By Jide Taiwo
Author: Ibitola Ojoye-Adebayo
Number of pages: 236
Publisher: Completely Novels
Year of Release: 2013
Love, as much as every human being desires it, often proves to bring with it some pain; especially when it is unrequited. This is the story of Acceptance, Ibitola Ojoye-Adebayo’s debut novel.
Set in the London and Aberdeen, it tells the story of Eva, a first generation Nigerian-Briton whose love life is juxtaposed against deceit, secrets and lack of maternal affection that sets her on a life-altering course. The writer speaks as an authoritative voice, having being raised in the United Kingdom like the book’s narrator. The story begins as our narrator meets Richard, the love of her life who she meets at her place of employ and falls in love with at first sight; and while we’re still daydreaming about how sweet the idea of head-swooning love is, the writer brings us back to life quickly by introducing us to the absence of a mother-and-daughter bond between Eva and Abigail, her mother. In another juxtaposition, her father Samson is a tender man who cares deeply for his two daughters (his eldest one in particular) and tolerates the frequent angry outbursts of his wife, as well as Eva’s best friend J who apparently in love with her but for some reason, is unable to declare it to her.
As it is known in the romantic genre which Acceptance is, it s full of coincidences and heart-tugging accounts of a young woman who is in love but always feels as though something is amiss. Those coincidences sometimes can be quite predictable, for example on her wedding night she glimpses her newly married husband rushing off the phone with a “business partner”. Any discerning reader would guess that it probably a secret lover.
Ojoye-Adebayo also touches on the very sensitive subject of the Nigerian Civil War by telling us the backstory of Abigail as an Ibo survivor of the 1967-70 conflict. Admirable no doubt, but the writer could not mask her not being thoroughly aware of the war. Where Chimanda Adichie reigns as the authentic voice of an Igbo person, the account described in Acceptance reads more like an account of a movie of a similar theme.
Again she infuses her Nigeria-ness when she describes Samson’s death in a plane crash in Nigeria. It shows forth the fact that she’s one of those long-lost Nigerians in the diaspora who cannot totally divorce themselves from the motherland and her personally affected by disasters such as this. Eva loses carriage of her pregnancy in the throes of her father’s untimely death. Of course, her mother blames her for this.
However, Ojoye-Adebayo’s vulnerability as a debut novelist does not take away from her ability to tell a story from the perspective of a dreamy, romantic young woman. She successfully delays the different crescendos till the very end. Eva finds out the worst way that her recently deceased father was in fact not her biological parent. She finds out the same period that her husband is cheating on her- with a man and in a fit of anger, strikes him with a knife that instantaneously kills him.
Acceptance ends on a paradoxical note; human beings have to accept the situations that they find themselves, but Eva refuses to accept that her father is gone or that her husband to would leave her by his death. It leaves the reader wondering what happened that Samson decided to write a letter to his daughter revealing the family secret to her or why her husband in spite of his sexuality decided to marry a woman.
Thankfully, the very last page of the book reveals that there’s a sequel that forms a part of the Acceptance trilogy. Perhaps that would provide a closing that this one so badly needs.
All in all, Acceptance is a story well told and easy to follow with equal measures of drama, romance and suspense. It is a decent debut and if it s correct that it is being made into a movie; then we have a winner on our hands.
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About Ibitola Ojoye-Adebayo
The author is a graduate of the University of Portsmouth with BSc in pharmacology. Writing freely to touch to souls, her top writing influences include Virginia Andrews and Stephen King. Acceptance is her first novella. The book is set to be launched in Lagos and Accra in May 2015.
She won ‘Diva Author of the year 2015’ at the Divas of Colour 2015 Annual event
Norminated for ‘Author of the year 2015’ at Women4africa taking place May 9th, 2015. Connect with her on social media;
Jide Taiwo is a writer and Editor of Bubbles Magazine. He’s currently in the process of his finishing own debut book, ROAM: Reflections of a Millennial. He tweets via @thejidetaiwo