a confronting, feminist novel

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Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams is a book about a woman of color living in modern day London. She is a Jamaican-Brit, funny and likable. The book opens with so much humor and joy, showing us the relationships between Queenie, her girlfriends and her grandparents. Right from the beginning I liked her and found myself hoping tht she would find her path, because it is apparent that she is a bit lost in life.

Queenie has recently broken up with her boyfriend Tom, but is refusing to face it as a permanent situation. She makes bad choices. She treats herself poorly. Queenie begins having unprotected sex with many men. Some of them lead to dangerous situations where the sex is brutal. At one point she visits a doctor to be checked for STDS and the medical staff are convinced she was raped. And, yet, she continues to make the same choices. This is not a light read.

Queenie is complex and real. She deals with severe anxiety and is most certainly depressed. But untreated, she chooses alcohol, food and sex. We see her relationship with Tom through her memories and find that the relationship wasn't very healthy either. Tom's family is racist and treats Queenie terribly but he refused to stand up for her. But Queenie doesn't seem to hold him responsible at all, which makes it clear that she has a poor self-image.

The book overshares. It is often hard to take -- making me cringe. Shocking me. Angering me, even. But it is impactful. The humor used by Queenie's friends is a really good way to lighten the pain of what is happening to her.

This character is bold, complex and modern. The story explores racism and feminism. And so, it is a true modern story.