BOOK REVIEW: Daughters Who Walk This Path

Two sisters grow up with their parents and friends in 1980s Ibadan. A major event happens, causing a tear in the fabric of the close-knit family. One daughter, Morayo, changes, growing up to be the opposite of what they were both raised to be, putting her at odds with her family members. Yet, she finds solace in an older female family member, who becomes a mentor and guardian, Aunt Morenike, whose encouragement and mentorship early in Morayo’s life would later help her to come to terms with her lot, and let go of fear.

Daughters Who Walk This Path is didactic, seeking to educate, to enlighten its reader on societal issues that need more attention. First is the stigma that comes with having albinism. Morayo’s sister, Eniayo, from the day that she is born, becomes a subject of gossip and superstition, even from her own family members. Her lack of pigmentation is seen as ‘bad luck’, and she is subjected to taunting and jeering from her peers throughout childhood. Another issue is Negligent Parenting. Bros T had been displaying tendencies of being rebellious and selfish since he was very young, yet, his mother always took his side, forgetting the importance of discipline in raising a good child. Morayo’s parents refused to give her sex education at the right time, and decided to ignore the fact that she was undergoing puberty, under the popular belief that ‘if you talk to them about it, they will become curious and want to experiment’. The book also explores other themes like Coming-of-Age, Family, Love, Abuse, Politics/Corruption and Superstition.

Morayo’s family is the picture of the average Nigerian modern family. Events in the story are so relatable and understandable to the extent of eliciting a tear or two at different points in the story-this is what makes it such an interesting and engaging read. An example is when Morayo has her first period, and her mother says to her, “You must not let any boy at school touch you. If they do, you will get pregnant.” 

The story comes dangerously close to becoming a cliché- person is hurt by an older person early in life, becomes an adult and exacts revenge on the other, or the other protracts a terminal illness and dies, paying for past sins. However the author inserts a plot twist at the end, yet, not without a happy ending. 

Kilanko writes with feeling-in a way that suggests that Morayo’s story is close to home, a real life story with made-up elements thrown in. She gives the impression of being a mother hen, her major characters, her chicks, and the story, her family. I look forward to reading other/more works by the author

Seun Ajijala

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