Hi my loves,
Here’s September’s book reviews!
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
I’m a little iffy about rating this book because I don’t feel like I have the right to try and rate or critique it, put simply. I’ll try and keep this constructive.
Queenie is about a 25 year old Jamaican British woman living in London who struggles to fit into either of the cultures she’s been born into. She breaks up with her long-term white boyfriend, Tom, and doesn’t really know what to do in life afterwards without him. We accompany her on her journey to self discovery and identity as she tries to figure out who she is and what she wants to do with her life, and the many struggles she faces along the way as a woman of colour.
A thing I liked about this book was the quirky text message sequences we got to read between Queenie and and whoever throughout – I was thoroughly enjoying the book for the first 100 pages, until we were shown a text message argument that Queenie started with her boyfriend Tom where in my opinion she was being very silly and childish, and from that point onwards things just started to go downhill for me, as I found Queenie to be a bit of an annoying character, especially regarding the decisions she made from that point onwards.
You could argue that that’s the whole point, and I don’t disagree, however, it just became…unenjoyable to read. There was also a lot of, in my opinion, unnecessary sexual activity going on in this book. I’m not a prude by any means but the countless sexual stories we’re told about (in great detail, may I add) just did not add anything to the storyline for me and I just kept thinking…why are we being told about this? Did we need to know this? After what seemed to be the 8 millionth time of hearing the same thing, I just felt like okay, that’s enough now.
It all felt very repetitive for me and I just thought this book could have done a lot more in terms of focusing on Queenie’s development and journey to self-discovery, it felt like 90% of the book was about sex, poor decision making and Queenie acting immature. I sympathised with her but…yeah. This just wasn’t it for me.
Still a 3 star because the actual book itself wasn’t bad, I just felt like Queenie as a character could have been written better. The plot just seemed very childish and was too highschool drama-ish for me.
Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates
A book that has been on my TBR for the longest time and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. Everyday Sexism focuses on the important conversation that we must all have about how sexism has become such a normal part of our everyday lives and engrained into our society. So informative and really covers the discussion of sexism in a way that isn’t preachy and is accessible to all. If you read this book and still come out at the end of it with no understanding of sexism then well, I don’t know what to tell you.
I had to sit and read certain parts out loud to myself to really make sure I absorbed all of the all of the information that was being given to me and it was shocking to hear the things that were coming out of my mouth, because of course this book isn’t fiction. Hearing myself say these words made everything all that more shocking and real.
As a woman from the UK I liked that this was set in the UK and based around that information because of course, it then makes it incredibly relevant to me. It was such a heartbreaking and horrifying read and made me feel so angry, yet also incredibly empowered because this is the world we live in and it’s not okay and something has to change . It mades me want to fight. It made me feel fierce and strong and ready.
The one thing I will say is that this book was originally published in 2014 and so the statistics and information included in it is a little dated in that regard, so it’s important for me to also read things that are more recent as well, which I will be doing.
I wrote a whole separate blogpost on this book because this is definitely a conversation that needs to be taken further and so, click here for that.
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
I mentioned in my Kindle book haul that I was really excited to read this book and thought I was going to love it and well, I was right.
Set in Florida in 1928, this novel follows our main protagonist Janie Crawford, a black woman embarking on her life journey and the 3 marriages she has along the way. She’s not a woman to be held down by anything and as she goes throughout life she figures this out. She wants to experience true love and the things she dreamed about when she was young, though she finds that as she gets older this isn’t the case for her, but she’s tired of having things decided for her and decides to try and become her own woman.
This book was released in 1937 and was out of print for almost 30 years due to the backlash and rejection it received for having a strong black female as the protagonist. It was finally re-released in 1978 and has been widely loved ever since – I actually cannot believe that this story was removed from the world for nearly 30 years because it’s so good and it scares me that such a novel could essentially just be erased and taken away from the world due to people rejecting it for reasons that now in this day and age, are unfathomable. I’d recommend everyone to read this book at least once because I absolutely loved it and I think it’s such an important read.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Everyone and their grandma knows about this book / series (I haven’t watched the series but the book is apparently a little dissimilar from what I’ve seen) so I won’t go into great detail explaining this one but basically, The Handmaid’s Tale is about a woman named Offred who lives in a totalitarian society named Gilead. Women have been stripped of all of their rights and are treated as property of the state / government, and they are now only allowed to perform one of few jobs in this new world – Offred’s job as a handmaid is to essentially be shipped off to live with wealthy couples who are in power in order to act as a surrogate because the wife is unable to conceive.
A lot of people to my surprise said they found this book boring / flat / annoying and I literally could not disagree more. I found this book so interesting and I discovered that Atwood’s writing style is one of my favourites, it reminded me very much of Sylvia Plath whom I adore. I enjoyed the little shorter chapters and considering this book was published in 1985 I thought it was definitely ahead of its time. I knew I was going to love it as soon as it came on my radar however, it had definitely been there for a long time and I can’t believe I only now just got around to reading it, but this was right up my street. Looking forward to reading The Testaments next! I’ve heard very mixed reviews on it but I hope I love that one just as much.
Red at the Bone – Jacqueline Woodson
This book is incredibly short (probably the smallest hardback I own) and I feel like I read it so fast I didn’t even take it all in so, this for me is a definite one to re-read. In this book we follow a family through each generation and pass back and fourth through time, starting and ending with the coming of age ceremony of Melody, who is 16 years old. We are then moved through history and witness the story of her other family members – her mother, her father, her grandparents and so on.
Like I said, this book was so short I feel like I barely even took it in and so I can’t even remember enough about it in order to comment on it but I do know that I enjoyed it and that I thought it deserved 4 stars. This one will be a re-read for me.
And there we have it loves!
All my love,
Goodreads – ChloLuna