Chicklit Staples Meet Nigerian Customs in "Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?"

The Fiction Addiction

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Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?(cover art from the publisher)

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?, by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is such a fun read, blending Nigerian customs with the typical beats of a chicklit novel.

I loved following Yinka's dating adventures and meeting her friends. Yinka's central question is a very relatable concern about wanting a partner but also not wanting to be constantly asked when she's getting a partner. And the nosiness about her personal life is pretty intense -- her Nigerian Christian relatives publicly pray for her to find a husband and have babies, and fast. The book is full of moments like this, that hit both romantic comedy and international fiction.

The A-plot follows Ye Olde Chicklit Standard, where our single heroine absolutely needs to get the perfect date in time for a big event, and the story follows her dating misadventures, with obligatory makeover and obligatory lies along the way. This storyline is a classic main-character motivation for a reason, and here it offers a familiar framework for a story about Nigerian culture. There's the obligatory chicklit makeover attempt, as Yinka tries reinventing herself as a better future wife for potential partners (while readers are stuck silently screaming nooo you're great, don't bother!) The whole book uses the expected beats, but with Nigerian style, for a novel that's unique and easy to read at the same time.

It's the subplots and secondary storylines that really make this a great read. Through the whole book, I absolutely bought into Yinka's friendships, especially with her bestie Nana, a fully developed character on her own, and with Yinka's two work friends who could become real friends. There's an awkward frenemy rivalry with her cousin which felt very real. Plus, Yinka and her younger sister, Kemi, clearly have a lot of affection for each other, but there's also tension in the relationship after Kemi fell in love, got married, and got pregnant before her sister did, and the aunties can't stop mentioning it.

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? was such a fun read for me. I enjoyed how Yinka looked at British life and Nigerian life, looked at what her friends, sister and cousin all wanted from their lives, and then selected what she wanted for herself. It's a warm and fun journey of self-discovery, with good friends even when the friendships aren't simple.

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