Stay With Me, written by Ayobami Adebayo, is set in Nigeria between the 1980s and 2008. It is a story of love between Yejide and Akin, which starts in the cinema hall of Obafemi Awolowo Universityand blossoms into marriage, albeit a tumultuous one as the couple grapples with the challenges of infertility.
Of course, in African society, it is a taboo for a childless couple to be happy. Akin succumbs to his mother’s pressure to get a new wife who will give him children and who knows, will help Yejide to become pregnant because a child calls forth another.
Yejide seeks desperate measures to get pregnant, one of which includes pulling a goat with her to the ‘Mountain of Jaw-dropping Miracles’ where the Prophet in charge asks her to suckle her ‘baby’-goat. Ewwwww. Lol.
Akin also seeks a more desperate measure to ensure that their marriage produces children, which yields tragic consequences and disintegration of their marriage.
The novel is an interesting and engaging read. It was fun reading about the familiar Yoruba language, food, mannerisms, and culture.
However, I have my reservations about Yejide’s character. Yejide’s naiveté and oblivion to apparent deceptions seem rather unrealistic and incredible, especially as a graduate.
Other interesting characters are- Iya Bolu, Yejide’s rival and neighbour at the shop, who later becomes her friend, Dotun, Akin’s promiscuous younger brother, and Akin’s mother.
The themes of the novel are – love, marriage, sickle cell disease, conception, sex, deception.
Nigerian writers are amazing! Yes, we are amazing!
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