Book Review – Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola

I have a soft spot for the fractured fairytale or myth.

Something about spinning an old yarn into a new tapestry strikes me as wonderfully creative.

Nowadays, I rarely seek this genre — until I heard about Love in Color.

In Love in Color, Bolu Babalola presents “mythical tales from around the world, retold.”

Each chapter transports the reader to a different mythos, from Yoruba religion to Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Most readers subjected to a Greco-Roman literary upbringing will recognize a few of Babalola’s sources. But, unlike the noted mythologists of my childhood, Babalola invokes traditions oft-sidelined or even maligned in westernized literary spaces. Her collection embraces love as a global phenomenon.

Babalola further inducts readers into a more democratic vision of romance. She takes historical folktales from around the world and deconstructs their patriarchal elements while highlighting their feminist ones. Her hypnotic retellings of these familiar stories create delectable meet-cutes to pluck your heartstrings.

Of all these wondrous love stories, my personal favourites are the Scheherazade, Nefertiti, Naleli, and Thisbe chapters.

Scheherazade’s brazenness emanates from the page. Nefertiti’s chapter offers striking commentary on police brutality and vigilante justice. Naleli’s chapter, too, touches on social issues with its powerful celebration of body positivity. And Babalola’s refashioning of Thisbe and Pyramus’ romance strikes me as an updated School Daze.

Babalola shifts through her varying modes of storytelling with ease and maintains narrative momentum from one story to the next. Even her “New Tales,” several stories without mythic roots, uphold the same whimsy and depth as her adaptations.

“Time was constructed with love in mind.”

I adore Love in Color for what it is, a *colourized* documentation of romance.

You can find a copy of the book at NuriaStore Kenya.