BOOK REVIEW: Stay with me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

*WARNING: DEFINITELY INCLUDES SPOILERS*

I stumbled upon this book while on my regular visit to the “African Fiction” section of the bookstore. I had never even heard of it, but something about the blurb hooked me. So I read the book and finished it in about 5 days. Here a few of my thoughts on this piece.

Important Characters:

Yejide: The main character, Akin’s wife.

Akin: Yejide’s husband

Moomi: Akin’s mother

Dotun: Akin’s brother

Funmi: Akin’s second wife

BOOK SUMMARY:

(the story is told mainly from Yejide’s point of view, but Akin’s perspective is the focus a few times)

Akin and yejide have been married for about 4 years and have failed to conceive a child. They have pressure coming at them, especially from Akin’s mother, Moomi to have a child. Moomi convinces him to take a second wife, Funmi, so that he can have this child.  The story mainly focuses on Yejide’s desire to have a child of her own, and the lengths she goes to.

Akin and Yejide hadalways agreed that polygamy was never going to be an option for them. But when Akin takes a second wife (to Yejide’s surprise), betrayal becomes a common theme for their marriage. Akin keeps secrets from his wife, especially about his fertility, which results in a planned, set-up affair between Dotun and Yejide.

Once Yejide finally has a child, the child is diagnosed with sickle cell and later dies. She then has another child but this second child basically repeats the history of the first. She has a third child but when the third child gets sick, Yejide assumes the worst and decides to move on with her life, without Akin and her daughter.

Fast-forward to a few years, Yejide returns to the town she left, and she runs into Akin and a teenage girl, who turns out to be the child she left years ago, named Rotimi (Stay with me).

Questions I have after finishing the book:

  • Do Akin and Yejide ever reconcile?
  • What happens with Yejide and her daughter’s relationship?
  • Who was wrong: The man who convinces his brother to sleep with his wife in order to conceive a child, knowing he was impotent… or the wife who sleeps with her husband’s brother?

Favourite quote:

“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.”

Overall impressions:

A gripping love story, infused with comments on fertility, tradition, societal expectations, trust and the pressures of marriage.

I loved this book. I don’t think I have ever read a book with such a plotline. It was definitely a good read and I could barely put the book down. A real page-turner. Brilliant piece of work.

I rated this book a solid 4/5.

You should definitely have a read if you haven’t already. If you have, what are your thoughts on this book?

Until next review.

xx Val

6 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Stay with me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

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