Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams, is a must-read that not only reflects the reality of police brutality toward Black boys and men, it also reflects the sexual brutality many Black girls face. The book also touches on mental health and finding one’s confidence and footing after a great deal of trauma.
One sad thing about the book is the way Queenie settles for things. For instance, she settles for men who don’t satisfy her physically because she gets comfort or escapism in return. She eventually snaps out of this unhealthy phase with the support of her folks, friends, and her own comatose warrior spirit.
The book also delves into the reality that when strong women are not careful with whom they give their hearts to, their whole being and spirit is shattered by careless and manipulative partners. Putting the pieces back together or trying to piece things back to the way they were or better than before usually takes up an immense amount of willpower. Queenie’s mom and Queenie herself share this experience, although as an abandoned child, Queenie raised herself mostly.
Queenie’s grandparents stepped in her upbringing at one point. Her family are tough people, but mental health is taboo for their generation. They deal with their issues by working hard, sticking to weekly routines, and by avoiding psychologists. The irony is that her family still puts family practice doctors on a pedestal regardless of their staunch stance of not talking about mental health.
Heart or blood pressure problems? Sure, let the good doctor tell us what needs to be done–even if he no longer practices medicine and has become a restaurant owner. Anything else? Forget it. Their attitude leads me to believe that they only put on a strong façade regardless of what life throws at them. However, they soon realize that they don’t have to act tough. They start accepting Queenie’s choice to seek mental health help. Her progress in therapy and recovery change her grandparents’ perspective a little. And that’s a start.
Overall, Queenie is a great read a four out of five stars. Add it to your reading list today.