As promised, I am providing a review on Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo. Stay With Me is the gripping literary novel that follows the story of Yejide and Akinyele and their marriage and ultimate dissolution throughout the years. To say this novel isn't interesting a moving would be a lie and those who have read know that "if a lie travels for twenty years, even a hundred years, it will take one day... for the truth to catch up with a lie."
Adebayo shifts narratives between Yejide, with her being primary, and Akin. Readers are allowed insight into what it feels to be them, what they are thinking, and to help better understand the choices they make as we travel the years with them. Initially we are introduced to a strong, University educated couple who have chosen monogamy in a country where polygamy reigns supreme. After Yejide has had no success with becoming pregnant, Akin's family forces him to marry a second wife. They believe if she bares a child it will call the babies waiting to be born of Yejide.
Of course this does not sit well with Yejide who has strong reservations about being a first wife, or being in a polygamous union. Her upbringing causes her to be weary of the lifestyle, rightfully so. I would love to go on and on but there are so many opportunities to spoil this novel for those who hope to read it. But... there are moments of awful sadness, hope, fear, and just plain old sadness again that make putting this novel down impossible.
So why the 3.5 stars (which I rounded up)? The star rating is due to the fact that some of the story just wasn't plausible. Even in the 80s, I felt some of the outcomes of the illnesseswere used to play every sort of sympathy string possible. Yes, I felt every emotion along with Yejide but after awhile... I just couldn't muster the implausibility.
The characters in this story are given a depth that makes their story even more engrossing. I felt I knew Yejide and could understand her actions. Even Akin, although he didn't share the girth of the narrative, he was fully fleshed as well. Adebayo draws readers in with the art of good storytelling. My biggest gripe is that I felt there was a huge story line introduced involving thieves that never really got sealed up the way I would have liked.
Overall, what Stay With Me meant for me was to value my family, the hope that gets me through the day, and to be honest with myself and others. Ayobami Adebayo weaved an interesting tale that was poetically written. I truly felt that I knew Yejide and Akin. I would love to know how/if Yejide was able to piece together her life after the big reveal towards the end. This story will definitely stay with me for a long time to come. ****
Copy provided by Knopf Doubleday publishing via Netgalley