Book Review: Stay with me by Ayobami Adebayo

Published in Nigeria by Ouida Books in 2017

Pages: 308

Genre: Fiction

Purchase on;

Publisher’s blurb: Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything -arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, dances with prophets, appeals to God. But when her in-laws insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair. Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of the 80s Nigeria, Stay with Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of the time. This is a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and all-consuming bonds of motherhood. Stay with me is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.

The Author: Abayomi Adebayo’s stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth short story competition. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. She also has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia where she was awarded an international bursary for Creative Writing. Ayobami has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Threads, Ebedi Hills and Ox-Bow. Stay with me is her debut novel.

My Thoughts: My first reaction when I read the publisher’s blurb for this book was “This is probably the usual stereotypic story of a married woman who faced adversity due to her inability to have children” but my colleague, Ozoz (visit her blog, who gave me the book, encouraged me to read it as she raved about the book. She had marked and folded most of the pages like I would mark the pages of my bible and I thought “this can’t be that serious”. However, I was in for a big surprise as I was overwhelmed with a rollercoaster of emotions reading this intense story of love, innocence, betrayal, deceit and the burdens of the life of being a Nigerian or African woman. I loved the simplicity of the way the story was told and how fluid one event spurn into another. Ayobami has written a book that has spoken to me especially as a mother of two young girls to educate them properly in the ways of the world, particularly in matters concerning marriage and men. Unfortunately for Yejide, she had no mother to teach her and her husband cleverly ensured that she did not have any close friends to confide in or to get wise council. The level of her naivety in my opinion is not acceptable, however, this is a reality even in this day and age. I would recommend this book to all my friends and I rate it a huge 4.5 stars.

This review was featured on Twinkl in their blog Top Interesting books by Nigerian Authors. Go check it out!


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