Queen was an exceptional story about a young sheltered southern girl coming of age in the modern time and finding a friend in the most un-likeliest of people, Queen Mae Braxton, a recently transgendered male to female black woman who just moved, with her partner, into Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The book is told through the eyes of three narrators: Queen (“The Tranny”), Charlotte Grace (“The Girl”) and Carter (“The Cop”). The Cop’s narrations are told in third person; whereas, Queen and Charlotte Grace are in first person. Suzanne Crain Miller’s writing style is a real hidden gem. Her ability to take three different prevalent stereotypes and turn them into identifiable, relatable human beings is laudable. Every girl has been Charlotte Grace…at least most of us have. Every woman has struggled with feeling good or acceptable in her own skin. Even the Cop’s version of events and perspectives of life are written in a way that the reader can understand why he became the way he is. After all, every villain is really just a hurting person who then hurts others.
Normally, I am not a fan of narrations written in constant slang and dialect. It generally gets on my nerves and makes it difficult to read. However, for some reason, Queen, during her narrations, needed to be written this way. You can hear her better, feel her pain and struggle more clearly, and understand her plight. Simply put, Queen’s story is best told this way, and I applaud Suzanne’s courage in taking this huge risk.
Queen offers great perspective on life in general as well as her struggles over the years, but it also offers how Queen’s particular challenges as a “loud and proud” transgendered woman in a world that does not tolerate her is just really a larger, more explosive version of what all people struggle with…self acceptance, living in truth, embracing your best, taking off our masks and being courageous in the face of unimaginable adversity. Rising up. Loving anyway.
It takes a talented writer to tell a bold story like this in a way that helps a reader have empathy for someone so different, and Suzanne Crain Miller does just that. Wonderful story. Very realistic and full of the complexities of life, everyone can relate to it and these three characters, which is what good storytelling is all about.