I finished this book about 15 minutes ago so this review is hot off the press, whilst I still have the brain capacity to remember everything I want to write.
Stay With Me is a book that was introduced to me via the Goodreads group I am a member of and as usual, it was a good choice from the ladies. I’ve probably mentioned it before but I love being a part of a book group purely because I am presented with books that I would probably never choose to read off my own back, but end up enjoying. I find that if I read books of my own choosing all of the time I end up slacking on reading because I choose very similar books time and time again and become disengaged. Stay With Me is definitely one of those books that I wouldn’t have chosen, but enjoyed thoroughly.
Married couple, Yejide and Akin were victims of love at first site when at University and their love only grows during the beginning of their marriage. They go against everyone’s initial thinking that Akin would take a number of wives as their culture permits, but they both strongly believe in monogamy. The one thing missing from their marriage is children. Yejide tries many methods to become pregnant; some unconventional, but they are still not gifted with a baby. Their family insist on Akin taking a second wife to give him children, which only pushes Yejide to try harder. When Yejide finally does become pregnant, it definitely doesn’t go the way that she imagines and brings her heartache after heartache.
Now, I’ve read very few (if any when I really think about it) books that are based on African culture, so when I first started reading this I did drop the occasional “wow”, “really?!” and “oh my word” but it was all in a good way. Everything was a cultural learning for me and I appreciated the lessons. I mean the mountain scene with the goat?! I repeat…the mountain scene with the goat?! I have no words.
If you’re not into sadness or upsetting storylines, this isn’t a book for you! I feel like reading this book is heartache after heartache and there were times whilst reading it I didn’t think anything positive was ever going to happen. I honestly don’t know how Yejide stays strong despite everything that is thrown at her. That undoubtedly makes her my favourite character. Talk about a tough cookie!
Although this is a fairly short read, I didn’t rush my way through this mostly because some parts are difficult to read. I needed the breaks to let it all digest before going back in for more. I wouldn’t describe this as unputdownable for that very reason. That said, I did want to get through purely because I was longing for some positivity.
I only have one real negative comment about this book and it’s probably a personal thing as I think it was done intentionally by the writer. The writing of some perspectives is not written in fabulous English. There are missing words at the beginning of sentences and other little nuances. As I got further through I realised it was mostly when written from Akin’s perspective therefore, probably is intentional, but because it’s so slight and you don’t read Akin’s voice all too often, it took me quite some time to realise it.
All of that said, I’m giving this book 4 stars. I probably would have gone for 3.5 if it was an option but it’s not, and I do think it’s better than a 3. I appreciate this book for the things it has taught me and it’s encouraged me to read more about different cultures.
“Before you call the snail a weakling, tie your house to your back and carry it around for a week”
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo