Wednesday 13 February 2019

Book ~ "Stay with Me" (2017) Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

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.

Yejide and Akin live in Nigeria.  They met and fell in love while in university.  Yejide now owns a hair salon and Akin is a bank manager.  Life is good except four years later, his family is tired of waiting for them to have children.  Despite being able to have multiple wives, Yejide and Akin had agree from the beginning that they wouldn't let anyone else in their relationship.  Akin's family, though, is tired of waiting for Yejide to provide Akin with a child so they have him take an additional wife, Funmi, to increase the chances of him having children.

Yejide isn't happy with Akin having this second wife and realizes that the only way to keep him for herself if she gets pregnant.  Desperate she does what she has to do in order to get pregnant but life doesn't turn out as happy has she had hoped.

This is a different kind of book than I usually read but I thought I'd step out of my comfort zone and check it out (I'd seen it had gotten good reviews).  It took me a chapter or two to get into it.  I was liking the story of Yejide and Akin and their life together.  Their culture is so different from mine so it was interesting to learn about their life.  Even though they are a modern couple, they are still influenced by the ancient superstitions and culture. 

When Yejide headed to the mountain for a miracle pregnancy and was convinced it happened, I had to leave my sense of belief behind.  When she started acting totally irrationally and no one seemed to want to help her (yelling and ignoring her isn't going to help), that's when the story started to lose me.  But I carried on and the further I got (and I did finish it), the more I disliked the story.  I hated the ending and found it unbelievable.

The book is written in first person perspective in Yejide and Akin's voices.  The chapters aren't labeled so sometimes it took me a bit to realize who was speaking.  The book jumps back and forth from the past to the future but the timelines are labeled.  Most of the time they didn't mean much to me, though, because I didn't know whose voice it was.

I didn't like the characters.  Yejide and Akin were supposed to be the love of each other's lives but I wasn't feeling it.  There were secrets between them and as a supposedly loving couple, they should have been able to talk about them honestly.  Akin was a wimp.  He kept going on and on about how the moment he saw Yejide that he would marry her yet he let his family railroad him into marrying Funmi and Yejide didn't find out until after the fact (and not from him).  Akin's family were overbearing but I guess that's the way it is in their culture?  And Yejide did things that if she really loved her husband, she wouldn't have done.  I thought how Yejide eventually did get pregnant was ridiculous.

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