From the start it is clear that main characters Yejide’s and Akin’s marriage fell through. In the pages that follow Adébáyò shows us how. By switching perspectives of time and character, the reader is shown step by step what caused the separation. It also becomes quit obvious that nothing is what it appears at first sight. Furthermore Adébáyò links the downfall of one marriage to traditional Nigerian society being on the brink of moving into modern times. It is no problem that Yejide has gone to university and has become a successful entrepreneur, it does constitute a problem that she has not fulfilled her main role as a wife: to deliver baby’s, which naturally is her problem. It does not occur to either family that Akin might be to blame.
By changing perspectives of character and time, Adébáyò does not only subtly reveal the truth, she also allows the reader to penetrate into the characters of Akin and Yejide and to relate them to circumstances. A minor flaw might be that Adébáyò is slightly more critical of Akin than of Yejide, the truth being that either cannot stand up against the claims of society. Akin however does accept that his wife is blamed for their marriage remaining childless, he does set in motion a chain of occurrences he can no longer control. Or accept. Yejide is mostly to blame for being loyal, for accepting desperate measures in order to become pregnant.
Stay With Me is a beautiful novel on two difficult subjects: to have and to lose children. By maintaining a certain amount of aloofness in telling the story Adébáyò never succumbs to being tacky. She shows us the difficult choices traditional society forces upon two people who love each other, the pain and sorrow that cause man and wife to grow apart, the struggle between love and truth for both. The subject matter being sufficiently sad, Adébáyò apparently did not feel the need to put more emphasize on it. The violins are never allowed to erupt, their restraint allows Stay With Me to be a touching novel that through its aloofness shows true pain and sorrow. For those who know me by now, my type of novel. I absolutely loved it.