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Queenie

Narrated by: Shvorne Marks
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (172 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020
Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award

Queenie Jenkins can't cut a break. Well, apart from one from her long-term boyfriend, Tom. That's definitely just a break, though. Definitely not a breakup. 

Stuck between a boss who doesn't seem to see her and a family who don't seem to listen (if it's not Jesus or water rates, they're not interested) and trying to fit in two worlds that don't really understand her, it's no wonder she's struggling.

She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?

A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on modern life, Queenie will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way.

Perfect for fans of Dolly Alderton, Bryony Gordon and Dawn O'Porter and anyone who loved Fleabag and Dear White People.

©2019 Candice Carty-Williams (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Inspirational, funny and wise." (Kit de Waal, author of My Name Is Leon)

What listeners say about Queenie

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I loved it

This was on my reading list for awhile and it didn’t disappoint. It’s such a relatable and eye-opening story, and I’m so glad I got the audiobook because Shvorne really brought it to life.

2 people found this helpful

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Moving, poignant and great fun!

Moving, poignant and great fun. I've laughed out loud listening to this and been heart broken too. Highly recommended.

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So engaging!

Loved every second. All of the characters were so well developed and the narration was excellent.

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I loved this book!

Great character development. Interesting story with many layers. Highly recommend! x x x x x

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

This is a great book and a great listen! Loved it. Much more than a Bridget Jones diary read. It touches on so much.

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Highly Relatable

I grew up having a lot of the same experiences as Queenie. Having it told with humour and addressing issues we currently face as well as an ending that doesnt just tie it all up in bow made this a very enjoyable read. More like this please.

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A must read

So good . More titles please Candice Carty-Williams. The story and characters were just so well presented ,and overall the book was as funny as a hat full of monkeys.

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cannot stop raving about this book

Everything about this book was perfect except for the reviews - it is NOT like Bridget Jones Diary. It is SO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, other than it's a first person narrative about a woman. It is beautiful, complicated, heartbreaking and completely fantastic. It was not the light read I thought it would be, but I'm actually glad for it. Queenie is truly wonderful, the character and the book. Candice Carty-Williams is a fantastic writer - one who truly knows how to describe things like mental health and its recovery. Shvorne Marks is the perfect narrator. Honestly, if you haven't read this book yet - you're mad. And if you have read it, read it again.

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It’s alright, but could have been more

Even though it was enjoyable, I think the characters in this book could have been more developed. I didn’t really feel a connection and it became a bit predictable in the end. But I think on some levels it was a story that a lot of people can relate to. I think everybody either is or has a Queenie in their life.

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Disfunctional families breed disfunctional kids

What happens in childhood comes back to bite you in adulthood Children marry the wrong people because they are repeating their parents mistakes Queenie had the additional burden of being a minority race in a very racial society I find this racial intolerance hard to understand when the majority race caused the problem in the first place by trading in black slavery!

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  • MsHolistic
  • 02-06-2019

Could relate to so much

the narration is amazing. i feel that people would have a completely different connection with this book if read. would recommend although this heartfelt story can get a bit emotionally heavy in the middle. loved it though.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amyn Bawa-allah
  • 05-07-2020

I need more complicated Black women stories

I enjoyed this book so much and I really enjoyed the narration because it helped me with a lot of the pronunciation. I especially loved the character development of Queenie.

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  • Natalie
  • 21-05-2019

I ended up quite liking it

After my mishap with trying to get a print copy of this book. I decided to do the audible trial and listen to this book for free. Now this is the first time I've listened to a novel in audible form so  this review is a mix of what I think of the book as well as the audible experience. When I started listening I was just excited to experience something different so I was listening every chance I got. I loved that I had some entertainment in traffic as well as being able to listen on my blue tooth while doing housework. However after a while I did get tired of  hearing the narration.  The book itself started off a bit shaky for me because it was beginning to feel like a depressing story of one young woman's poor sexual choices and boyfriend drama. However it turned out to be more than that.This book touched on friendship, mother -daughter and familial relationships, battling anxiety and other complex themes. As I read on I grew to appreciate the backstory of the character and what led up to her decisions. I enjoyed reading about the counselling sessions and I was happy with how the book came together in the end. Not cliched and not depressing. I got lost a couple of times because the author had some flash backs and I couldn't tell right away sometimes what was happening. I think it was mainly because I was listening to the audio version. I still wonder if I had read the book instead of listen to it if that would have affected my degree of enjoyment. Overall I give this book three stars. As for the audible experience, I still have mixed feelings about it but I give it three stars as well. 

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  • Taneshia Deckon
  • 24-04-2020

Disappointing, had potential

The reading was good to some extent although some of the accents were more stereotypical than realistic. The overall story line had something there but was kind of lost with unnecessary texting dialogue, slang and random encounters that were not detailed enough. There was no real character growth or development for instance just skimming over her therapy sessions which could of gone into a lot more detail than her just being full of self-hate and the victim at every encounter. Things such as Brexit, BLM, gentrification and urban dictionary where dashed in to make it seem more up to date and relevant but didn’t really add anything to the story. The racism of the white men throughout the story were cliche and there was an odd moment with the whole story line of “ted” which made no sense. The story ended quite abruptly with no clear indication of what Queenie has learnt through all of it as she was going to revert back to her old ways if it wasn’t for Darcy telling her not to. All the women seem to have men problems and all the men seem to be problems in someway which gave nothing to their characters as they were all just brushed aside in the end. I just felt the whole thing quite juvenile, which was really disappointing as there were so many 5 star reviews. The cover was beautiful and the story line and concept itself was good if it had been more detailed, written and portrayed better. There was no accountability from Queenie and instead she made it about race all the time. She accounted her job problems to race when in reality she didn’t do anything but gossip and bunk most of the time. As a black female I didn’t feel represented or seen but more stereotyped and cliched with no true resolution. There were just too many points the books was trying to touch on but not enough detail about them to really understand them. For instance, not one person who made racist remarks was called out acknowledged and learnt e,g Tom, Tom’s uncle, Courtney etc, she doesn’t like black men from one bad encounter which wasn’t really delved into, no real growth from Queenie herself, except getting her life back on track, and therefore I just couldn’t connect with it as well as I should and made it difficult to enjoy. It is disappointing because I really like the author and I had high hopes for this.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-04-2019

Yess

amazing, a lovely depiction of humour and a black protagonist portrayed as endearing . really recommend this.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Rossanna Carter
  • 24-05-2019

Queenie

This is my first review. I’ve been compelled to write it having enjoyed the book so much. Queenie, whilst predictable, has the quintessential coming of age (in your twenties/thirties) that captures superbly the essence of what it feels to be a woman who has gone through anything that makes you feel like you don’t belong. It balances the need to feel accepted and what makes being a black woman so difficult. For me, I laughed and I felt immensely sad as the parallels with my own life were bought to life by the writer. In so many ways, the feeling that you are not alone is so important. It was refreshing to listen to a story with a black protagonist and was narrated perfectly. There were so many things throughout the story that I found myself laughing aloud to, or predicting coming from a West Indian family which didn’t ever feel cliché. Empowering women is not a phrase I am fully a fan of, but the book does just that. It articulated the things which we go through as women and more specifically as black women without lowering the value of other ethnicities, the labels which are applied to us throughout our lives. I always thought it was just me - until recently and this just reinforces that actually, the things that aren’t spoken about are just hushed by shame. This book opens a discussion on the factors that affect us, both as black women and as women in general. The moments of hope, despair and solitude, that we try so hard not to let others see. It is only as I have reached my thirties that I have come to realise that things are different for black women and the connection that I made made me root even more for our heroine. There’s a Queenie in us all, regardless of colour. Solid 7/7. I look forward to more books by Candice and plan on purchasing a paper copy for my little sister.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Sharon
  • 10-05-2019

Refreshingly Riveting

Narrator is incredible! I inhaled this book in a couple of days. It made me laugh and it made me want to cry. Queenie is relatable, raw, and human! She makes mistakes like the rest of us but didn’t fail to give me a warm dewy feeling when I finished!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-2019

Great Book for Young Black Women

Realistic glimpse into the life of a modern young black woman. Loved This Book ❤️

4 people found this helpful

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  • A Smithy
  • 22-09-2019

Positive mental health

The exploration of mental health and how issues can spiral is a real positive for the novel. It feels very real, while the writing and the voice is top notch. But things do get a touch repetitive in the middle section and a few areas I feel could have been delved into further. I would still recommend as the topics are vitally important to discuss, and I do think Candice is a good writer.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Spidra
  • 08-05-2019

Great! Listened twice!

Shvon's voices brought characters to life. Its lighthearted, relatable and easy read ! I listened twice on Audible and I'm sure I'll listen again

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ms. SD Hoskins
  • 03-05-2019

Honest and real

Loved this book. I think many women would relate to it in this modern day world, regardless of your race. I really enjoyed it and the voice actor was good and gave a good feel for thr characters cultural backgrounds.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Miss Unique
  • 17-05-2020

Tediously Tiresome Traits

The protagonist Queenie is unrelatable and boring. Her best friends seem like more interesting characters...It has a good starting point but then goes downhill. I’m slightly annoyed as I had seen so many 5 star reviews and I wonder, which aspect was 5 star?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs U
  • 01-02-2020

Mixed up mess

I was really looking forward to this but found it hard going and ended up forcing myself to finish it. The main character suffers from relationship and anxiety issues - the result of her as a child witnessing the abuse her mother suffered at the hand of her partner - and her also being target of his verbal abuse. But she does so many stupid things and her friends are awful, her boss and work colleagues are horrible, her ex boyfriend is terrible, all the men she meets are horrendous..... They're all completely vacuous people and for someone with a great journalism job she just doesn't seem very interested in anything. She's got an amazing job but spends her time emailing or on her phone to her friends or chatting. No-one picks her up on this for ages?! Bonkers. She finally signs up for counselling. Unfortunately the reader has already worked out why she is messed up, so waiting while Queenie slowly works out the reasons for her behaviour in her counselling is just stating the obvious. It does pick up slightly towards the end - but that was maybe just because it was the end.

2 people found this helpful