Review: Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

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Day 15 of #100DaysToOffload

Disclaimer: This review will contain spoilers!

Yejide is strongly against polygamy, something that is the norm in 80's Nigeria. She marries Akin on the promise that they would stay monogamous. The couple desperately wants to conceive a child but as time goes on, it's clear that it is not happening. Akin's parents pressure the couple to allow for Akin to find another wife so that they can finally have a child. This jump starts a spiral of events that just keeps escalating.

The Good

This book was incredibly hard to put down. My eyes were glued to the pages and I quickly devoured the book in two days. I just wanted to know how the entire thing would unfold. I'm not above juicy drama and this book was filled to the brim with it. It helps that Adebayo has pretty good writing which kept it extremely readable as well.

I can empathize with the characters which feels like a feat because the characters are incredibly hard to like. Even though I am from a different culture, I know all too well the ways that family can pressure you and how easy it is to just give in. I just felt for everyone involved because all their concerns came from a valid place.

Additionally, I enjoyed this look into Nigeria in the 80's, the culture and history of which I am extremely ignorant of. I love reading books taking place in different locations and different time periods.

The Not So Good

Like I already said above, the characters are so hard to like. I'm always torn on whether or not this is a mark against a book, especially if I stay interested enough to finish the book like I did here. Sometimes good drama is just good drama with no need to like anyone swept up in it.

This was a tough read. Not tough as in it was hard to parse but tough in that sometimes I would feel angry and it would be hard to process the feeling. As someone who is not familiar with this culture, I felt Yejide's rage alongside her but I also felt like because I was missing cultural context, I thought that maybe my anger was possibly not of the same nature.

Eventually, I just started feeling angry towards all the characters, including Yejide. There are a lot of bad decisions in this book and I continually just kept thinking, "Why? WHY?" It was a weird helpless feeling but I was just there for the drama train.

Conclusion

I am very conflicted over this book. I feel like it was just a book that is good in the moment and not worth analyzing too much. It reminds me of a soap opera that you can't look away from. I can only recommend this book to people who like these kinds of books. That being said, the excellent writing from Adebayo scores some points in the book's favour. Generally though, I like a little more substance to the books that I read.