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Stay with Me

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  41,891 ratings  ·  5,377 reviews
'There are things even love can't do... If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it's in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn't mean it's no longer love...'

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published March 2nd 2017 by Canongate Books
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  41,891 ratings  ·  5,377 reviews

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Quadruple WOW!

If you told me that I'd love being on top of the Mountain of Jaw-Dropping Miracles, I would have told you that you were nuts! Miracles are right up there with ghosts—I don’t like them to sully my beloved story. But man, there I was, my feet glued to the ground, my jaw dropping, like the mountain expected. I couldn't have run if I wanted to. And I couldn’t have looked away. Because really, I was witnessing one of the weirdest (and sort of grossest) scenes I’ve ever seen. It's also a
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm never quite sure what has me rate a book 5 stars. I rarely do so. I think I save my 5 stars for books that have me fully intellectually and emotionally engaged. Stay With Me was that kind of reading experience. Set in Nigeria between the mid 1980s and 2008, Stay With Me is about the tortuous relationship between Yejide and Akin, and their heartbreaking road to parenthood. I don't want to say too much about the story because it's best to experience its emotional punch as it unfolds but here a ...more
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Yejide and her husband Akin have been in love since they met at university. Despite pressure from family members and a slew of medical procedures, Yejide has yet to become pregnant after four years of marriage. One day, her in-laws arrive with a beautiful young woman they propose Akin take as a second wife so that he may have children. Yejide knows it's imperative that she get pregnant or she'll have to shar
Elyse  Walters
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, fiction
It's not easy being a modern woman in Nigeria. Old customs and family traditions are nothing but a 'pain-in-the ass' for Yejide and her husband Akin. You'd think having a baby was the most important thing in the frickin world! Says who??? Really... says WHO?

I'm aware of the window I was are looking into: a different culture with expectations & obligations in this page turning well written- gut wrenching story...but I laughed and laughed: many times. I found the dialogue hilarious-- THESE PEOPLE
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fiction
Wow, this was absolutely intense. The whole book is intensely, compulsively readable and I sped through it in two sittings (and it only took two sittings because I had to sleep inbetween).

Ayobami Adebayo tells the story of a marriage, its desintegration, and the hurt happening along the way. We first meet Yejide at a time when she hasn't seen her husband in 14 years and is now preparing to return for his father's funeral, then the story shifts back to the past where the couple is desperately tr
Angela M

Desperate to have a child, hopefully a son, a young Nigerian couple struggle to meet the expectations of family and society. The story reflects a culture in which a woman's role is seen as bearing a child for her husband in a society where multiple wives are acceptable, especially if the first wife has not had a child. A society where a mechanic or a doctor would prefer to speak to the husband rather than the wife, where family members have a good deal of influence in this couple's relationship.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Saanu mi, malo, Omo mi, joo nitori Olorun. Saanu mi. Duro timi. Have mercy on me, don’t go, please. Stay with me."

This is a breathtaking and tragic book about marriage, family, and the lengths one will go to bring a child into this world. It’s a story of another culture – the beliefs, traditions and superstitions. The political unrest and the resulting violence of the country are always in the background, never dominating the story but always exerting its influence and effects on the lives of t
Rating 4.5

What a beautiful, tragic story. Utterly heartbreaking. There was a line in the book that summed it up perfectly....."The mess of life and love that only shows up as you go along".

Yejide and Akin are a married couple who must have a child. Yes, must. You see, Yejide will only become a woman once she has a child, giving her husband a child, hopefully a boy. The story takes place in Nigeria and gives you a look at a different culture and its customs. Yejide is so desperate to have a chil
Diane S ☔
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Different country, different cultural and societal expectations. Nigeria n the eighties and ninties, a young couple, Yejede and Akin meet at University, fall in love and marry. For Akin having a son meant he was a man, for Yejede, having a child meant fulfilling the role she was expected to fulfil. In Nigeria, it was also expected for a man to take more than one wife, especially if the wife was unable to provide a child, but Akin had promised Yejede he would never do this. Six years no child, in ...more
There are things even love can’t do. Before I got married, I believed love could do anything. ... If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love. (Akin)

After four years of marriage, Yejide and Akin still haven’t had a child. Akin’s family pressures him to take on a second wife who can provide him with descendants. Polygamy w
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking story of a young and educated married couple in Nigeria who want a family very badly but things are just not moving along for them.
This story follows them from the mid 1980’s to 2008 with the husband and wife both narrating their parts of the journey.
What a journey!!! What a cast of characters! INTENSE!
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You can never cover the truth. Just as nobody can cover the sun's rays with his hands, you can never cover the truth."

Believe me, this book will stay with you like a stampede of wild horses in your mind days after you've read the final pages. Yes, days......

The budding marriage of Yejide and Akin is like a safe dwelling place against the world at large. Nigeria serves up a tray of constant threatening political coups, family and cultural demands, and the lingering emotions of not being "complet
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of Nigerian society and its culture. A devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and all consuming bonds of motherhood. A book that tells us the desperate attempts we seek to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.

It's not a perfect novel but it's one I'm not hesitating to recommend.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was love enough to help Yejide and Akin weather the storms of life? Perhaps, if they were not subjected to family and societal pressures in Ilesa, Nigeria. Loving couple Yejide and Akin believed in their love, however, the cloud of childlessness weighed heavily on their shoulders after four years of marriage. Akin's mother Moomi, reminded him that as first son, he had the responsibility to leave a child behind upon his death. Moomi told Yejide that if she could not produce a child, she should no ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Despite addressing the intimate themes of family, sex, marriage, love, and conception, this book felt light, without the depth necessary to make it truly affecting. Yejide and Akin have their own intertwining chapters to tell the story of their marriage, but while I felt each subsequent moment spent with her deepened my idea of her character and motivation, even some rather shocking revelations during his chapters did not seem to break the surface of his personality. Though I felt some pity for ...more
Carol (Bookaria)
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, top-2018, 2018
This is a complex and heartbreaking novel.

Yejide and Akin have been married for four years but have been unable to have children. Akin's family is pressuring him to have a son (or daughter but preferably a son, two or three sons would be ideal) and it has come to the point that he has taken a second wife in order to conceive. I don't want to say more than what is described in the book cover, but know that there is much more than the simple description I just gave.

The novel is very complex and ta
Jean Menzies
Review originally posted on my blog here: https://morejeansthoughts.wordpress.c...

This book was first put on my radar when it was longlisted for The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year (2017). And let me tell you, I will be forever grateful it did. For me, the experience of reading this book demonstrates what is so magical about the Women’s Prize for Fiction, as without it I may never have picked Stay With Me up. Which would, I assure you, have been a great loss for me. The book itself t

He removed his jacket, folded it and laid it on the bed.

Then the fires of hell overflowed their banks and spilled into our bedroom.

Hold up, wait a minute. What the FUCK was this book. It was one of the most fucked-up books. It started out fucked-up and then just progressively got more and more and more fucked-up as it went along. When you thought things couldn't POSSIBLY get any more fucked-up, then Adébáyọ̀ just slams you with more.

So dark. So twisted.

Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: La Tonya Jordan
Incredibly compelling, Stay With Me kept me on top of that emotional rollercoaster with its cycle of heartbreaks and jaw dropping twists. The story of a Nigerian couple was a riveting way to finish my 2018 reading year.

Audiobook narrated by Adjoa Andoh 8hs 27 secs
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, foreign-lands
Not to be flip, but this is a lot of heartache caused by one (view spoiler). I’d feel more compassion towards Akin and his plight if his lies weren’t so brazen and harmful. ...more
3.5 Stars
I'm still not really sure what to make of this book. I was talking about it to a friend at work and even trying to explain all the nuances and plot points made it sound wonky. What starts as a slow-building novel about Nigerian culture and a marriage desperate for a child- ends with so many twists I can't even keep them all straight.

Akin & Yejide marry and instantly get pressure from Akin's family to bear an heir. Yejide struggles to come to terms with polygamy, and even hikes a mountai
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone interested in books about human relationships
Update March 8th, 2017: Delighted to see this wonderful book has been long listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017. Another reason why everyone should pick up this beautifully crafted novel.


Stay With Me told the story of the marriage between Yejide and Akin, a young couple in Ilesa, Nigeria during the 1980s. It painted a searingly honest portrait of love and loyalties and the insidiousness of expectations and grief.

Yejide was a woman looking for that sense of belonging. Fo
Sarah Jessica Parker
An ALA Book Club Central pick! This novel is a fast-paced and wonderfully powerful and heartbreaking tale of love, loyalty and betrayal. Happy reading!
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Stay With Me", Ayobami Adebayo's debut novel, was shortlisted for the 'Women's Prize for Fiction' - one of Britain's most prestigious literary awards. The honor is well-deserved.


All cultures expect the younger generation to have children, a biological imperative to ensure that the group doesn't die out. In some societies the 'elders' just pester their kids.....I wanna be a grandma already! In other groups, the pressure to reproduce is intense and relentless, and childless couples are ber
Joce (squibblesreads)
Lord have mercy. I will be unpacking this one forever (just the way I like it, mwahaha). I'm also terrified because it was the first book I picked for my book club and I feel like every month's pick has to live up to the exorbitantly high bar this has set! What a gem. Will include link to video review once wrap-up goes up on Youtube. ...more
Peter Boyle
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Can a childless couple ever be truly happy? That is the question at the heart of Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo’s wonderful debut. Of the four novels I've read from this year's Baileys Prize shortlist, it is by far the strongest.

The story is set mostly in 1980s Nigeria. Yejide and Akin are recently married, excited by the possibilities and prospects of their future. Yejide, a fiery and opinionated individual, runs a successful hair salon in the town of Ilesa. Akin is a steadier presence but he ha
La Tonya  Jordan
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: Go On Girls Book Club
Shelves: favorites
This is a fabulous novel to start off the new year of 2018. This is a story of love with conditions I cannot fathom. When you live in a country where children are valued above all things and your lineage is connected only by your children and you are barren what do you do? Yejide Ajayi must seek the answer to this question in its purest form. The answers she finds are tear dropping.

Yejide and Akin Ajayi are highly educated Nigerian's who residue in Ilesa, which is in Nigeria. There is much poli
I love books about other cultures and their beliefs and customs, even when those beliefs and customs are staggering in their cruelty and ignorance. This story takes place over 23 years in Nigeria, where Yejide and Akin have been married for several years without Yejide having produced a child. Yejide's and Akin's families blame Yejide and are all in favor of Akin taking a second wife, but Yejide and Akin love each other and want no part of polygamy. Eventually, they are forced to capitulate and ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was one of the books that I'd been waiting months for, ever since it first appeared in The Millions' annual preview in January. As a woman whose identity has been shaped by the absence of a mother for much of my life, I'm drawn to unconventional stories about motherhood, and this description definitely fit the bill. I tried to get my boss to snag me a physical ARC at BEA, but he didn't have a chance to get to the right booth. So I was thrilled when I got what seemed to be a relatively last- ...more
Raul Bimenyimana
What a wonderful, wonderful book. When Ms Ayobami came to Nairobi in February this year, it was a packed event at the Goethe-Institut Nairobi and ashamedly, I had not read her book yet but still listened to her and Ms Zukiswa and Ms Aleya as they discussed their books. They were all gracious enough to omit spoilers in their discussion so as to spare the unfortunate lot that was those like me that had not read it and did quite a good job, because nothing prepared me for the ride that was this boo ...more
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Ayobami Adebayo's stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth short story competition. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. She also has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia where she was awarded an international bursary for Creative Writing. Ayoba ...more

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“If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But when it's in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn't mean it's no longer love.” 112 likes
“Sometimes I think we have children because we want to leave behind someone who can explain who we were to the world when we are gone.” 43 likes
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