When your puppy chews up a book jacket, you really do have to be creative……
Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
(Knopf – August 22, 2017)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A striking debut and a fascinating commentary on marriage, polygamy and fertility, set in Nigeria between the 1980s and 2008.
Thanks to Knopf Publishing for providing me with a finished copy of this book for review purposes – all opinions are my own.
Book Description (from Goodreads)
Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.
STAY WITH ME is powerful and grief-stricken, filled with Nigerian proverbs and rituals surrounding fertility and parenting. It wasn’t a happy read by any means, but reading Yejide’s story brought the heartbreaking reality of infertility and polygamy to life and exposed me to Nigerian culture that I have not read or learned about before this book. Woven throughout the story are political events and commentary that add another layer of richness to the narrative.
This novel was a bit disconcerting at times because narrators switched with no indication, making it a book that needs to be read with a close eye. There is also one part of the plot that seemed a bit beyond belief, but I’m willing to overlook that given the overall strength of the book.
Recommended for fans of literary fiction and world cultures, this book will surely open eyes and provoke a desire to read more stories with a Nigerian setting.