Patience Is a Subtle Thief

HarperVia. May 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780063116917. $27.99. F
DEBUT Patience Adewale is anything but. Raised in Idaban, Nigeria, by a controlling father and an indifferent stepmother, she has waited impatiently for someone to explain why the family evicted her mother in disgrace when Patience was too young to comprehend. Is her mother even alive? If so, how could she have left her daughter with this palpable longing for the love she imagines only a mother can provide? A decade later, setting off for university in Lagos, Patience revels in the freedom to pursue her quest, interrogating her older cousin Kash and Aunty Lola, once her mom’s best friend. Majoring in economics was her father’s imperative, a mismatch for a young woman interested in fashion and design, so it is no surprise when Patience eschews her studies for Kash’s illegal scheme to make the quick cash needed to find her mother. Set in the early ’90s when the military smashed the Nigerian people’s hopes for a democratically elected president, this quintessential coming-of-age story acquires a sinister atmosphere as naivete and political reality clash.
VERDICT Abi Ishola-Ayodeji, award-winning journalist and television producer, can add accomplished author to her accolades with publication of this intense debut novel that explores the deleterious effects of secrets kept and the wrenching choices one woman makes in her search for identity and connection.
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