Taynement: Time for another Chit Chat!
Leggy: This was entirely a coincidental Chit Chat. We just happened to be reading this book at the same time. How did you decide to pick this one up?
Taynement: My sister-in-law is an avid reader and her review had me intrigued, so I added it to my TBR pile.
Leggy: I picked this as my Book of the Month pick for March and just happened to finally pick it up this month
Taynement: What made you pick it up as your choice?
Leggy: It was frankly the only thing that sounded great plus, I like to support my African sisters. What did you think of this one?
Taynement: A lot of our chit chats tend to be African authors. I liked it. Granted, it had the stereotypical African author book filled with pain and suffering but I was still intrigued.
Leggy: I liked it as well. In fact, I would have rated this one a lot higher than I did, if I didn’t absolutely hate the ending. I think this was great for a debut author. I always grade debut authors on a curve.
Taynement: You know, I was going to ask you about this. You always make reference to debut authors on a curve. How do you define the curve?
Leggy: I always give them one extra star. I didn’t with this one because the ending pissed me off so much. But I always add an extra star to whatever I think the book would have been if it wasn’t a debut book. I like to encourage the arts. lol
Taynement: Before we get to the end, what were the things you liked about the book?
Leggy: I thought a lot of it was realistic. I recognized the families and the African pressure to fit into a mold. I recognized the shame that comes specifically from failing in an African family. I also thought the plot was fast and moved forward easily. It was a compelling story. I liked that Efe and Sam weren’t childhood sweethearts. I actually kept expecting that.
Taynement: I agree with you on the compelling story point, that was what I liked the most about it. Regarding the shame, I think I have read so many African stories full of expectations and shame that I now roll my eyes at it. I get a little irritated now at that storyline especially when it involves grown adults.
Leggy: What did you think of Efe and Sam’s relationship before the kid? Did you think they were ever really compatible?
Taynement: I thought they were cute especially like you said, how they grew into love. But I think they were idealistic and didn’t want to face that they grew up and were different. They didn’t have the same core values. So to answer, they got to a point where they were not compatible but didn’t want to admit it because they were used to each other.
Leggy: I thought they weren’t compatible. And I think Sam would have realized it if he had just listened and believed her when she spoke about not wanting kids. If one person doesn’t want a child, break up!
Taynement: On the flip side, Sam was vocal about wanting kids is the onus not on her as well to listen?
Leggy: I don’t think he was vocal enough to be convincing because once she said she didn’t want kids he stopped talking about it all together but innately believed she would come around.
Taynement: It’s interesting that the book fleshed out Sam’s childhood trauma but didn’t flesh out Efe’s. In fact, it was all very vague.
Leggy: Very vague. Her life before 5 when her family was in London kept being touched on but never expounded on. Reading her parts of the book when she was younger gave me anxiety.
Taynement: I also tried to imagine how a 5 year old would get scars on her back and if it was so bad why would her parents send her back unceremoniously to the same country that put her through so much trauma. Quite frankly, overall, Efe’s childhood was haphazardly written.
Leggy: I also thought it was utterly insane that they let her younger sister get married so early. It made no sense to me at all. If they prioritized education so much, why would they let their daughter go back to Ghana at 18 to get married? I just don’t think she did enough justice on telling Efe’s family’s history and motivations for the decisions they made.
Taynement: So can I say that I am surprised I liked this book because I thought Sam and Efe were both selfish people aka very unlikeable characters?
Leggy: I think I liked it because of that. To me, this book is essentially a romance novel. The difference is that Sam and Efe aren’t like the typical couple you root for in romance. They utterly love each other, yes but they shouldn’t have been together. Sam’s life would have been so much better if he had married a different woman. Efe’s life would have been better if she had married her white boyfriend.
Taynement: Why did it take so long for Sam to realize that she was going through postpartum depression? Oh man! I think she would have been miserable if she married her white boyfriend.
Leggy: I actually think he was the first person who listened to what she actually wanted to do and then took steps to make sure she realized her dreams. He set her up with auditing classes. He set her up with her job. He was fine with her not wanting kids and if they had ended up in the situation of having kids, he could have afforded a nanny.
Also, it took so long for Sam to realize that she was overwhelmed because they’re both selfish people. Sam made a lot of decisions after they had the kid that didn’t involve her happiness in any way, at some point he didn’t even want her to go back to work.
Taynement: We can’t give away the spoiler but that “big thing” that happened where Efe took it upon herself to take action was silly for so many reasons.
Leggy: I was absolutely appalled. Her decision making skills is absolutely zero. It made no sense to me at all.
Taynement: And that’s when the story took a nosedive for me. Did Efe have to go that far? Why mention it at all? Why drag your sister in it? This one I thought was REALLY selfish.
Leggy: And that part of the book and the end made me not grade this book on a curve even though it’s a debut novel. I can’t in good conscience give this better than I rated it.
Taynement: So, my sister in law also hated the ending but I was actually okay with it. Where the writer was headed otherwise did not seem realistic to me. I didn’t see how they could move past the hump.
Leggy: Tayne, I almost threw this book over my balcony when I read the ending.
Taynement: LOL. I was like WHOOOAAA but also, yep, I’ll take it.
Leggy: I figured it out when I realized the chapters were still counting down to something even after we caught up to the beginning scene of the book. That’s when I was like oh, this is what this writer is heading to. You know, I’m a romance girl. Please give me a happy ending.
Taynement: The more we talk about this, the more I want to take away a star because I just remembered another thing Sam did with Efe’s cousin. There were so many loose end stories that were like huh? That particular story did not add or remove from the story.
Leggy: And then it had no impact on anything. I guess it was like making them even. You did this and I did that. So now we can forgive each other and move on.
Taynement: That being said, I would still recommend this book.
Leggy: Oh absolutely. I think it’s a compelling read. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.
Taynement & Leggy