Friday 21 August 2020

Queenie | Book Review

I finally did it! After two months of not reading anything other than kids books to Charlie at bedtime, I finally read a book. Plus my final book for my 2020 reading goal!

With the Black Lives Matter movement earlier on in the year, many people made a point of reading more books from Black authors. Over the years, I have never thought to check on the ethnicity of the authors of my books. Often times I don't even pay attention to the name of the author, unless I really loved a book and wanted to read more from them. As someone who has grown up anti-racist, I was pretty shocked when I realised that all of the authors on my bookshelf were white. So I decided to change that. Unfortunately I do still currently only own one book that is from a Black or PoC author but I do have others on my wishlist and will be making my way through them!

This month, I made it my mission to finally pick up another book, and that book was Queenie. I hadn't really read the blurb, or any reviews and didn't really have any idea what it was about. I'm very much one of those people who think if I see it on instagram a lot, I should probably get it. Sometimes that works out terribly, but most of the time it works well.

Queenie is a twenty-five-year-old Black woman living in south London, straddling Jamaican and British culture whilst slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper where she's constantly forced to compare herself to her white, middle-class peers, and beg to write about Black Lives Matter. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie finds herself seeking comfort in all the wrong places.

As Queenie veers from one regrettable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be? - the questions that every woman today must face in a world that keeps trying to provide the answers for them.

I immediately liked Queenie. She very much reminded me of a Black Bridget Jones - the whole book very much had a Bridget Jones's Diary feel to it, but with that 2020 edge. It had a much darker approach - mental health issues, every day racism and sexual brutality being the majority of it.

I loved being taken along on Queenie's journey - I honestly think she's one of my favourite characters so far this year. She's funny, she's relatable, she's strong. She's a Black, feminist icon and I stan.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who needs a little more insight into the daily life of Black women. Although it's not an autobiography, it could easily be treated as one. I have no idea if Candice Carty-Williams based Queenie on herself and her own life, but I'm damn sure some of Queenie's experiences matched her own.

Until next time,
Saph x

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