Book Review: Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.


Review of Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.

Spirited and intelligent, Morayo grows up surrounded by school friends and family in busy, modern-day Ibadan, Nigeria. An adoring little sister, their traditional parents, and a host of aunties and cousins make Morayo’s home their own. So there’s nothing unusual about her charming but troubled cousin Bros T moving in with the family. At first Morayo and her sister are delighted, but in her innocence, nothing prepares Morayo for the shameful secret Bros T forces upon her. Thrust into a web of oppressive silence woven by the adults around her, Morayo must learn to fiercely protect herself and her sister from a legacy of silence many women in Morayo’s family share. Only Aunty Morenike—once shielded by her own mother—provides Morayo with a safe home and a sense of female community that sustains her as she grows into a young woman in bustling, politically charged, often violent Nigeria.

My Review of Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.

I enjoyed this book because of the difficult themes it explores. This is a story about the girl child and the traumatic experience most girl children will have to suffer from all their lives. Morayo, the protagonist is just a young girl approaching adolescence, who is fascinated by the changes in her body. She has questions, she needs answers. Why is her body changing? Why does she feel funny when she’s with the opposite sex? But her mother, a typical Nigerian mother who would rather shy away from such important topics than give her daughter the answers she craves, does the exact same thing that’s expected of her, shy away.

She only warns Morayo to stay away from boys; if they touch her she’ll become pregnant, and she’d rather die than watch her bring shame to the family. So poor Morayo keeps her feelings to herself. When she starts liking Kachi Nwosu, her classmate, she doesn’t know what to do with those funny feelings. Her mother strives so hard to protect her from the lions outside, without taking heed of the wolf in their own house. Now their cousin, Bros. T who has been pampered silly by his mum comes to live with Morayo and her family in Ibadan. And that is when everything changes.

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Morayo’s mother knows Bros T is wayward, but pretends not to know. As a mother, it is her duty to protect her two young daughters Morayo and Eniayo from all dangers both within them and outside. She’s meant to take her daughters by the hand and teach them everything they need to know about themselves and the women they would become, but she doesn’t do any of those. Instead, she bugs Morayo so much about how she should not bring shame to their family. As if the poor girl even knows what exactly to do to bring the alleged shame to her family.

Review of Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.

Because Morayo’s mother is busy chasing the spider out of its web, without seeing the ant in her house, the ant moves freely to where the sugar cubes are and lick them with impunity. One day, when the whole family travels out of Ibadan for a wedding ceremony leaving behind a sick Morayo and an uninterested Bros. T, the latter takes advantage of that time to violate the tender girl.

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I can imagine what Morayo feels when Bros. T violently ruptures her hymen and rapes her amidst her feeble resistance and cries. How cruel can one be? And soon it becomes a ritual. He sleeps with the girl with reckless abandon, till she starts menstruating. And even then, he doesn’t stop, till she becomes pregnant.

Poor Morayo is traumatized beyond words. She doesn’t know how to tell her parents. Who would believe her? She starts withdrawing from everyone and even contemplates overdosing on paracetamol tablets and ending everything, till she is found out by her aunty Morenike who talks to her and tells her her own story. Apparently, Aunty Morenike was raped by a trusted family friend when she was fifteen. Morenike becomes Morayo’s therapist and confidante and slowly, Morayo starts getting herself back.

Review of Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.

When Bros. T notices Morayo’s pregnancy, he forces her to take some pills to flush the foetus out. Morayo has to endure all sorts of mind-numbing excruciating pains and trauma. Till she finally speaks up when she cannot bear the hurt no more. She tells her parents Bros. T has been coming to her room. But her mother disappoints me once more.

Instead of dealing with the rapist, she begs on his behalf and they simply take him back to his family. And then Morayo continues to blame herself, because her mother who is supposed to be her comfort and fortress, who is supposed to show her the way, turns her eyes to the opposite direction. She feigns ignorance. She doesn’t know how to broach such a sensitive conversation with her daughter, so she lets sleeping dogs lie, while her daughter dies slowly.

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Morayo keeps everything inside her till she enters the university. Unexpressed feelings always find their way to haunt us. In a bid to express her powers and to show boys she’s in control, she starts sleeping around all over the campus. This is as a result of her traumatic experience. Because she didn’t get help when she needed it, because she didn’t heal, all that hurt she tucked inside of her, comes back to haunt her.

She always blamed herself for being a bad child, without knowing she is just a victim and the only evil person is Bros. T, her rapist. When her parents sends Eniayo, her younger sister to the boarding school, she blames herself. She blames herself for being spoilt, for having the potential of corrupting the only good daughter their parents have. She blames herself for being the reason Eniayo is being sent out to the boarding school, away from her and all her evil.

Review of Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.

This book tackles a lot of themes. There’s the theme of the lack of parental guidance and its effects. During puberty, young children, especially girls become confused with their bodies, with the changes, and their young minds do not know how to navigate through them. They have questions and the only people they trust to have all the answers are their parents and teachers. Now if these adults shy away from these questions, how will the children get the answers they seek? How will they know the right way to go?

Parents need to do more, talk more to their children, confide in them, earn their trust. They need to teach their children sex education and all they need to know about the topic. They need to teach them to speak out whenever they’re being abused. And parents need to hurl blame only on the perpetrators of sexual abuse and not the victim. They also need to teach the boys better. Both the boy and girl child need to know everything about sex and the need to speak out when they experience abuse.

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It’s a shame that parents think they know their kids, when in fact they have no iota of idea what these kids go through and what they turn out to become as a result. Most kids go through hellish traumatic experiences as children that the parents know nothing about. But they carry all the pain, all the experience in their minds because what can they do?

At most, their parents will only blame them for being so cheap, for allowing themselves to be victims of abuse. Most broken adults now, were victims of abuse when they were much younger. Some were abused by their family members and trusted adult friends, but they did not speak because they would be blamed. And they turn out to be broken humans. Parents should try so hard to take care of their children and teach them all they need to know, so they don’t go astray.

Review of Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.

There’s also the theme of rape and how it traumatizes the girl child. Both Morayo and Morenike are victims of rape. While Morenike becomes pregnant as a result of hers, Morayo terminates her pregnancy and continues her life as if nothing happened, but still suffers from the trauma regardless. The trauma makes her to see men as things to show control over and so changes them like clothes. She sleeps around with the hope of overcoming the hurt and relieving herself of the pain and trauma, but she doesn’t know she’s only hurting herself and accumulating more pain. She only needs to heal to be truly free from the shackles of the trauma.

I truly enjoyed reading this book. How it starts off from one decade and moves to the next and the next. How it reveals the evils politicians do just to secure a political seat, how elections are being manipulated in Nigeria. The electorates suffer from Stockholm syndrome, because how do you continuously vote for the same people who hold you hostage? How do you vote for the same people who deny you the right to live and exist in your own body?

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I love everything about this book, from its narration, description and plot development. I also enjoyed the characterization. Every character was duly fleshed and given suitable role. I recommend this book, it’s educative, captivating and brilliant. I’ll rate it as 5/5. Yeah, the book is everything great and more.

Have you read the book? What do you think about it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on all social media platforms and share with your friends. Thank you for visiting Bookish Pixie.

Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.
Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.

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