Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò book review

By Chenai Mugunyani

This book sent me through a roller coaster of unsettling and mixed feelings.

Yedije is married to Akin and they are struggling to have a baby. Akin, loyal to his wife is not willing to satisfy his mother that is adamant to have a grandson. Akin’s mother seems she very much ‘supporting’ towards her daughter-in-law until she decides to take her daughter in law (Yedije) to an adventure where she hopes the daughter in law can get help. She advises her on all the types of tea that one should drink but behind her daughter’s back, she is secretly looking for a second wife for her son. A wife that may give her the grandson she craves.

Much to Akins’ disapproval, his mum gets her way and he takes a second wife, who he keeps away from his first wife. Akin gets his second wife a flat but guilt consumes him and he decides to introduce the wives to each other. This, obviously brings tension between Yedije and Akin and if anything, gives Yedije more will, and power laced with a sense of urgency to get pregnant. She eventually does, spoiler alert, Akin is ‘impotent’ and asks his brother to ‘seduce’ his wife. I don’t want to unravel the whole book here but…

…This book left me fuming and sad, below are a few reasons why:

It touches on the social and political upheaval in the 1980s going on in Nigeria.

It touches on betrayal.

Loss, grief, anger, pain.

Jealousy, desperation and loneliness.

It questions loyalty and love.

Forgiveness and healing.

We, sadly live in a world where we are pressured as young couples to have kids by our parents, because they want grandkids so bad, sending their children on missions of desperation, willing to do anything to please our parents, at the cost of our partners, family and possibly the kids we bear.

Stay with me is a gutting book, very relevant, we have heard similar stories or have gone through the same.

A must-read, it will leave you questioning some of the decisions we make and how they affect the ones around us, how sometimes love, does withstand the storm, in its own proverbial way.

Happy reading.

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