Written by British-Nigerian author, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, this book’s title tells a story, even without looking through the pages, and Nigerian women in their mid-late twenties can certainly relate. To give more insight, here’s an unbiased book review of ‘Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?’
INTRODUCTION AND PLOT SUMMARY
If you’re a female twenty-five years and older, of Nigerian descent, I can bet nine times out of ten, you’ve heard our book title framed in twenty different ways and directed at you by a spectrum of people ranging from family to the pastor at your local church.
“We’re not getting any younger; we want to see our grandchildren.”
“I would like to invite you to our singles program.”
“Are we expecting anybody or are you coming alone as usual?”
All the above questions are usually asked with a look of pity/worry as though you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, not that you just don’t have a husband.
Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, our author, takes us on this journey as seen through the eyes of Yinka, our main character, born and bred in Britain, a nightmare for most Nigerian parents who do not want their children marrying oyibo people.
Yinka navigates this world of the unmarried complete with action plans, arranged dates, church activities, and being a prayer point at family events. Our story has ‘breakfast’ of different forms, sibling rivalry, work/life balance, friendship, and proof that the average Nigerian/Black person has a hang-up about getting counseling. Of course, no Nigerian novel is complete without mention made of our signature jollof rice.
If you’ve seen Insecure, the HBO series starring Issa Rae, you would definitely vibe with the book as it draws several themes about self-discovery and self-love amidst pressure from family and society, as seen in the series. It may also come across as a romance as our Yinka goes through several shades of it, both the good and the bad. As a romance though, it does leave a lot to be desired, none of that lovey-dovey, mushy stuff we’ve come to expect from most romance novels.
Character-wise, we had quite a cast. From family to friends to work colleagues and love interests, they were quite a number. As a result, very few of them stood out. Frankly, we could have done without some of the characters. However, if the idea was to keep the focus on Yinka, then the aim was definitely achieved.
The moments that resonated most with me were the family gatherings: engagement parties, delivery rooms, weddings, and christenings, Yinka’s family was hilarious, warm, and without boundaries. Picturing the characters described came quite easily because I come from a big family and gatherings like that are a dime, a dozen, and always memorable.
Right on the heels of that was the thread about colorism that weaves its way through the book, a struggle most dark-skinned females/individuals have to deal with on a regular basis.
In my opinion, the book was a solid 5/10. I feel like the author could have done more with the story and the characters. In addition, the book had way too many clichés for my liking. I really would have loved to see a different ending to the book, especially in this era where more emphasis is being placed on gaining fulfillment through self-development than through romantic relationships.
I would recommend this book to the following categories of people:
- People who love to read work from Nigerian authors
- people who don’t mind clichés
- People who have been heckled by family/friends/society about finding a partner (We are many here!)
This book is the author’s debut novel and she is definitely off to a good start. There were a few plot inconsistencies here and there but overall, she did a good job of giving us a story that was relatable on several levels. I will be looking forward to more novels by the author as she shows a lot of potential.