Chasing Butterflies gives a look into the dynamics of a toxic and abusive marriage. We meet Titilope and Tomide as they ‘celebrate’ their wedding anniversary – in quotes because Titi spends most of the time wishing for a better reality.
Things quickly go downhill from there and the story soon begins to read like a manual for getting out of an abusive relationship (not soon enough) while resisting societal pressures that’ll try to convince the victim to that they’re crazy/wicked/selfish for finding the exit.
In typical Yejide Kilanko style, Chasing Butterflies isn’t just a story for the sake of one, it is definitely not a “nice” story. If you don’t like bitter truths, feeling uncomfortable or have difficulty acknowledging your privilege, you’ll find this a difficult read. However, Yejide Kilanko still gives us the “Happy ending “if you want to call it that.
Now, personally, I wanted this story to have more depth. It gets the job done as it is – shedding light on a cultural system that encourages the abuse of women in marriage while protecting/considering the feelings of the abuser or worse, bending over backward to justify their actions.
However, I read “Daughters Who Walk This Path” and it’s difficult not to compare the richness of that novel to “Chasing Butterflies”. I didn’t appreciate the narrative style in this one. It just felt too basic for a writer like Yejide Kilanko.
I wanted to know more about the dynamics of Titi and Tomide’s courtship. For instance, in the early chapters, Tomide argues that Titi had basically breached some agreement they had before marriage and throughout the story, I waited to see what it was that gave him that idea. There wasn’t any.
Maybe that’s the point though.
Thought provoking and easy to read. Once again, Yejide Kilanko has taken a touchy subject and given the reader some perspective. It’s so easy to judge victims of Domestic Violence for going back to their abusers but the fact is, when confronted with Tomide’s silver tongue even after he hospitalized Titilope, I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t seriously consider giving him a second (third?) chance myself.
Long story short, I’ll recommend this read anytime.
Chasing Butterflies by Yejide Kilanko
Publisher: Quramo Publishing
Release Date: 2018
Find It: Roving Heights
“A good mother does not run from her child’s home. She always stays and fights.”
Titilope Ojo left Nigeria for the United States over a decade ago, but her mother’s words remain fresh in her mind. Titilope is married to Tomide, a handsome and charismatic man who she is afraid of. She spends each day anticipating his moods and lives in fear of offending him. She takes great care to try and love him just the way he wants, but will it ever be enough? As life continues to spiral out of control, Titilope finds herself alone at a crossroad where she must choose between duty and survival.