Leggy: You chose this book for us to read. How did you first hear about it?
Taynement: Roxane Gay, the author, had read it early before its release (like 6 months ago) and had given it a positive review. I saw “jollof” and I was intrigued.
Leggy: It took a lot of coordinating for this to check out to both of us at the same time. I thought it was a novel, I didn’t know it was a series of short stories.
Taynement: As did I. Although, I had a tiny feeling with the interlocking stories in the title. I’m not usually a fan of short stories but I think I’m coming around.
Leggy: They’re easy to read because you can commit to a couple of stories a day and before you know it, you’re done. What did you think about this book overall?
Taynement: I think it was decent. Didn’t love it but didn’t hate it. There were elements I liked but I think it just never crossed the mark to really good.
Leggy: Yes, I kept waiting for it to get good but it never did for me. I think a lot of stories had potential but there was a lot holding them back. I kept waiting for her to go further but she never did. Honestly, a lot of the stories were so amateur hour to me.
Taynement: Ha ha, that’s the word. It was like playing dress up.
Leggy: What were the purpose of the dates? The dates seemed pointless to me.
Taynement: I did like that the stories had characters that were connected.
Leggy: We start off with the story of Adaoma, which I thought was all for nothing because after all the dressing up and making you feel it was building up to something, the ending was so anticlimatic.
Taynement: I think it was cool that it was a descendant of Nonso because I think they casually mentioned how her grandmother was married to a woman. I remember thinking the Segun story was pointless but later realizing he was the husband of one of the three main characters (Remi).
Leggy: The story I really liked and thought made sense was Mama Solape’s story. Everything made sense to me. The arc of the story was well done. The way her daughter was completely erased and how people just stopped calling her Mama Solape. How much she fought to retain her daughter’s memory and then at the end naming her restaurant Mama Solape. It was a full story arc to me which I would have loved to see more of, in this book.
Leggy: I didn’t like the last story and again back to the dates. Aisha claims she’s 78 in 2050 but in another story earlier in the book, she mentioned that she finished undergrad in 1994. How is this possible? I think that’s why I hated the dates.
Taynement: Lol. You’re really stuck on the dates. I didn’t even notice that.
Leggy: Numbers stick in my head. I really can’t help it.
Taynement: I actually liked the last story. I enjoyed the futuristic nature of it. I’m always fascinated by how authors imagine the future.
Leggy: What was your favorite story in the book?
Taynement: My favorite story is very random but it was Area Boy Rescue. Maybe because it was from the point of view of a non recurring character.
Leggy: I really liked that one too. When she said her madam dey act like “somebody who head no correct”. To go from her being such an Americanah to moving back to Nigeria and chasing a lorry through the streets of Lagos. That was funny.
Taynement: A very tiny thing but when she admitted that she liked having sex with her madam’s boss. I wasn’t even mad at her. It made me laugh.
Leggy: I really liked that detail. I thought it was succinct and well done because everything is not black and white. There are shades of gray. I think my favorite story was Start Your Savings Account Today, about Remi and her father. That conversation she had with her father and her father was saying – “You think I don’t love you and I paid your school fees in dollars?”. Because that is such a typical Nigerian dad thing to say. Even though you only saw me 7 times after I divorced your mother, I paid your school fees and that proves I love you.
Taynement: Overall, there were bits and pieces I liked and I would recommend it to people but my con is that it was mid.
Leggy: It was okay to me. I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads.
Taynement: I enjoyed it more than you did. I gave it three stars. I think the writing shortcomings were able to hide behind being a collection of short stories.
Have you guys read this? If yes, what did you think? If no, are you going to give this one a try? Let us know in the comments!
Leggy & Taynement.