August 12, 2013
Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko
What a sad, yet hopeful book. Daughters Who Walk This Path opens up not only a culture, but a topic that focuses on abuse in the home and how sometimes the ones that hurt us most are those known to us.
Morayo is a young girl growing up in Nigeria. The older sister, she feels a sense of responsibility to her younger sister, most especially because her younger sister is an albino and considered unlucky in their culture. But when she's looking out for her sister, no-one is looking out for her and a cousin who has come to stay forces her to do unspeakable things. And the aftermath of that will follow her for many years as she struggles to believe in herself again.
Morayo is a fantastic character. She grows, she has troubles, but overall, she is very real. The pain that she goes through is heartbreaking, and I will admit that I shed a few tears while reading about her plight. And the reactions to her troubles are heartbreaking as well. Reading about her loneliness and the denial that her family seemed to go through was tough, but yet oh so true when you look at real life abuse statistics anywhere in the world. I did think her sister could have been a better character. She almost doesn't seem needed, and very rarely adds to the plot. Morayo's aunts add more insight and development to the book than she does. And given that she has her own troubles with being an albino, I think she really could have been used better in the story.
Abuse is a hard subject to talk about. Especially since often times it is someone the person is close to instead of a complete stranger. And the awkwardness it makes between family members just further hurts the victim. I think that Kilanko did a great job with showing how the events in her childhood shaped Morayo's adult life and made her make the choices that she did. And while all this was going on she even managed to share a little bit about how schooling and university works in Nigeria, which I thought interesting. The only part I didn't really care for was the chapter in which she tried to dive into the political realm. It just felt out of place and didn't flow as nice with the rest of the book.
I think this is a very interesting book and while it's sad, it also is a little uplifting because it proves that the human spirit can get through some terrible things. This is one that's well worth reading.
Daughters Who Walk This Path