Stay with Me
by Ayobami Adebayo
“Hope has always been my opium, The thing I couldn’t wean myself off.”
I found this book on a “what to read next” recommendation list. The award winning book is set in Nigeria against the backdrop of political unrest, coup and military rule. It is told from the perspective of husband and wife as they recount their marriage and the social pressures that impact their relationship over the course of many years.
The story focuses on the wife’s ongoing struggle to become a mother and her position in a society where polygamy is common and a woman’s worth and the security of her marriage is measured by the off spring she produces.
The book is interspersed with Nigerian folk stories centered around parenthood and tales from the childhood memories of the main characters.
Although this would be a lovely read, I think I preferred that I listened to the audio book version that allowed me to relish both the accent of the Nigerian words, most endearingly the titles and greetings offered between the characters as they interacted with other members of the family and community, but also gave an accurate sense of the pronunciation of the Nigerian words I would never have been able to decipher correctly on my own.
With a run time of over 8 hours I nonetheless devoured the book in a day, setting aside other obligations that would have distracted me. It was worth the days sacrifice.