OMG! When I tell you Yinka, Where is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is relatable content, it is indeed relatable content to this reader. Swap out a few things and this novel is damn near my autobiography.
|Lost her father at 10||Lost mother at 8|
|Younger Sister is married & pregnant||Older sister & younger brother (both divorced with 3 kids each)|
|Awkward around men||Awkward around men|
|Recently went through a break-up||Recently went through a break-up|
|Aunties press, pressure, and ask about dating and getting married||Aunties press, pressure, and ask about dating, getting married and having kids|
|Professionally successful, but unfulfilled||Professionally successful, but unfulfilled|
|Chopped off long hair & rocks natural afro||Chopped off tailbone-length locs & rocks natural afro|
|Joins dating apps||Joins dating apps|
|Gets a therapist||Gets a therapist|
|Self-conscious about body and complexion||Self-conscious about body and complexion|
|Early 30s||Early 40s|
OK. Well, that’s enough of the comparisons, though that’s not the full extent of them. While reading the novel, it certainly gave me Insecure and Girlfriends vibes. Sure enough, when I read the acknowledgments at the end of the book, Blackburn credits those shows and their creators for being inspirations, not only for writing the book but for representing Black women and their complex relationships of all types.
What makes me really enjoy this book is Yinka’s voice and all the admissions of fear, awkwardness, anxiety, embarrassment, pride, and even envy. I like that she knows that she’s not the type of person who can just wing it when it comes to conversations and new situations. She makes contingency plans for all her plans when it comes to socializing. (I may or may not attempt to write scripts in my head for different situations.) She’s used to doing this for work at an investment bank and decides to do so when she makes it a goal to have a plus-one at her cousin Rachel’s pending nuptials a few short months away.
I can relate to Yinka feeling happy, yet left out and envious, as she watches those around her become coupled up, and in the case of her cousin Ola, have children. Two of her former co-workers-turned-friends, one a gay man, find their special someones. Also, like me, Yinka has a BFF aunt with whom she is close and confides in. Where Yinka and I differ is faith. I’d consider myself more agnostic/spiritual, whereas Yinka is a devout Christian. We see how important her faith is to her when she clashes with Donovan, a nonbeliever from her past who reappears. His background story is also one I can relate to.
Yinka is very much Britishized (not a real word but I needed the equivalent to Americanized). Her Yoruba is awful and she can barely cook traditional Nigerian dishes. I’m not as bad. I understand Creole far better than I speak it (though both would be deemed elementary level), and I can cook some Haitian dishes. Try as I might they’re never as good as my aunties’, uncle’s, and late grandmother’s cooking. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. I’ve known how to cook since I was young and thanks to the pandemic, I’ve gotten even better. I felt the need for comfort food. The only thing on par or better than the meals I grew up on was retail therapy.
Yinka goes so far as to lie and pretend to cook a traditional Nigerian dinner to impress a man she’s interested in. She also changes her appearance and behavior, much to the dismay of her best friend and temporary roommate, Nana. Long before therapy, Nana is the voice of reason in Yinka’s life to point out that she’s worthy of love just as she is. She’s educated, impressive resume, has a beautiful home, a luxury car, and a tight circle of cousin-friends.
Spoiler alert: Yinka, Where is Your Huzband? isn’t about Yinka meeting her huzband (pronounced (auz-band) and having a so-called happily ever after. For some of us single gals, our happiness entails being comfortable in our own skin, and being in love with and loving ourselves as we navigate this Couples’ World.