Title: Stay with Me
Author: Ayobami Adebayo
Start date: July 17, 2017
Finish date: July 20, 2017
Note: I won a copy of Stay with Me from a Goodreads giveaway.
✧ ✧ ✧ ✧/ 5
Wow. Just wow. What a powerful story about patience and endurance.
You’ll know when you have a great book in your hands when the author is capable of making you feel a series of intense emotions. The amount of detail and thought that went into carefully plotting the story is apparent; Adebayo successfully planted hints throughout the novel to ultimately explain what drove the characters’ actions.
Stay with Me is set in Nigeria about a couple who’s having trouble conceiving. The idea of a polygamous marriage enters their once peaceful relationship, and Yejide is forced to accept Akin’s second wife.
I thought this story would be more about the trials of accepting polygamy; however, there is so much more to the tale than that. There are betrayals, tragedies (multiple ones might I add that left me teary-eyed), and so much heartache that in the end, the book isn’t so much about the ménage à trois, it is more about the determination one is willing to go through to make a marriage work.
The points of views are carefully interwoven and I found that Adebayo has a beautiful way of conveying so much in her writing with a few simple words. Her writing is not bogged down by mindless descriptions or dialogue, instead I was delighted with her straight-forward prose and the way she weaves in plot twists for later. The fact that readers are able to learn about Akin and Yejide through nostalgic memories instead of dialogue is so important to me (This may be the fact that I have been reading too much YA novels and this is a common trope found in most of them, so that when I don’t come across this in Adult fiction it’s like a breath of fresh air). My point is that Adebayo’s talent for writing clearly shows.
Stay with Me is incredibly tragic and heart-breaking as mentioned before, but that shouldn’t stop you from reading it and should in fact encourage you to pick this one up. When written well, readers should feel what the characters and author intend them to feel, and this book is a wonderful representation of that. I was enraptured by Yejide’s suffering, and she endures a plethora of emotional hardships that shows what an unyielding character she is.
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I could never fathom how it feels to face the possibility that my husband could get his second wife pregnant before he gets me pregnant or even the fact that he HAS another option to impregnate. Nor can I possibly imagine what it feels like to lose a child over and over again, and my heart really goes out to those who have experienced this.
I feel like Adebayo covers these painful deaths with raw honesty and I find that it should be discussed more because it does happen. We’re bombarded with gender revealings, pregnancy updates, and then happy mom syndrome on social media that it’s easy to forget about the negatives and miscarriages/infant deaths. I’m not quite ready to become a mother myself, but I feel like there should be more literature that discusses this with as much frankness as this book.
Akin is a character I flip-flopped about because I couldn’t really conclude how I felt about him. Initially I thought he was a great man who truly loves Yejide but as the story progresses, I was torn about whether to like or dislike him. Ultimately, you’re forced to admire him for his efforts to keep his family together despite some of his shady decisions to achieve that.
This story illicit strong feelings of sadness, sympathy, and anger. With rich characters that compel you to root for them and a strongly constructed plot that purposely throws readers through the unexpected, Stay with Me is a must read.