Pages 336 (hardbound) ~ Gallery/Scout Press
March 19th, 2019 – Adult Contemporary
My Rating: 4.5/5
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.
Note: Thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with the ARC of Queenie in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are all mine.
Queenie is described as being “Bridget Jones meets Americanah.” I haven’t yet read Americanah, but I feel like comparing this book to Bridget Jones doesn’t quite do it justice. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bridget Jones, but while Bridget is dealing with one bad man and silly parents, Queenie is dealing with much more serious issues. It definitely has a similar type of humor and it does deal with Queenie’s many sexual exploits, but underneath the humor, this novel tackles some really heavy and honest issues.
Queenie is a smart, young journalist who wants to use her unique voice to bring awareness to issues that matter to her. Her work as a journalist, so far, has only allowed her to write on trivial matters. But Queenie longs to write about more important topics: Black Lives Matter, police brutality, discrimination, etc. However, Queenie struggles under the weight of this burden because she is simultaneously dealing with the pain of a recent breakup, anxiety, her own racial identity, and a traumatic childhood that she has never really faced. It is painful at times watching her struggle on this journey, but it is also a really hopeful story of self-love, acceptance, friendship, and family.
Queenie’s family and friends were my absolute favorite part of this novel. Her Grandparents (“the water rates!”), her Aunt, her cousin, her mom…they are all such funny, unique, and loveable characters. And I really hope that Queenie’s best friend, Kyazike, is based on a real person because she is just to perfect not to be. I love that each of these characters plays their own unique role in helping Queenie heal.
The therapy sessions were some of the most interesting moments in the novel. We really get inside Queenie’s head here and we also start to see the healing process unfolding. The therapist, Janet, was also such a great balance to Queenie and their dynamic was great to read. I also loved the “Dame it, Janet” Rocky Horror reference. I loved that Queenie ultimately got better due to the therapy, which I think goes a long way in breaking down the stigma that is sometimes attached to therapy.
I relate to so many of Queenie’s struggles, but there is no way that I could possibly relate to all of them. Reading this book opened up a whole new type of understanding for me, and I honestly feel like a better person having read it. I completely believe that everyone will find something worth holding on to in Queenie’s journey.
Queenie comes out March 19!!