As I sit at my laptop to write this review on this inexplicably grey October afternoon I can’t help but think that the world could do with an injection of love and colour. Thankfully Bolu Babalola has offered us a glorious abundance of both in her debut anthology. This is the book to pick up if you feel like escaping the autumnal doldrums and retreating in to a universe that sounds like smooth RnB, tastes like generously seasoned stew and feels like head over heels, full blown LOVE.
Love In Colour is an anthology of short stories and folk tales retold and reworked with a modern, feminist and multi-cultural flare. Each story welcomes you in to a world in which women of all races are deserving of and duly receive love, affection and adoration. A concept that is simple yet rarely executed so beautifully. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that no story of romance is complete without flowing blonde locks and sparkling blue eyes.
Love In Colour reads as Bolu Babalola’s ode to all things romance. The writer is a self confessed ‘romcomisseur’ and it only takes a scroll through her hilarious tweets to realise that she really does have a taste for the romantic things in life. Pair this with a passion for uplifting black women and you have the perfect person to tell these stories. We meet a whole host of characters who are at all different stages of this crazy little thing we call love. From the fizzy excitement of the early days portrayed perfectly in ‘Orin’ (be prepared to fancy Hot T-shirt Guy ) to the epic love story of the Attem and Iteun, which will make you realise that if Iteun can fight this hard for Attem… my guy can text me back.
I am gonna need to do some serious soul searching to figure out which Love In Colour babe I am. Perhaps right now I have the quietly endearing charm of Thisbe, but if you catch me on a buff day I can emit the seductive vixen energy of Yaa. I can only hope to one day graduate to the regal prowess of Nefertti or Attem.
There is no doubt that I will be revisiting this book for a healthy serving of black love and one day I will hand this to my daughter or niece to remind her of the love she deserves. We are regularly told that representation matters yet we (black women) are constantly erased from stories of love and lust and all too often when we do see ourselves we are belittled, patronised and vilified in the original folk stories and ancient myths that Babalola has worked so hard to reinvent. And thank goodness she did.
One minute we’re in Ritzy Brixton, next we’re in an Ancient African civilisation meeting the Soninke people of Wagadou before you know it we find ourselves in a remote village in China. The point is Babalola captures the essence of what it means to love and be loved around the world and for that we have no choice but to devour this collection in less that five sittings.
Love In Colour earns Bolu Babalola four book worms out of five!