Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie is the last slice of cake you have been saving for after dinner, a long-awaited treat!
The front cover image is a sketch of a young black woman, with all her braids expertly in a high bun. Seeing that representation in book stores alone is so affirming.
On appearances you would think Queenie is your average 25 year old Londoner – juggling dating, friends, work, love, family and life.
As you get deeper into the book; you begin to understand why Queenie always braces herself for the worst case scenario. I don’t want to give too much away as I encourage you to read it for yourself.
What really stands out is that mental health within the Black community is being shone under a much-needed spotlight.
The line that lives rent-free in my head is what Queenie’s Jamaican grandfather tells her “I could see the fear and the resignation. I thought you’d given up. But you didn’t let it take you. You’re full of fight Queenie.”
This resonated, because her grandfather is from a generation who “just prayed the pain away” and can see that it doesn’t work.
A lot of adults who grew up in Caribbean and African families in the UK can relate. How can you explain sadness when you don’t understand it yourself?
My favourite characters are her school friend Kyazike and her 15 year old cousin Diana.
They are both so funny, endearing and loyal to Queenie. They remind Queenie how loved and appreciated she is daily. Especially during the times she doesn’t always love herself fully.
I enjoyed that Queenie is a flawed character; and that her growth isn’t in a straight line, there were times I wanted to grab and yell at her!
I also love the attention to detail to all the little nooks and crannies in London; in particular Crystal Palace. The walk up to the train station is no joke!
It’s a raw novel (as well as an award winning novel) which will leave you crying, laughing and in deep contemplation in a blink of an eye.
I am jealous of those who are yet to read it.
There are so many initiatives and charities advocating for black mental health.
If you want to learn more or need some support; here are some resources..
Sistah Space is an organisation that supports African heritage women and girls who have suffered abuse, if you can please donate as they do such wonderful work.
Black Men’s Health UK is bridging the gap and bringing awareness that Black men in the UK often face unfair treatment when it comes to their physical and mental health.
Our Naked Truth is a collective creative space celebrating for non-binary and self idetifying womxn, started by Jocelyn Yeobah-Newton.
They recently raised over £10,000 to provide black sxsters access to therapy. They are driving to reach £20,000 if you are in a position to share or donate please go here.
The BAATN is the largest network community of counsellors and therapists of Black, African, Asian and Carribean heritage in the UK.
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