Summary: Morayo Da Silva, a cosmopolitan Nigerian woman, lives in San Francisco. Almost seventy-five, she has a zest for life and enjoys road trips in her vintage Porsche. But when Morayo has an accident, crushing her independence, she is prompted to reassess her relationships and recollect her past life and loves. A humorous, joyful read.
Review: Morayo Da Silva, or Dr. Morayo as she’s known to most people she encounters, is such a wonderful character. You know how some people just bring out the best in others? She’s one of those people. In just 118 pages, Sarah Ladipo Manyika introduces us to a woman that affects everyone she comes in contact with, no matter how brief their encounter might be.
What I loved most about Like a Mule is the range of characters that Dr. Morayo interacts with. Her mailman, Li Wei, knows that she leaves mail in her box for days so that he’ll be forced to knock on her door but doesn’t mind because it gives them a few minutes to catch up. But Li Wei comes bearing an envelope from the DMV telling Dr. Morayo that in order to renew her driver’s license, she’ll need to have an eye exam. The biggest threat to someone as independent as Dr. Morayo is the thought of losing their freedom. But this threat leads the doctor to reflect on her life up until that point and readers are in for a treat as she tips down memory lane.
An encounter with Dawud, the Palestinian man who runs the local corner store but would rather open a chain of falafel shops, sets her on the path to reminisce about her childhood crush on a Lebanese neighbor. From her marriage to a big man in Nigeria to her affair with a Brazilian photographer, Dr. Morayo has lived! Of all of her relationships, most endearing to me is her relationship with Sunshine, an Indian woman who used to live in her building and confided in her years ago, and has become somewhat of a daughter to her.
When her independence and her books are threatened, she lashes out at those closest to her. As independent as Dr. Morayo imagines herself to be, she does depend on Sunshine and others around her, though to a lesser extent. Accepting her new lot in life, even as she finds her independence fleeting, she continues to pour into others like rays of sun shining on flowers to help them grow. I have no idea how Sarah Ladipo Manyika made me fall in love with this world citizen in this all too brief story, but she did. I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Published: April 2017
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.