Liralen's Reviews > Daughters Who Walk This Path

Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko
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's review
Dec 05, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: z-2014, africa, fiction, hear-me-roar, reviewed

I cannot remember any clear warning signs. I did not stub my left big toe that week. Neither did I hear the owl hoot in the night among the trees. (64)

Morayo grows up in Ibadan with her parents and younger sister, Eniayo. Her family is not wealthy, but they are comfortable, and the extended family is a large web, ready to catch one another as necessary.

Enter Bros T. Bros T -- Tayo -- is Morayo's cousin, the spoiled older boy Morayo and her sister adore. When he comes to stay with them, though, Morayo's life is turned upside-down.

The pace is slow but steady at first, giving us a taste of Morayo's life and the makeup of her life and family, then gradually picking up. One of the best things about the book, though, is how fully realised the characters are. Morayo struggles, and struggles hard, for much of the novel. She's the undisputed heroine, but she is forced to deal with things that she should not have to, as a child or as an adult. (Eniayo, meanwhile, reminds me of no character so much as Henrietta of Michelle Cooper's Montmaray series.)

But Morayo isn't alone, although she sometimes thinks she is. There's her aunt Morenike, who understands better than most; there are her parents, who stand behind her even when they don't know what to do; there are various decent young men throughout the years the book covers. There's good and bad in here: her parents reactions in many ways ring so true -- her father's suspicion that he cannot quite name, and then, later, his anger; her mother's inability to speak to Morayo about what happened. Morayo gets used to carrying secrets.

Morenike could use a review all her own, but she is the type of aunt everyone should have -- loving, and thoughtful, and also not afraid to tell it like it is. I also loved her use of onions as a comparison: "You know how you cry when cutting onions? ... It's because the vapours from the onions make you cry, even though you're not sad. Those feelings in your body were just like that: mere physical reaction. It does not mean that you wanted him to do what he did. (99)

Morayo heals, slowly. It takes time, and life continues on even as she works on that healing. But she gets there. "I promise that for you, there will be fewer secrets. I promise to talk about whatever causes you pain. To talk about shame. I promise to listen even when I do not understand. I promise because you are worth it." (326)

At times I do think the novel could have been a bit more focused, giving us, for example, more time to explore Morayo's adult relationship with her parents. On the other hand, I do think that those 'distractions' (such as the political bits) served as reminders, of how much is going on, how alive the world around Morayo is.

Looking forward to Kilanko's next book.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 5, 2014 – Shelved
December 5, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
December 5, 2014 – Shelved as: africa
December 5, 2014 – Shelved as: fiction
December 5, 2014 – Shelved as: hear-me-roar
December 5, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed

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