn’t go into much more detail, but have at it. A fair few dissenting views – not a bad thing!

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