1) Queenie opens with our protagonist sending a text from her gynecologist appointment. Were you hooked from the first line, or did it make you uncomfortable?
It didn’t make me uncomfortable, but I can’t say I was hooked from the first line either. It just wasn’t really all that attention grabbing.
2) What were your first impressions of Queenie, and did they change as the novel went on?
She seemed a bit robotic in the beginning. Which I see now would be her just going through the motions of life. There were times she came across a bit slow. Which made me uncomfortable because it’s very obvious she’s an intelligent young woman with great potential.
3) Queenie spends a good portion of the novel in denial about her breakup, how violent her sexual encounters are becoming, and more. Why do you think the author chose to have her react this way? Does her denial make her an unreliable narrator?
I think it’s because we have become so conditioned as a society to pretend things like that don’t exist. Those that do are constantly being questioned like it’s all their fault. It’s just easier to not say anything at all. I don’t think it makes the narrator unreliable at all.
4) Queenie’s friends and family love to offer advice. What did you think of the support they gave Queenie throughout the novel? Was Queenie ready to accept help? What advice would you have given Queenie?
There were some that just thought they were doing what was best for her. They tried there best. There were some that just didn’t really act like they knew her at all. I don’t think she was ready to help. I think she needed to process everything fully first. But in a way, maybe she did. She didn’t seem to be wanting to process.
I’d of told her that the pain that she’s feeling inside is normal. That we all experience pain and loss. I would also let her know that everybody goes through things differently and she isn’t a horrible person. I’d also be there for her and support her no matter what.
5) Queenie pitches articles to her editor about the Black Lives Matter movement and attends a BLM march in the book. She’s passionate about standing up for others, but doesn’t always stand up for herself. Why do you think that is?
It’s easier to do things for others than it is to do for yourself. It’s easier to form a more level headed opinion on things when you aren’t surrounded it in it as well.
6) How do you see Queenie’s experiences reflecting the importance of both the Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movements? Discuss Queenie’s experiences at the intersection of both race and gender, and how they impact her connection to these movements.
For the Black Lives Matter, I can think of one great example. Ted confronted her while she was leaving from work. Her friend came up and defended her. There was a person walking by who automatically assumed that Ted needed the help and offered to called the cops. Even though Ted was the one harassing Queenie. There were a few other instances as well.
Whether Queenie acknowledges is or not, Guy wound up sexually assaulting her. Yes, she did agree to hook up with him at first. However, she decided she wasn’t okay with what he did and how he handled her. He took what he wanted anyways. I do see why she didn’t say anything. She would have been blamed for it. People would have said she shouldn’t have let him come to her house.
7) Queenie’s grandfather encourages her to attend therapy and tells his wife they need to learn from the next generation. How do you see Queenie’s growth throughout the novel impacting other characters’ development?
People saw the downward spiral that she was going on. They saw that she was attempting to take their advice but it wasn’t working for her. They had to accept that maybe they suppressed too much and that it did more harm than good.
8) Queenie’s past trauma isn’t revealed until the end of the novel. How did that structure influence your understanding of Queenie as a character?
It really helped me understand why she acted the way she did. It helped me empathize and connect with her better. I guess you could say that it made me see her in a new light. It made me realize that my initial assessment of her wasn’t accurate at all.
9) At the end of the book, Queenie has a conversation with her younger cousin about how being a black woman will shape her daily experiences and interactions. How does her relationship with Diana evolve throughout the novel? How do Queenie’s own experiences shape her growing relationship with Diana?
I think she was so in the bubble she was in that she didn’t realize that Diana saw her as a role model. Once she did, it encouraged her to be better and keep going. Queenie doesn’t want Diana to go through what she went through. She also doesn’t want her to think things are going to be easy.
10) Queenie’s relationship with her mother Sylvie is complicated. How do you think their relationship shaped Queenie’s other friendships and relationships?
I feel like she put everybody at a distance. She was greatly hurt by what happened and didn’t want to be hurt like that again. She also felt like she couldn’t protect her mother. She also felt that her mother should have been able to protect them both.
11) The story of how Queenie received her name wasn’t revealed until near the end of the book. How did it change the way you thought about the book’s title?
It didn’t change the way I thought of the name at all. It did change the way I saw her mother though. It showed that Sylvie really did care about her mother more than she showed.
12) The final scene takes place in a restaurant where Queenie is surrounded by her friends and family. She’s in therapy, but still unsure about her future. Were you satisfied with the ending? Why do you think the author chose to end the book while Queenie is still healing?
I am very satisfied with the ending. Queenie wasn’t fully healed yet. She can’t fully commit to a dedicated future just yet until she’s fully accepted her past. And that will take time and a lot of healing.
I think the author chose to do that to prove that a person can’t just do the right things and be cured over night. It takes a lot of time. Many wounds will be opened during the process so that they can heal properly. That’s the point I feel is shining in the end.
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