Every single time, I promise myself not to be swayed by the hype of a book, but each time, I still break this promise and most times I regret it. But surprisingly, in this case, I didn’t regret being swayed by the hype of “Stay With Me”. This is one of the few times when I can say the hype was certainly worth it. Ever since I heard about this book, I had been quite interested. I don’t know if it was the attractive book cover or the fact that it was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction award that did the trick, all I know is that I had been excited about the book right from the start. So when I got it as a gift sometime last week, my excitement couldn’t be masked at all. I looked forward to reading as soon as possible.
I tried so hard to write this brief review without spilling any spoilers. The book is so good that I can’t bear to ruin it for any of you. I want you to have a firsthand feeling yourself.
Yejide was just a woman who craved the affection of a loved one having grown up without a mother. After years of childlessness with the love her life; Akin, she resorted to all sort of measures just to bear a child, withstanding pressures from her family as well as that of her in-laws, with the hope that a child would solve everything. She is however oblivious of the fact that it is this desperation for a child that would lead Akin to commit an unforgivable act and thereafter lead their marriage into ruins.
Stay With Me (which was published just this year) was set in Ilesa, in the South-Western part of Nigeria in the 1980s. With the political instability in the country (at that time) being infused in the story, it brings to life the stigmatization a woman goes through in the hands of her own ‘so called’ family just because of her childlessness. It also reminds the readers of the fact that the woman is most usually blamed for that in this part of the world with little regard to the man’s contribution to such. The author also found a way to insert the pain and agony a parent goes through when a child is diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease. Yejide was someone whose tale was quite touching and each time, I really felt like I could give her a reassuring warm hug.
The book was written in a first person narrative with each chapter being narrated by either Yejide or Akin. The book starts with the present which is in 2008 and then takes us back to the past and how it all started. I liked the style of writing and I can boldly say it’s quite an easy read considering the fact that I finished it in less than 24 hours. Not a lot of books has touched me deeply, but this definitely did.
~“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.”- Ayobami Adebayo, Stay With Me~