This was a popular CBR11 book and I mostly agree with everyone’s previous reviews. It is a truthful, funny, and often cringe-inducing look at a young woman in crisis.
Queenie is 25 years old, uninspired by her job, and going through what she thinks is a temporary rough patch in her relationship with her live-in boyfriend, Tom. As Queenie gradually becomes aware that Tom is pulling further away from her, she begins seeking solace and affirmation in all of the wrong places. The lingering instability of a childhood laced with abandonment and violence makes her easily persuaded by men to be what they want her to be rather than who she is.
The story is related almost entirely by Queenie who is often self-unaware and wildly incapable of reading other people’s motivations. While the intentions of the men around her are made very clear through their actions and dialogue, there are several wonderfully drawn female characters who have her back. It is through those women that you really get a sense of who Queenie is outside of her own head.
A lot has been said about the graphic sex and sexual violence in this book. I found it necessary to the plot and not at all gratuitous. What was more jarring to me was the tone of the book. Queenie’s humorous and conversational voice is emotionally disconnected, making for uneasy read. It’s uncomfortable watching someone make the same terrible decisions again and again. Which, in the end, was exactly the point.