Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Book Review | Stay with Me

Stay With Me is a heartbreaking tale depicting what happens when desperation collides with misfortune.

Barrenness, a woman's problem?
Set between 1985 and 2008 in Ilesa, Nigeria the novel tells the story of Yejide and Akin, who despite being married for years, are plagued with barrenness. Typical as it is in Nigerian culture, fertility issues are always placed squarely on the woman's shoulders. She's often blamed for having a hostile womb, or at worst being a witch. Stay With Me thus opens with the Yejide' s and Akin's family members invading the couple's home with a 'second wife' in tow, much to the couple's horror. "It is one child that calls another one to this world...once she gets pregnant and has a child, we are sure you will have one too", Akin's relative attempts to explain to (or taunt!)  Yejide. 

As time goes by, Yejide eventually gets pregnant and gives birth to her daughter, Olamide. However when tragedy hits, family life as they know it unravels into a messy heap of deceit, grief and broken family bonds. The questions which need answering are a)how did Yejide's miracle babies (three in total) come to be? b)Who is to blame for the mess?

Let's finish Friday with a quick flashback. I took this photo just before starting this book. Stay With Me really is taking me through a suspenseful and tense Nollywood movie. The story is ever changing, ever moving but somehow, our protagonist, Yejide is going around in the same painful cycle. She's no angel, but my heart goes out to her.I'm praying for redemption for our troubled Yejide. #fbf #weekendvibes #buildingwomenwithwords . . . . . . . . #wordsaregolden #conversation #conversationrituals #communication #communicationacademy #blogger #instablog #motivation #bookblogger #booklover #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #africanliterature #bookreviews #bookblogs #ontheblog #bb_bloggers #blackbritishblogger #BlackGirlsWhoBlog #womenwriters #femaleentrepreneur #BlackGirlsWhoWrite #copywriter #serviceprovider #hireme #smallbusinesses #tipsforbusinesses
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A political novel?
What I enjoyed most was that Stay with Me is told through the prism of Nigeria's political and social history. There is plenty of background information about military takeovers, social unrest, elections and topplings to really ground the novel into historical context. Adebáyó seems to have effortlessly weaved it into the narrative in such a way that it beautifies the story altogether. It's also worth noting that the story skips back and forth in time a few times so you will need to keep up! It is also told in the first person and the chapters alternate between Yejide's and Akin's points of view.

The main themes, aside from the politics, are love, deceit, grief and faith, all told through the eyes of an African married couple, although these are all experiences that are common to all people.  

In summary, what I loved the most was that although Yejide (and Akin) had been subject to some real unfortunate circumstances, she was no cowering victim in the corner (as we used to see in the Nollywood films of old). Even the way she showed emotion exuded strength. All the characters were well fleshed out. As a reader, I felt spoiled interesting back stories, detailed character descriptions and the author's talent for spinning words into vivid descriptions - even just the way she describes love, "If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But when it's in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn't mean it's no longer love."

Have you read, Stay With Me or something similar? Tell me about it.

Publisher: Cannon Gate
RRP: £8.99

You may also want to read:
Book Review | Freshwater
Book Review | The Aso-ebi Chronicles
Book Review | We Should All be Feminists



  1. What an awesome review, I saw this book on Waterstones and have been wanting to read it ever since it sounds such a moving read and your review has confirmed that. I love books that just speak to my soul with the language used.

    1. Thank you so much Gem, I just hope I did the book some justice! Please do come back and let me know what you think, when you're done reading it.

  2. I have not read this book as of now, but I will most definitely make it my go to for my fall reads.

    1. Honestly, you won't regret it. I'd love to hear from you once you do read it.

  3. Awesome review. I haven't read this book, but after reading your review I'm definitely going to add it to my TBR. It seems like a very good way to tell the story of a culture and a country, and I'm definitely intrigued. Thank you for sharing!

  4. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
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