A special thank you to NetGalley, BookishFirst, Gallery/Scout Press, and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Meet Queenie Jenkins—a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman who is straddling two heritages and trying find her place. She has just been dumped by her long-time white boyfriend and is on notice at work where she is constantly comparing herself to her white middle class peers.
Needless to say, Queenie is not in a good frame of mind and she is making some pretty awful decisions concerning who she spends her free time with and with whom she is seeks comfort from.
Carty-Williams has written an honest account of one woman's struggle, which sadly many women can relate to, and at the same time, given us a character to root for. Unfortunately Queenie's story isn't unique, there are many women out there struggling with issues of sexism, racism, and self-acceptance. She is a modern woman trying to navigate her way through a messy break-up, figuring out where she fits in, and learning that her self-worth does not come in the form of toxic relationships.
Queenie is so much more than Bridget Jones, and I don't mean that as a slight to Helen Fielding's brilliant heroine, but there is no comparison. Bridget is a funny, awkward and endearing character that journals her life in cheeky entries, whereas Queenie is a more series character with incredible depth. There is also a heaviness about the book and again, this is another reason why a Bridget Jones comparison is doing this novel a disservice.
I adored her grandparents, especially her grandfather (and those of you who have read this book will know what scene I am referring to). What I didn't like was that the author uses Queenie's promiscuity as a symptom of her anxiety and I'm not sure that this is entirely accurate—I think that it is rather a symptom of her lack of self esteem.
What is also interesting is that Carty-Williams makes no apologies for Queenie, nor should she. She is a bold, brash, and flawed character who at times does some really unlikeable things. But we keep pulling for her.
Carty-Williams explores identity, racism, mental health and what its like to be a young woman in the dating scene in the age of technology. She tackles some daunting social issues and uses Queenie's humour and solid supporting cast of friends/grandparent to keep the story from getting too dark.