Our little book club is turning one year old! The sixth book we read was Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko. Courtney picked this book due to her interest in Africa as well as a way to bring more diversity to our reading. Unconsciously, we only read books written by men in the first year of our book club. I’m a little embarrassed that this happened, and it is a humbling reminder to be make more active efforts to diversify our reading.
A bit about the author: Yejide Kilanko was born in Ibadan, Nigeria (where the book takes place). She moved to Maryland when she was 25. She currently lives in Chatham, Ontario, where she is a social worker as well as a writer. I found this interesting because Courtney picked this book as a way to read more “African writers,” but I wonder if Yejide would consider herself a Canadian (or an American) writer first (or additionally). But, I digress.
About the Book (from the back of the book): Spirited, intelligent Morayo grows up surrounded by school friends and a busy family in modern-day Ibadan, Nigeria. An adoring little sister, her traditional parents, and a host of aunties and cousins make Morayo’s home their own. So there’s nothing unusual about Morayo’s charming but troubled cousin, Bros T, moving in with the family. At first Morayo and her sister are delighted, but in her innocence, nothing prepares Morayo for the shameful secret Bros T forces upon her.
My Thoughts: This book was an incredibly fast read. Once I started, all I wanted to do was to continue reading. Kilanko writes very strong, incredible women who are also vulnerable at times. It’s interesting to me that Kilanko is a social worker, because she writes about rape and trauma survivors incredibly well. Some terrible things happen to Morayo and her aunt (and foil) Morenike, who react in different but both realistic ways. I was rooting for Morayo the entire way, and I found her path to recovery and learning to love herself so However, at times I felt a little overwhelmed and thought that Kilanko’s book was a little too ambitious. She tries to cover and critique Nigerian politics, superstitions, religion, social mores, sexuality, infrastructure, Westernization, and more, in the span of about 350 pages. I wanted her to edit more, to only focus on a few things and save the rest for a different book (or just write a longer book!) There are also a few moments that I found unrealistic. A chance encounter with a long-lost love is fun, but two or three chance encounters with long-lost loves? Is that realistic? Our book club meets tomorrow, and I am looking forward to discussing all of this with my fellow readers. I’ll keep you posted on our discussions, but for now, I thought I’d share some discussion questions that I’ll be bringing to our meeting tomorrow.
Discussion Questions (There will be spoilers if you haven’t read the book!):