I really hate when I get so excited about a book and it’s just a dud. And this one was for sure a dud. And it sounded so cute! That title! Nigerian immigrants in Britain! A black Bridget Jones bemoaning the pressures of being single! But it was just . . . uninteresting. I mention Bridget Jones because 50% of the reviews I’ve read of it compare it to Bridget Jones’s Diary, and aside from this also focusing on singleness as a topic, they couldn’t be more different. For starters, Bridget is funny. This book is not. It’s also a romance! This book is not. There is no HEA here, which is fine! But you should know going in, it’s a book about Yinka finding herself, not a book about Yinka finding her huzband.
And it’s not just me. Several of my BOTM crew (multiple text threads at this point) also picked this book as an add-on choice this month, and all three of us were disappointed, one of us to the point of DNFing (not me, oh I pushed all the way until the end!)
The last fifteen pages or so were actually pretty good, but the rest of it was really not. The person who has the most personality in the book is Yinka’s mom, but until the very end, she has exactly one characteristic: reinforcing the patriarchy via prayer and pressure on your children. Get married, have babies, get married, have babies. I know that’s the point, but the experience of her is really not nuanced. The rest of the characters, including Yinka, (with the possible exception of Yinka’s best friend Nana and former coworker Donovan) had no personality. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t moving. It wasn’t really anything. Just this happened then this happened. Yinka is a 30 year old, well educated, religious virgin who feels pressure to get married, and that’s what I know about her. The dialogue was mostly empty of substance for me, and there was a lot of it (including the most dull text messaging I’ve ever seen in a piece of fiction).
I mostly am just disappointed that a perspective like this didn’t get the treatment it deserved. A religious heroine respectful of other’s choices who believes sex is sacred could have been really interested to read about! Experiencing nuanced family dynamics through the clash of cultures, also could have been really interesting. Experiencing a by-choice virgin dating men in a misogynistic world, also could have been interesting. None of that was mined for conflict. Some of it was touched on, but barely. Instead, we get a plot about Yinka “changing herself” (she barely changes) and one time she lies about going to counseling, and one time she blurts a secret about her cousin at a wedding shower. Her friends then treat her to an intervention and act like she’s started murdering animals in the street.
This one, in short, was not for me. I wish others better luck.