BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams [in Booklist]

Candice Carty-Williams and Shvorne Marks are quite the dynamic duo: a debut novelist gets paired with a first-time narrator for spectacular results. Hailed (rather lazily) as the black Bridget Jones, Queenie decidedly deserves center-stage without expedient comparisons. As a Jamaican British 25-year-old Londoner, Queenie’s darker skin alone guarantees complications in how she’s treated by others – whether she’s ignored, disrespected, fetishized, violated – especially by men.

Recently separated from her white lover, Queenie quickly succumbs to self-destructive behavior, using meaningless sex to quell her demons. Despite the best efforts of “The Corgis” – the group chat name for her best friends – Queenie continues to spiral downward. Being suspended from her journalism job forces her to seek professional guidance in facing her destructive past filled with abandonment and abuse.

British actor Marks embraces a full roster of ages, ethnicities, accents, and backgrounds with obvious relish; she is especially effective as Ugandan British BFF Kyazike, precocious teen cousin Diana, and the no-nonsense immigrant grandmother. The millennial experience gets aurally enhanced with the addition of techno-whooshing and pinging as messages fly, chats continue, and emails pile up. Marks’ spirited performance commands absolute attention.

Review: “Media,” Booklist Online, June 20, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2019


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