Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie is a novel about a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman who deals with multiple crises that make her take stock of her life so far. Our reviewer, in a starred review called the protagonist “a Black Bridget Jones, perfectly of the moment,” and Carty-Williams, a self-described “Bridget Jones fan til I die,” has made similar comparisons in interviews. Queenie and Helen Fielding’s smash 1998 bestseller, Bridget Jones’s Diary, do share some similarities—both center on socially awkward, self-loathing Londoners who work in publishing and have fraught relationships with men—but Carty-Williams’ novel ventures into far more complex terrain than Fielding’s. So does a new streaming series adaptation of Queenie, created and co-written by Carty-Williams and starring Criminal Record’s Dionne Brown. It premieres on Hulu on June 7.

Both the novel and series follow Queenie Jenkins as she navigates the difficulties of living with her traditional Jamaican immigrant grandparents after separating from her long-term white boyfriend, Tom. She’s heartbroken, but she receives support from a small group of close female friends—including Kyazike, whose self-confidence Queenie envies; Cassandra, who’s straight-talking but socially clueless; and coworker Darcy, a naïve but sweet young woman who’s increasingly concerned about Queenie’s well-being. Queenie has a frustrating job working for the culture section of the Daily Read newspaper, which publicly touts the diversity of its staff but employs a white editor who openly scoffs at “all that Black Lives Matter nonsense” during a pitch meeting.

Queenie desperately hopes that she and Tom will reconcile, but her loneliness drives her to spend much of her free time having casual, sometimes degrading sex with deeply sketchy men she meets on dating apps. She also pursues an ill-advised relationship with a co-worker, which only complicates her life further. All the while, she struggles with low self-esteem, poor body image, and trauma from a difficult childhood that left her feeling unwanted and unloved.

As this summary indicates, Queenie tackles many thorny topics that Fielding’s fluffier book does not. Yet Carty-Williams’ novel is often lively and fun, as when Queenie impulsively changes the name of her friends’ group-chat to “The Corgis,” explaining via text: “The Queen loves her corgis. And they support her. Like you’re all doing now.” (Cassandra then wisecracks, “I think we all know that the monarchy is obsolete.”) Later, Queenie notes that, when it comes to dating apps, she draws the line at men “with x’s in their profile. Cutesy doesn’t tend to equal somebody who is going to want to have a discussion about intersectional feminism.”

However, Carty-Williams never lets the humor obscure the very real hardships that Queenie faces. Perhaps the author’s most daring move is having her protagonist seek out therapy when things get too hard for her to handle—and having her benefit greatly from it. By contrast, Bridget Jones’s Diary contains one passing mention of mental health assistance, when the main character vaguely jots down, “will get therapy of some kind in future.” This doesn’t come to pass, though; instead, Bridget successfully embarks on a romantic relationship with a man, which apparently solves all her problems.

The novel Queenie doesn’t traffic in such simple rom-com tropes. It does end on a happy note, but not because the protagonist finds the perfect boyfriend. Queenie doesn’t have everything figured out, and she still has a lot of work to do in therapy—but she does like herself a lot more, and that’s a very good thing.

The Hulu series adaptation is, at least initially, incredibly faithful to the book; many lines are transferred verbatim from the text. Brown, as Queenie, is very funny and brings the character to vivid life onscreen; she ably captures Queenie’s deep feelings of uncertainty, but also her drive to keep moving forward, despite everything. Newcomer Bellah, as Kyazike, steals every scene she’s in, and EastEnders’ Tilly Keeper as the amiable and fiercely supportive Darcy is also a standout.

The show does make a few additions to the story, and they’re mostly improvements. There’s a scene, for instance, in which Queenie goes to a pub in a Playboy bunny outfit—a knowing wink to a similar moment in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Queenie’s career, too, takes a slightly different path, which is very satisfying in the way it holds one unpleasant character to account.

There is one alteration, though, that works less well. The book ends with Queenie having “deleted those bleak-as-fuck dating apps” and finding herself in a better place, in part, by realizing that she doesn’t need a man to feel complete. The streaming series undermines this strong message of self-empowerment with one that’s more predictable, more familiar, and—not incidentally—more like Bridget Jones’s Diary. In Carty-Williams’ novel, Queenie learns that she doesn’t need romance to live happily ever after; one only wishes that the series’ creative team had learned that, too.

David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.