Book Review #10 - Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Updated: Jan 1, 2020

This is a must read, with a wide range of themes. Finished it at a stretch because i just couldn't put it down.

What. A. Book! So many strong themes from politics, to patriarchy, mental illness, culture, folktale, infidelity, betrayal, polygamy, sexuality and murder. This book is an elixir of a strong plot, and an amazing writing style, filled with suspense and a wide range of emotions and themes.

I read this book in 3 hours. I couldn't put it down. I cried at the end. Tears filled with many emotions. The writer's style was easy. Easy to read. Occasionally, a tease.

You don't see the plot twists coming, you really don't. There are obvious cues, and those, you expect because it's expected of the theme, but others, blindside you and you have to slowly blink to be sure you read the right thing. Oh but you did...

There's a very interesting political aspect of this story, though it takes a back seat, the story is set in the 1940s - 2000s, during Nigeria's transition from Military to democracy and it is interesting for me (not being born in that time), to witness through this book what perhaps life was like in that political setting, how people went about their lives when coups were announced and elections carried out, and then annulled. It was like peering through some time capsule into Nigeria's past, not constricted by a history book but elucidated by every day life events.

Yejide is the main character of the book. I see her clearly in my mind. The average Yoruba woman (who is now a grandmother), but in her time was a young vibrant fire, doused by conditioning, culture, tradition, and expectations. The book does not explore this angle though, in the book it is expected, and i understand it. It was the reality at the time.

I particularly loved the infusion of popular yoruba folklore; oluronbi the fair child, the story of the ijapa (tortoise) and the porridge. I grew up with these stories and it was nice to see them in print, infused into another story. It was very well done.

It's hard not to give spoilers so i will stop here. This is one book i definitely will recommend, and i look forward to reading more of Ayobami's books.


5 Stars




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