“A grunt escaped from the woman lying next to him. He glanced sideways and saw that his leg had stapled Iya Tope, his second wife, to the bed. He observed the jerky rise and fall of her bosom but he didn’t move to ease her discomfort. His thoughts returned to Bolanle and his stomach tightened again. Then and there, he decided to pay Teacher a visit. He would get there at sunrise so Teacher would know it was no ordinary stopover.”
Bolanle, his college educated wife arrives in his household and strife stirs up when she offers to teach the other wives to read. Unbeknownst to the older wives and Baba Segi, she holds in her mind a secret that would expose the lies that plague their home.
For Baba Segi, a collection of wives and a brood to call his own is the ultimate show of his wealth, and he will stop at nothing to make sure his fourth wife, Bolanle bears him children.
This book weaves so beautifully the voices of all the four wives and Baba Segi. It brings out the aspects of life that bring women together; the protectiveness of a mother and of ourselves, the lengths we go to, to find healing and the choices that define us.
It is a colorfully written book that seeks to unite in the end.
This book is an ode to four generations of strong, stunning African women. It follows their journey navigating through culture, ethnicity, History, HIV/AIDS and the ever changing socio-economic and political world.
The story starts with Akoko, set in the rich Luo tradition of Kenya and describes her determination, resilience and clarity of vision. This trickles down to her kin and throughout the story.
The River and the source portrays the innate resilience, dynamism and flamboyance of an African woman. It is a beautiful story that will make you cry and laugh.
It made my heart swell and I hope it does the same for you.
“His hand gripped mine with pain-induced strength that crushed my knuckles together. I welcomed the pain in my hand, aware that it was only a tip of what he was feeling. I hoped that by holding me, he could transfuse his agony into my body and be free from it.” Stay With Me, Ayòbámi Adébáyò.
Motherhood, marriage, boundless male egos, the lies we tell, and the ones we believe, are some of the themes addressed in this book.
The Protagonist in Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s debut novel discovers, after a long struggle, and bearing the stigma of not having children, that two of them suffer from sickle cell disease. We see her bear their pain, anxious of the next trip to the hospital. While she carries the blame, the patriarchy is immune yet again in an African household. We experience the power of superstition and the hilariously displayed hold it still has on some of us.
This book speaks to love, and the things it can and cannot do. Is it still love, if it crashes, breaks and falls in little pieces?
The dialogue in this book is clever and entertaining. It will grip you. Ayòbámi gives a voice to both the husband and wife.
You can devour this book, all of it, on a Sunday afternoon, but it will leave you with plenty to ponder on for a long time.
Ifemelu is a girl you want to love and smack at the same time, but still deeply resonate with. That is the thing about Chimamanda; she describes the complexity of a woman while so gracefully elevating those toned down aspects of ourselves.
Americanah is a book you want to read before moving to America, but that you still need to read before moving to anywhere in the world. It is timeless and universal especially to the African woman.
I love how colorism is addressed in this book, how so many stereotypes are poked at; how life is rosy but with such big thorns in the Americas. I love the politics of it all and the voice Chimamanda gives to African immigrants.