THE PLOT: Stay With Me is about Yejide’s relationship with her husband Akin. She marries him while still at University and their relationship develops against the backdrop of 1980’s Nigeria. She’s desperate to be the perfect wife and bear lots of sons, but her failure to produce a child threatens to ruin her marriage.
OVERALL RATING: This book receives three and a half stars. I enjoyed it and there were a lot of twists to the plot, which kept me engaged. It’s an interesting depiction of the struggle of infertility and how it affects a marriage. However, the writing style didn’t win me over and I just couldn’t fully believe in Funmi’s fate and Yejide’s decisions at the end of the novel.
GOOD BITS: The plot and setting of the novel works really well. By including chapters from Akin’s POV, it’s possible to see how they misunderstand each other until the void between them becomes overbearing. I also liked the addition of Yejide’s relationship with her mother, who died while giving birth to her. The tension between losing a mother and losing a child, particularly the question about what it means to be a mother, is very effective.
The minor characters, such as Iya Bolu and Moomi are also well-rounded and provide a different perspective on motherhood. They also allow the author to explore tension between traditional / cultural beliefs and modern science. Within the cultural importance of having a child, wealth and class is also touched upon.
BAD BITS: The writing style didn’t really do it for me. Although it’s mostly first person and present tense, so I can forgive some of the clichés, many of the descriptions felt labored. I also questioned a lot of Yejide and Akin’s decisions, which advanced the plot but felt implausible.
OVERALL: I’d recommend this novel but I wouldn’t read it again. The characters are interesting, although I preferred the minor ones. Despite the good plot, setting and theme, it hasn’t won a place deep in my heart and I don’t think it’ll stay with me.