“Listen my child, we do not abandon the business of living life just because of what people will say about us” Yejide Kilanko in Daughter Who walk This Path
I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while and for some weird reason, I never got around to reading it. There has been a lot of rave about it especially since it was shortlisted for the NLNG prize so I finally decided to dive into it.
This is a coming of age story about young Morayo who lives happily with her parents and sister until Tayo (Bros T) comes to live with them. At first, things seem normal and then Morayo is raped by Bros T and threatened not to tell anyone unless he would do the same to her younger sister. The abuse continues until Morayo is bold enough to tell her parents who send Tayo back to his mother but after that Morayo’s relationship with her parents take a different turn which leaves her feeling alone in the world and misunderstood. The story follows Morayo’s journey through life, trying to deal with the trauma the sexual abuse has caused her and even though she finds a friend and comforter in her aunt Morenike who is also a victim of sexual abuse, she still has to fight her demons on her own.
Sexual abuse is a very serious issue that has affected one too many young children (boys and girls) of which most are unknown to the parents. The effects of this abuse is boundless in the lives of those that have gone through this terrible ordeal and I am happy that we are beginning to talk about it in this generation. I am also glad that there is now a relatively large awareness around the topic and it is imperative that we educate our young children early enough about sexual abuse and make effort as parents, wards and care givers to protect them as much as we can.
Back to the book! I didn’t enjoy this book as I had expected. This doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good read, I just didn’t enjoy it as anticipated. Despite the powerful theme and issues, I struggled with the story telling as I found it drift off and on course in certain parts of the book. I found the build up to the main event in the story too long a wait and I also felt that there were gaps in the story that didn’t explain certain events or reasons why the protagonists made the decisions she took later in her life. There were times I had to skim read through some pages because it didn’t really add any value to the plot.
Morenike was my favorite character as she depicts someone who was able to confront her situation and turn her life around. I acknowledge that the fact she had a supporting mother and grand mother who stood by her throughout her ordeal helped a great deal in her healing process which many people lack. However, she still made the conscious decision to go back to school after having a child for a rapist and eventually become the successful teacher she always wanted to be. Another character I liked was Eniayo, Morayo’s younger sister. I loved her bubbly nature and free spirit. In the case of the protagonist, I felt the author didn’t do justice to her character and I wish it was better developed to understand her better and empathize with some of her choices.
Overall, It was a good story with an important theme but it didn’t hold me.
Rating: 3 Stars
Published: Published in 2014 by Kachifo Farafina
Purchase @ www.amazon.com/DWWTP
The Author: Yejide Kilanko is a writer of novels, short stories, and a poet. Kilanko’s debut novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path (2012), a Canadian national bestseller, was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize and the 2016 Nigeria Literature Prize.
Her work includes a novella, Chasing Butterflies (2015) and a children’s picture book, There Is An Elephant In My Wardrobe (2018). Her short fiction is included in the anthology, New Orleans Review 2017: The African Literary Hustle.
Kilanko lives in Ontario, Canada, where she also practices as a therapist in children’s mental health.