This is one of the most difficult reviews that I’ve had to write. I don’t know where to start and how to even rate this book. But here is my attempt at pouring my thoughts on a book which left me with so many different feelings. Not as important, but the hardcover version of the book it self is gorgeous with or without the dust jacket.
In less than 260 pages, Ayobami conveyed a powerful but gut wrenching story. The writing style was engaging and kept me hooked and I would read whatever Ayobami writes next.
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 Measks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.
The book is fast paced, there is so much happening in every turn of the page it keeps the reader hooked. Although, most of the book revolves around family and relationships, the book gave me an introduction into Nigerian culture. I read Americanah before this which was partially set in Nigeria but it was a more contemporary take. It was interesting to learn about how polygamy and wanting a male son to take the family name forward was common in Nigeria. It also delves in the relationship between multiple wives the hierarchical nature of the statuses of these women.
While Yejide and Akin were the central characters in this book, there were multiple other characters who played a key role include Funmi and Dotun and I hated almost everyone. I think Ayobami wanted to simply convey the facts and emotions through her writing and wanted to let the reader decide on how they felt about the overall situation and the characters.
Although, sympathized with these characters given the circumstances and the pain that they went through, I feel like a lot of what happen in the book was a consequence of bad choices they made. If they didn’t make such horrendous choices, there would still be pain but they would have had the support of a family. This highlights another theme: the expectations of society and how they drive you to make crazy decisions.
Overall, there was credibility to the characters and the plot which makes it all the more difficult to digest this book. Not having kids is not an uncommon problem and as couples go through this it is important to stay connected to your core values, respect the fact that everyone is going through the difficult time and most importantly be there for each other which didn’t happen in this story with Yejide and Akin and as the novel unfolds you will gasp multiple times and be confused and angry but will also hope that things get better.
I will end this review here as I am struggling to write more without giving out spoilers. Have you read this book? I would love to discuss what you thought about this one.
Was there any book that left you confused, angry and frustrated?
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